Standard Chartered hires Sandie Okoro as General Counsel
An experienced campaigner for diversity and social justice worked for five years as the legal head at a development bank.
The UK banking and financial services giant Standard Chartered has hired Sandie Okoro, former Head of Legal at the World Bank, to replace David Fein who is retiring at the end of 2021.
Fein, who is stepping down from his position as general counsel, will remain involved in a consulting capacity. He joined Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison's litigation department in London as special counsel following his retirement. This appointment, announced in November 2021, was implemented this month.
After five years as group general counsel, senior vice president, and vice president for compliance at the World Bank, Okoro takes over as group general counsel and senior vice president in April. Bill Winters, Standard Chartered's group CEO, will have direct oversight of her at the London headquarters.
Between 2014 and 2017, Okoro worked as the global asset management general counsel at HSBC, before joining the World Bank in 2017. She had been global general counsel at Barings for just under seven years before that.
Okoro has also become an influential voice for women empowerment, gender equality and social justice in conjunction with her legal career. The Howard University Vanguard Women award in 2019 is the latest honour for her achievement in her field. She has also received several other honours throughout her career for her contributions to her field, including a lifetime achievement award from the UK Black Solicitors Network in 2016.
Her other roles include serving as a board member of the human rights organization JUSTICE, an ambassador of the Law Society's diversity access scheme and a member of the UK Premier League's equality standards panel.
"My excitement at joining Standard Chartered comes from my admiration of the broad services it offers across the globe and its reputation as an organization that puts people and communities first," said Okoro.
With her experience and industry successes, together with her "focus on promoting social justice," Winters said that her background makes her an "ideal candidate" for the general counsel position at Standard Chartered.
He said that he will look ahead to her valuable contributions towards the success of their ambitious strategy.
Last week, Gideon Moore, formerly Linklaters' company-wide managing partner, was selected to become NatWest Group's general counsel and chief legal officer. On 1 April, Moore, who stepped down from his leadership role at Linklaters eight months early July 2021 and left the partnership in October, will succeed Michael Shaw in the in-house legal department of one of the UK's top corporations.
Similarly, Metro Bank's first lawyer, Sally-Ann James, has joined railway pensions manager, Railpen as general counsel following her departure from the UK high street bank in October.