13 Jan 2022

Standard Chartered appoints World Bank's Sandie Okoro as general counsel

Diversity and social justice campaigner spent five years as development bank's legal head

Portrait of Sandie Okoro

Sandie Okoro

UK banking and financial services giant Standard Chartered has hired the World Bank’s legal leader Sandie Okoro as its next general counsel, replacing David Fein who retired from the role at the end of 2021. 

The group said Fein would remain onboard in an ‘advisory capacity’ after stepping down as general counsel. Following his retirement, Fein joined Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison’s London office as special counsel in the firm’s litigation department. The appointment, first announced in November, went into effect this month. 

Okoro will begin her term in April after five years at the World Bank, where she serves as group general counsel, senior vice president and vice president for compliance. She will report directly to Standard Chartered’s group CEO Bill Winters in the company’s London headquarters. 

Prior to joining the World Bank in 2017, Okoro was general counsel for HSBC’s global asset management division between 2014 and 2017. Before that, she spent just under seven years as global general counsel at Barings. 

Alongside her legal career, Okoro has emerged as an influential figure for women empowerment, gender equality and social justice. She has been honoured several times throughout her career for her achievements in her field, including a lifetime achievement award from the UK Black Solicitors Network in 2016 and the Howard University Vanguard Women award in 2019. 

She has also been a council member of the human rights organisation JUSTICE, ambassador for the Law Society’s diversity access scheme and has sat on the UK Premier League’s equality standards panel. 

“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,” Okoro said. 

Winters added that her experience and industry achievements coupled with her “focus on championing social justice” make her “ideally suited” for the general counsel position at Standard Chartered. 

“I look forward to her valuable contributions in supporting our ambitious strategy,” he said. 

Last week, Linklaters’ former firmwide managing partner Gideon Moore was named NatWest Group’s next chief legal officer and general counsel. Moore, who stepped down eight months early from his leadership role at Linklaters last July and retired from the partnership in October, will succeed Michael Shaw in one of the UK’s top in-house legal roles on 1 April.

And in October, Metro Bank’s first lawyer, Sally-Ann James, left the UK high street bank to join railway pensions manager Railpen as general counsel.