Legal Business Blogs

In-house: Bank of England appoints ex-CC partner Sonya Branch as its new general counsel

The Bank of England (BoE) has appointed former Clifford Chance (CC) competition and regulatory partner Sonya Branch as its new general counsel (GC), following the retirement of Graham Nicholson.

Branch, who left CC in 2007, last served as executive director of enforcement and a member of the board at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Having previously worked at the Office for Fair Trading and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, she will assume the post at the bank in mid-May, following Nicholson’s retirement at the end of April.

The GC role at the BoE, which previously carried the title chief legal advisor, is the executive director for the legal directorate – responsible for providing legal advice to the Bank as well as its subsidiary, the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Commenting on her appointment, Mark Carney, governor of the BoE said: ‘I am delighted that Sonya Branch is joining the bank. Sonya brings excellent judgement, versatility, a commitment to public service, as well as extensive private sector experience. All of the Bank’s senior management team are looking forward to working closely with her.’

The appointment of a new GC is at a time when the Serious Fraud Office is investigating money-market auctions which the bank carried out during the financial crisis. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which veteran M&A partner Nicholson left in January 2009, is representing the bank.