All-round leader: former Co-op Bank legal chief McKeown appointed General Counsel of British Land

All-round leader: former Co-op Bank legal chief McKeown appointed General Counsel of British Land

Swapping the banking sector for real estate, former general counsel (GC) of The Co-operative Bank, Brona McKeown, has been appointed GC and company secretary of FTSE 100 company British Land.

She arrives after previous incumbent Elaine Williams left for UK logistics company Eddie Stobart in November 2017 after two years in the role.

McKeown (pictured) left the Co-op Bank in October last year after being with the group since 2013. She was the bank’s first legal head. David Bagley, previously Co-op’s regulatory risk director, was appointed as McKeown’s replacement.

McKeown’s career started at CMS Cameron McKenna in 1992, as a solicitor in the firm’s banking and international finance department. She then had various roles at Barclays, becoming general counsel for corporate at Barclays Bank in 2010.

Before joining the Co-op, McKeown had acted as GC and company secretary for Coventry Building Society for less than a year. In the Legal Business 2016 GC Powerlist , the plain-speaking McKeown was seen as the right GC to lead The Co-op Bank legal team through troubled times and was described by one senior lawyer as ‘an incredible all-round leader and visionary who has been right in the trenches facing the most difficult of circumstances’.

In a statement issued at the time of her departure, the Co-op said: ‘Brona McKeown has been employed as general counsel and company secretary of the bank since December 2013 and has been integral to the bank and the board through the variety of high-profile and complex corporate and strategic events in recent years, culminating in the conclusion of the recent recapitalisation exercise. Brona has now decided it is an appropriate time to move on from the bank.’

As GC, Williams oversaw British Land’s first panel appointment process in December 2015. Magic Circle heavyweight Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer joined Addleshaw Goddard, Herbert Smith Freehills, Jones Day, King & Wood Mallesons, Mayer Brown and Simmons & Simmons on the maiden roster.