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Sean O'Sullivan
Chief Operating Officer
HSBC Holdings
Last year: 20

One of the biggest technology management jobs in banking got bigger last August when Sean O'Sullivan was promoted to chief operating officer of $2.6 trillion-in-assets HSBC Holdings. Only seven months earlier O'Sullivan had stepped up from chief technology services officer for the U.K. to CTSO for the entire group. He took responsibility for the global HSBC Technology and Services (HTS) organization, a workforce of 90,000 and an annual budget of $6 billion — all of which are still in his purview as COO. His current remit is "improving organizational effectiveness across HSBC" at a critical juncture. The London-based bank, with 7,200 offices and 300,000 employees overall, is in the first year of a three-year restructuring that involves committing mainly to its "home markets of the U.K. and Hong Kong and 20 priority growth markets," as group CEO Stuart Gulliver has stated. O'Sullivan says the technology strategy "is focused on enhancing the customer experience. The globalization of HTS functions enables the leveraging of best practices and better supports global business models." The 56-year-old London native worked for HSBC in North America from 1980 to 2007, when he became CTSO for the U.K.