Co-opted Member of Council
Irene is chair of Control Risks, a global risk management company. She is non-independent non-executive director of Taylor Wimpey, having stepped down as chair in 2023.
Until recently, she was a non-executive director of Rolls Royce where she chaired the remuneration committee and was employee champion. In 2021, she stepped down from the board of AXA A.A where she chaired the audit committee and until the acquisition by CYBG in 2018, Irene was chair of Virgin Money.
Irene is on the board of the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership and chair of the trustees of the Hampstead Theatre. She is an honorary fellow of St Anne’s College of Oxford and chairs their development board.
Graduating from St. Anne’s College, Oxford in 1976 with a BA in in Jurisprudence, Irene joined the banking industry in 1979 after practising as a Barrister at Law in London. She moved from her role as head of legal in the investment banking arm of HSBC into a variety of business and support roles within HSBC in the commercial, retail and investment businesses.
She was appointed deputy chairman and CEO of HSBC Bank Malaysia in 2007 then CEO and president of HSBC USA in 2010 and group managing director of HSBC Holdings until retiring from the role at the end of 2014. In 2012 Irene was named the year’s Most Powerful Woman in Banking by American Banker and recognised with American Banker’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.