In November 2016, the World Bank appointed Sandie Okoro as World Bank Group Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Okoro was formerly with HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. The General Counsel is the World Bank Group’s principal adviser and spokesperson on all legal matters, and also serves as legal adviser to the Bank’s board, management and its accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel.
In his 2015 report, Philip Alston, the former UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, noted that in practice, legal opinions by the General Counsel provide the basis for the Bank’s executive directors’ interpretations of the Bank’s Articles of Agreement, including of its mandate. Jessica Evans of NGO Human Rights Watch, commented: “Human rights defenders will judge Okoro’s performance by her willingness to fill what former World Bank Legal Counsel Roberto Danino called ‘a gaping hole in the dynamic interpretation of the Bank’s statutes’ and develop a human rights policy suitable to the institution’s role.”