12 Jan 2021

Squire Patton Boggs names first African-American woman to global board

Washington DC-based partner Alethia Nancoo is one of two new board appointments

Squire Patton Boggs has appointed its first African-American woman to its global board as the firm continues to increase the diversity of its leadership team.

Washington DC-based partner Alethia Nancoo – who is also co-chair of the firm’s global inclusion and diversity committee – is joined on the global board by Tokyo office managing partner Ken Kurosu, replacing outgoing members Traci Martinez in Columbus and Thomas Wilson in Abu Dhabi who have completed their four-year terms. Nancoo’s appointment means seven of the 12 board members are considered diverse by the firm.

Mark Ruehlmann, Squire Patton Boggs’ chair and global CEO, said: “As the firm has grown over the years, we have been fortunate to have an historically strong and diverse board as a key component of our overall governance structure in place to effectively guide the strategic direction of the organisation. We continue that tradition with the appointments of Ken and Alethia. They both are respected leaders and exceptional practitioners with a global outlook that reflects the reach of our firm.”

Nancoo’s practice specialises in all forms of debt finance with a particular focus on funding infrastructure construction such as airports and toll roads, as well as the water and sewer utility sectors. Nancoo joined Squire Patton Boggs in 2013 from Edwards Wildman Palmer. Prior to that, she spent 15 years at Hogan Lovells, seven of which as partner.

As well as serving as Tokyo office managing partner, Kurosu is also the firm’s Asia practice coordinator. He focuses on project finance, M&A and corporate law.

Squire Patton Boggs’ appointment of Nancoo to its global board follows Norton Rose Fulbright’s move last month to name Shauna Clark as its next US and global chair, the first black woman to hold either role. She was also the first woman of colour to head NRF’s Houston office, become the firm’s US head of employment and join its global executive committee. 

Back in September, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appointed Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson as its next senior partner, making her the first woman to lead a magic circle UK firm.

Further reading

Women lawyers face racial roadblocks in gender diversity push, ABA study finds