MANAGERS ABROAD : Sophie Denny; Senior Legal Counsel Global Retail & Commercial Banking: Western Europe, Barclays Bank

New Zealand Management, May 2010 | Go to article overview

MANAGERS ABROAD : Sophie Denny; Senior Legal Counsel Global Retail & Commercial Banking: Western Europe, Barclays Bank


What prompted you to seek work outside New Zealand?

For my career, the opportunity to work in an organisation tackling a variety of issues alongside an extremely ambitious global growth plan was an exciting prospect that grabbed me. The real draw, however, was personal a[euro]" being in Europe and travelling both for work and pleasure really gives me a buzz a[euro]" I love exploring the different ways people approach life and work.

Can you provide a brief sketch of your current role?

Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for more than 48 million customers and clients worldwide. I lead the Western Europe legal team for Barclaysa[euro] consumer bank. I have a team of more than 50 in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France and my immediate team sit with me in London. I manage the legal risk throughout our Western European countries and advise our Western Europe executive and the consumer banka[euro]s global general counsel. No day is the same and can include anything from interviewing a new general counsel for one of our countries, reviewing cost management strategies, advising on a regulatory investigation, exploring new channels for delivering our products or supporting a major outsourcing or acquisition.

How does it fit into your career path?

Great question! My career is somewhat organic. I worked in private practice at Wilson Harle in New Zealand before joining Barclays in a role setting up front, middle and back offices across the globe a[euro]" India, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Lithuania and a bit in China. Each step in my career intentionally draws me closer to the business drivers and strategy in teams that are dynamic and keen to grow. Leading a team in New Zealand is something that I would like to put on the cards in the future.

What are its main challenges?

The greatest challenge is keeping on top of it all! Whenever we have closed a deal, appointed a key hire or dealt with a major challenge in one jurisdiction, there is something bigger waiting in another. This all exists on the backdrop of the increased regulation in the banking sector and the speed at which changes need to be embedded. …

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