ESG - General Counsels as the Watchdog, Champion or Leader?

Richard Bryan, Director of Legal and General Counsel, Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited

When the Bank I work for commenced its most recent annual strategy process, I was asked by the CEO to create the strategy for the Bank in response to two questions “(E)SG – how do we change the dial in our governance” and “how do we create energy around our social agenda”. Whilst I had been heavily involved in the Bank’s culture and ethics up until this time, the recognition that these questions sat with myself as the General Counsel came as a surprise. The second surprise was the realisation that I actually felt confident and capable to lead the ESG strategy with the rest of the Executive. I had worked as General Counsel to the Bank for the last four years and I had somehow missed when the transition to myself as lead on the ESG agenda had occurred, but occurred it had. This led me to ponder, how had the General Counsel role become a viable option as a leader on ESG in institutions?

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