The City legal profession collectively regards itself as a global ambassador for UK enterprise but CMS Cameron McKenna energy partner Fiona Woolf has been officially awarded the representative role of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, becoming only the second female holder of the post in its 800-year history.
Woolf will be the City’s 686th Lord Mayor – to be distinguished from the wider Mayor of London role – and will take on the role of global ambassador for UK-based financial and business services from Friday 8 November.
Woolf has been at CMS for 35 years, having become the first female partner at legacy firm McKenna & Co in 1981. Before joining the firm in 1978, she worked as an assistant at Clifford Chance, having qualified as a solicitor in 1973.
At CMS, Woolf led the legal team that delivered the restructuring and privatisation of the National Grid. She has worked in over 40 countries on regulation, infrastructure, projects and market implementation, particularly in the electricity sector. Most recently, she worked with the World Bank on regional transmission line projects to enable post-conflict countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, to import electricity.
Woolf was a member of the UK’s Competition Commission until this year and was previously president of the Law Society of England and Wales from 2006 until 2007. She is also a non-executive director of Affinity Water and a senior adviser to London Economics International. Woolf said of her appointment: ‘The City makes an important contribution in exporting global expertise and attracting internationally mobile business to the UK by creating mutually beneficial relationships across the world. I have worked on energy and infrastructure reforms and projects that have done just that by delivering tangible benefits to local communities and bilateral trade.
‘As a truly global city, London is uniquely placed to help deliver the infrastructure and financing needed to rise to the challenge of sustainable.’
As part of her new role, Woolf will typically lead overseas City business delegations for three months a year and meet politicians and business leaders who visit the City.
She takes over the role from the UK head of Sweden’s Skandinaviska Enskilda Bank. Her appointment comes 20 years after the first female Lord Mayor, Mary Donaldson, a nurse and the first female alderman, took over the post in 1983.