When CHRISTOPHER STEPHENS took a position in the Hong Kong office of now-defunct Coudert Brothers in 1996, he and his wife thought their move abroad would be temporary. "We didn't hang curtains for the first four years," says Stephens, who has been in Asia ever since. The recently appointed general counsel of Manila's Asian Development Bank (ADB) now calls the continent home. "Our children were born here, the best legal work in the world is here, it's a fascinating and invigorating place to live," says Stephens, "and we've put down roots."
Stephens comes to the multilateral financial institution from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he was a partner from 2005 through the end of last year. His practice focused on project development and finance, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions across the region. Stephens also previously worked in the region for Breed, Abbott & Morgan, which became Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan after the firm's merger with Whitman & Ransom in 1993.
ADB's new GC says the breadth of projects, clients, and target countries he encountered in private practice gave him plenty of varietybut not as much as he'll see at the bank. "Whether through investment in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, or through helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources," Stephens says, "the mission of ADB is quite different from that of any commercial enterprise with which I had worked."
The bank, which now has 67 member countries, was established in 1966 to facilitate economic development and alleviate poverty across Asia. Recent projects include an $800 million road-building project to bring crucial services to isolated communities in India, and a $300 million investment in energy-efficient electric tricycles in the Philippines.
Stephens says he was drawn to the audacity of ADB's vision for a "poverty-free Asia Pacific." ADB has a unique role to play in the region, Stephens says. "As impressive as the growth and development has been over the last 20 years in the Asia Pacific region," he says, "the sustainability of that growth depends on the breadth and depth of the development opportunities."
As the bank's GC, Stephens will manage 42 lawyers in a legal department that is spread out across 16 countries. He will have primary responsibility for counseling the bank's president, board of directors, and board of governors on legal matters. The office of the general counsel advises ADB management and project teams and supports the public and private sector operating departments of the bank, as well as its internal administrative functions.
Stephens majored in political science and economics at Colgate University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1981. He graduated cum laude from New York Law School in 1984. At ADB he succeeds JEREMY HOVLAND, a longtime ADB lawyer who retired last year.
Stephens has been "deeply struck by the quality and commitment" of his new colleagues, he says. "At every level and in every department, we have focused, earnest, and dedicated professionals and support staff eager to do their jobs well."
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Sweet Tooth for Tech
When it comes to technology and the law, it's all geek to SEAN RADCLIFFE, the new general counsel of Ciber Inc. As a college freshman in 1987, he was the first guy in his fraternity to have his own personal computer. And in November, he took up his first general counsel post, at the global IT consultancy, which is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. He takes over from former GC SUSAN KEESEN.
Radcliffe is porting over from information services company IHS Inc., where he served as chief legal counsel and chief compliance officer. Before that, he worked as a senior attorney for telecom company WilTel Communications."I am, at heart, a geek," says Radcliffe.
The Boulder native majored in English at Oklahoma State and earned his J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law. He clerked at Tulsa firm Pray Walker during law school.