Asuncion Hostin

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Managing Director, Business Intelligence and Investigation • Kroll, Inc. • New York City • Age: 38

Asuncion Hostin probably would not mind if you called her a gumshoe or a shadow, as private investigators sometimes are called. She is inquisitive and speculative, traits that contributed her being the highest-ranking African-American female at Kroll, the prestigious New York security risk consulting company. Kroll’s managing director of business intelligence and investigation, Hostin oversees a national team of private investigators, former detectives, journalists and other security industry professionals. Over the years, Kroll has been involved in some of the most high-profile, and perhaps most controversial, national and international investigations. For example, during the 1990s, it led investigations involving disgraced former Haitian dictator, Jean Claude Duvalier, and former first lady of the Philippines and shoe maven, Imelda Marcos. “My office is decorated with magnifying glasses and Pink Panther posters,” Hostin says. “I’m a detective!”

Hostin can direct from as few as two to more than a dozen individuals on any even given case. Her teams are hired by various firms or individuals to investigate allegations of such activities as theft, fraud, conspiracy, insider trading—in short, all of the juicy and salient elements that make the world of business and finance such a melodramatic, exciting place to work.

Hostin holds a law degree from Notre Dame University Law School. She is a legal analyst on Court TV and frequently serves as a guest commentator on FoxNews. She relishes challenges. “My biggest challenge has been waiting for the right opportunities to come my way,” she says. Amid all the challenges, however, “I have had the good fortune of having terrific mentors and a great spouse,” says Hostin, a devoted mother of two.

Hostin one day would like to have her own gabfest. “It would sort of be like [1960s sitcom] I Spy,” she says. “I would investigate various issues; track down child molesters and report on trials and other legal [issues].”

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