Sandra Leung – GC Powerlist
United States 2014

Sandra Leung

General counsel and secretary | Bristol-Myers Squibb

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    United States 2014

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    Sandra Leung

    General counsel and secretary | Bristol-Myers Squibb

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    About

    By her own admission, Sandra Leung does not fit the typical profile of a GC. ‘I am not male or over 50, didn’t go to an Ivy League school and haven’t worked for a major law firm’. Instead, Leung worked her way up from staff attorney level, and cites 1999, when she was appointed Corporate Secretary, as the major turning point. ‘I would advise others that the role gives you good grounding in securities and litigation’, she says. ‘I think people learn most through dealing with crisis situations, and I did a lot of that in my first year in the role. I learned to focus on what is important, and to give advice on what people want to hear’. Putting that experience into practice, Leung now runs a tight ship of some 350 employees worldwide, of which 114 are lawyers. She implemented a convergence program to reduce the number of law firms the group uses from 100 to 12, and reduced legal spend without compromising on quality. ‘We used to rely on big-name New York firms, but I’ve found that we can be more cost-effective by looking elsewhere’. Leung still retains her Corporate Secretary title, and her dual role sees her play a major role in shaping the company’s strategy. She is repeatedly endorsed by outside counsel, winning praise from firms such as Debevoise & Plimpton and DLA Piper.

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