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Women GCs climbing the ladder

Leadership opportunities for women with legal backgrounds extend beyond general counsel

Seeing women take up the mantle of general counsel is definitely a step in the right direction, but for several women, their career path doesn’t end there. Some women who have served as general counsel of Fortune 500 companies have gone on to become heads of major divisions, presidents or even CEOs.  “Women can be great general counsel, and they can also be great business people,” said Lloyd Johnson, cofounder of The Project 5/165, which promotes awareness of women GCs. “They’re just great leaders and managers.”

Here are some of the women who have left the GC title behind in search of bigger and better things:

  • Esta Stecher served as general counsel and executive vice president of Goldman Sachs from 2000 until her appointment as CEO of the bank in May 2011.
  • Laura Quatela blipped in and out of the general counsel role in just a year. She was named GC of Eastman Kodak Co. in January 2011, and by January 2012, she had been elected president and chief operating officer of the camera company.
  • Angela Braly was president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Missouri before joining its parent company WellPoint as GC in 2005. In 2007, she was promoted to President and CEO, and she became Chair of the Board in 2010. Braly is ranked 147th on the Forbes Executive Pay list for 2011.
  • Vicki O’Meara used to be general counsel and executive vice president of Ryder System Inc., and then was promoted to president. She left Ryder to work at Pitney Bowes Inc., where she was executive vice president and chief legal and compliance officer. In July 2010, she was promoted to executive vice president and president of Pitney Bowes Management Services & Government and Postal Affairs.
  • Marya Rose, Cummins’ chief administrative officer, has been with the company since 1997. She served as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary from 2001 until August 2011, when she was promoted to CAO.

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