Beth E. Mooney, Chairman and CEO
Profile: Beth Elaine Streeter Mooney was born in Midland, Mich., in 1955. The 56-year-old Mooney earned a BA in history from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA at Southern Methodist University. She was appointed CEO of KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) on May 1, 2011, and is the first female head of a major publicly traded U.S. bank.
The Story: When Beth Mooney graduated from college in 1977, the only job she could get was as a secretary in a bank — at a salary of $10,000 a year. Although the energetic and focused Mooney knew she could do much more, her biggest problem was convincing bank managers that she could.
So Mooney pounded the pavement, unsuccessfully calling on major Dallas banks. By the time she got to Republic Bank, she took a different approach. In a display of true grit and tenacity, she sweetly but firmly refused to leave the manager’s office without a job. After three hours of wrangling, he caved — but only if she’d agree get her MBA by night. She did.
The 35-year banking-industry veteran, who was senior executive VP and CFO for AmSouth Bancorporation before joining KeyCorp in 2006, never stopped mastering the next challenge. She became KeyCorp’s vice chairman of community banking right before the financial meltdown and is credited with helping the bank weather the storm.
Although KeyCorp has not yet repaid the $2.5 billion in funds it received from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program — and profit fell last quarter on higher loan-loss reserves — Mooney has KEY on stronger footing.