Beth Mooney and Melissa Ingwersen have known each other since the days when women in banking's executive suites were mostly there to serve coffee. They've been sometimes colleagues, sometimes competitors as they rose through the ranks. Now they're colleagues again.

Mooney, 56, is set to become head honcho of Cleveland-based KeyCorp in May--the first woman to lead one of the top-20 independent U.S. banks. Ing-wersen, 50, left JPMorgan Chase & Company to take over in January as boss of KeyBank's Central Ohio district.

Mooney says Ingwersen "is somebody who I've known for a very, very long time. She is so well-regarded in the community ... and I'm excited and proud and pleased to have her on our team."

Mooney's come a long way since she landed a job as a secretary in the real estate department of a Houston bank in 1977. After talking her way into a credit training program in 1979, she rose steadily, developing a reputation as a no-bull leader with a penchant for turning around struggling enterprises.

Mooney landed at Bank One in 1993, departed briefly for Dayton Power & Light, then rejoined Bank One in 1999 as Ohio chairman, president and CEO ("Bank One's New Ohio Boss," May 2000). Just two weeks after C.E.O.'s profile hit newsstands, Mooney left for Alabama-based AmSouth Bancorp, where she became CFO before joining KeyCorp in 2006.

Mooney has overhauled KeyCorp's branch network by opening and remodeling branches, including nine new locations in Central Ohio. "Your branch is your brand," she says, "and for a time we had facilities that lacked any distinctiveness."

In November, Mooney, then vice chairman and head of community banking, was named president and chief operating officer. She will succeed Henry L. Meyer III as chairman and CEO upon his retirement.

Ingwersen, also a former C.E.O. profilee ("Watchful Women," May 2008) jumped to KeyBank after 21 years at Chase and its predecessor, Bank One. "The opportunity, professionally, to grow and be challenged--and, I've said to people, not even to have to change my parking space--makes me feel very, very lucky," she says.

Ingwersen will be tasked with increasing Key's market share--just 4.37 percent of Central Ohio deposits as of June 30, compared to market leader Huntington's 21.82 percent.

"I think it's a challenge for every single bank to grow market share. There are a lot of good banks in Central Ohio," says Ingwersen.

Reprinted from the February 2011 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.