2022 kicks off with raft of senior corporate legal moves 

We may be just three weeks in to 2022, but there has been a raft of notable moves in the corporate legal space, with new senior heads or roles at companies including NetApp, Standard Chartered, Stonegate Group and Johnson Matthey, where Maria Passemard has been hired into the top legal operations job. 

Starting with legal operations moves in the UK, at British chemical company Johnson Matthey, Passemard has taken over the role of global head of legal operations. Passemard was briefly a senior manager within EY Law’s legal function consulting team, which she joined in January 2021. Before that she spent just under a year at LOD, where she was director of innovation and design. She is, however, best known for her role as head of legal operations at John Lewis, where she was a senior member of the legal leadership team for several years. 

Commenting on her new role on LinkedIn, Passemard said: “I am thrilled to announce I have started a new role with Johnson Matthey in their Legal Team as Head of Legal Operations. Really excited by this opportunity and looking forward to the challenges ahead.” 

And at Stonegate Group, which is the largest pub company in the UK, James Richards at the start of January was announced as the new director of legal operations. Richards has worked in the pub industry for circa 16 years with Spirit Group and more latterly with Punch Pubs & Co, in the role of head of legal & compliance and code compliance officer for Punch Pubs & Co. 

At Stonegate, Richards, who is a legally qualified RICS chartered surveyor as well as an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, will focus on legal and estate transactions as well as taking on the role of code compliance officer.  

Meanwhile at London-headquartered bank Standard Chartered, Dr. Sandie Okoro has notably taken over as group general counsel. She will be reporting to group CEO, Bill Winters and be based in the UK. Dr. Okoro is currently senior vice president and group general counsel at World Bank. She starts at Standard Chartered in early-April 2022. 

Dr. Okoro said in a statement: “I am excited to be joining the team at Standard Chartered, which I have long admired for the breadth of services it offers across the globe, and the reputation it has built of innovation and putting people and their communities first. I am also thankful for an incredible five years at the World Bank Group, where I was humbled to work alongside colleagues and peers on some of the most urgent global development priorities. As I close an important chapter in international development, I look forward to starting a new one and contributing to Standard Chartered’s goals.” 

Dr. Okoro replaces David Fein, who retired as group general counsel at the end of 2021. You can read an FT interview with Dr Okoro, in which she talks about the importance of being your authentic self, here.

And in the United States, NetApp at the start of January announced a separation of its strategy and legal teams, with former general counsel Matthew Fawcett now in charge of ‘accelerating the next phase of NetApp’s evolution’ as chief strategy officer. Elizabeth O’Callaghan, who took over as GC last year, now takes on the expanded role of chief legal officer and GC. Both report to NetApp’s CEO George Kurian, who said: “NetApp stands at a critical juncture as organizations everywhere accelerate their digital transformation and adopt hybrid business, hybrid cloud and hybrid work strategies. Recognizing we have many opportunities before us to grow and win in the marketplace, I’m proud to have two strong leaders in Matt Fawcett leading strategy and corporate development, and Beth O’Callahan taking on an expanded role as chief legal officer reporting to me. I look forward to further contributions that Beth will make in her new role.” 

NetApp, which specialises in data management and storage, recently hired Harv Bhela from Microsoft in a newly-created chief product officer role. It disclosed the new structure in a Jan. 6 statement. 

 Send all your news to caroline@legaltechnology.com