CEO and President, SEB Group, 54
A year of negative interest rates, political and economic uncertainty in Europe, an increasing regulatory burden and a few steep one-time charges challenged SEB, the 160-year old Nordic bank Falkengren has helmed since 2005. Profits slid 14% in local currency (30% in dollars) and revenues were down 21% (36% in dollars) in 2015. The company also divested its German asset management business. To counter these challenges, Falkengren laid out a 10-year plan for the bank that focuses on digital technology and customer service. The Swedish executive, the lone independent director on the Volkswagen board, had a challenging year there as well when a fuel-standards scandal hit the company.