Naina Lal Kidwai: Managing director of HSBC India

She stays in India because she can help open its economy to the world

When HSBC decided to expand its investment-banking presence in India, it needed someone to lead the charge. Not surprisingly, it chose Naina Lal Kidwai. The first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School, in 1982, Kidwai, 45, has established herself as one of India's best bankers, a shrewd negotiator with a talent for anticipating new sectors of growth.

Kidwai made her name at Morgan Stanley, which she joined in 1994 after a stint at ANZ Grindlay's Bank. At the time, Morgan's operations in India were relatively small. She engineered a joint venture with investment bank JM Financials, making the resulting...

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