CEO and Chairman, Industrial Bank of Korea, 59
The first woman to lead a Korean bank, Kwon, at the helm of the state-owned entity since 2013, is taking on the challenge of a slowing economy head-on. She is shifting the $8 billion-in-revenue bank’s focus from financing sluggish industries like shipbuilding to future growth sectors like intelligent robots, wearable gadgets, and smart home technology. Kwon is also stepping up efforts to address South Korea’s crippling youth unemployment, holding job fairs as part of IBK’s goal of helping 100,000 people find employment by 2017. The bank lifer, who has grown the business beyond Korea into the global financial hubs of New York, London, and Tokyo and posted profits up 11% last year, to over $1 billion, received the nation’s Bronze Tower of the Order of Industrial Service Merit award for her contribution to the development of industry and the national economy. Though her term is up at the end of this year, her performance makes her a strong candidate for an extension.