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No sooner had Martina Hund-Mejean signed on at MasterCard Worldwide than cracks began appearing in the global economy. Within months of joining the $5.1 billion card company as its CFO in November 2007, Hund-Mejean says, she had a sense “that things were not doing so well.”

Although Bear Stearns had yet to stumble, “by January 2008, we were already talking with our business leaders, [saying] something doesn’t really smell right,” she says. “We started to line up contingency plans in case things didn’t go the way that we might have forecasted before.”

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