Virgin Money is lining up a former HSBC executive as its next chairman in an appointment that will complete the only all-female leadership team among the UK’s 350 biggest public companies.
Sky News has learnt that? the bank backed by Sir Richard Branson is close to naming Irene Dorner as Glen Moreno’s successor.
The appointment, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected in the next few weeks, according to City sources.
If Ms Dorner is appointed, she will join Jayne-Anne Gadhia at the helm of Virgin Money, steering the lender which acquired part of Northern Rock from the Government in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
A former president and chief executive of HSBC USA, Ms Dorner was named the most powerful woman in banking by an American trade publication.
She ?also held a number of top jobs in the industry in the UK, including at Midland Bank following its takeover by HSBC in 1992, and in the group’s Asian operations.
Her most prominent moment ?at the bank came in 2012, when she apologised to a US Senate committee over HSBC’s role in money-laundering activities in Mexico, Iran and Syria.
Nevertheless, Ms Dorner was widely regarded as one of the most respected figures in the industry, and since retiring from HSBC in 2014 has since taken on a string of directorships at major companies, including the French insurer Axa and Rolls Royce Holdings.
The significance of? Ms Dorner’s prospective appointment at Virgin Money will reside in two statistics: she will be part of the first all-female leadership team at a British bank; and she will be among the first women-only top line-ups at any FTSE-350 company.
Grainger, the listed property group, briefly had an all-female team before Baroness Ford, its chairman, stepped down earlier this year.
Santander UK has had women occupants of both the chairman and chief executive roles, but Baroness Vadera and Ana Botin did not hold their respective roles simultaneously.
Mrs Gadhia has been an outspoken advocate of greater gender diversity in the British financial services sector, committing Virgin Money to having a gender-neutral workforce by 2020.
Appearing before the Treasury Select Committee’s inaugural hearing on women in finance on Tuesday, Mrs Gadhia expressed disappointment at firms which had yet to sign up to a charter aimed at boosting gender diversity.
“Business has a responsibility to? society and the organisations that have signed up appear to adhere to that view,” she told MPs
“The organisations that are more insular and driven by their own profit motive see that as a less important point.”
Nicky Morgan, the Treasury Select Committee chair, told Sky News: “This is a really important milestone in the financial services sector, and shows that there are many talented women ready to take on senior roles in financial services just as Mrs Gadhia told the TSC in her evidence session today.”
Virgin Money declined to comment.