Virgin Money in talks to appoint Irene Dorner as chairman

25 October 2017

(ShareCast News) - Virgin Money is in talks to make former HSBC banker Irene Dorner its next chairman in a move that would assemble the first all-female leadership team at a major British bank.
The bank, backed by Sir Richard Branson, said it was in advanced discussions to appoint Dorner as a non-executive director and its chair elect. She would work with Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin's chief executive.

The appointment would see Virgin backing up its advocacy of women in the financial industry. Gadhia has been the government's "women in finance" ambassador for the past year and has pushed for City firms to have more senior female managers.

Gadhia told MPs on Tuesday that sexism is ingrained in the financial industry and called for more work to put women on an equal footing. She urged more banks and other firms to sign up to the government's charter for promoting women in finance.

Dorner worked at HSBC for 32 years before retiring in 2014. She ran the bank's US business from 2011 and appeared before Congress in 2012 to apologise for HSBC's involvement in money laundering in Mexico, Iran and Syria. That activity happened before she took over.

Her appointment at Virgin would give the bank the only all-female leadership team in the FTSE 350 as well as the first at the top of British banking.

Virgin has been looking for a new chairman since July when Glen Moreno said he planned to retire.