Corley took the helm last year as German insurance giant Allianz restructured and split its investment management business into two units. (U.S.-based Pimco is the other arm.) Despite a risk-averse environment, Allianz Gobal Investors pulled in operating profits of $218 million in the first six months of 2012. But Corley's no buttoned-up banker: She's also an acclaimed author of thriller novels. She's published four books, and a fifth is in the works.
This year's Most Powerful Women are shaping the future of technology, defense, and media.