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Tommy de Swaan, Chief financial officer and head of risk management, ABN Amro

ABN Amro's ebullient new chief financial officer was known by colleagues at the Dutch central bank as "Turbo Tommy" for the speed with which he got things done. "His greatest strength is his social intelligence," says a senior central banker. "He's also always open to new concepts and new approaches. If he has a weakness, it is that when he delegates, it is often to himself."

Tommy de Swaan had been in charge of banking and market supervision at the central bank since 1991, a board member for 13 years, and an employee there since university. Still only 52, he decided it was time to do something different. "My position at the central bank obviously did not allow me to solicit actively for a position in commercial banking," he says. "I was approached."

One of five children, he was born in Amsterdam in 1946. His parents named him after the nickname for the Canadian and British troops who liberated the Netherlands at the end of World War II. His parents had spent the war in hiding and were among only 35,000 members of the Dutch Jewish community to survive the Holocaust (out of an original 105,000).

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