The Allstate Corp. announced yesterday that Executive Vice President and General Counsel Michele Coleman Mayes is retiring, and her successor will be Susie Lees. Lees will be promoted from senior vice president, Allstate Financial Law and deputy general counsel.

During her nearly five-year career at Allstate, Mayes worked on legal and regulatory matters, as well as public policy and corporate governance. Previously, she was senior vice president and general counsel at Pitney Bowes, and had worked in private practice.  

Over the years, Mayes had established a reputation as a strong leader and supporter of diversity and the highest ethical standards. She recently co-authored a book with SNR Denton Partner Kara Baysinger, titled “Courageous Counsel,” which she hopes will inspire women and minorities to strive for senior level positions in the legal field. And for the past three years, she was the co-chair of InsideCounsel’s Transformative Leadership Awards (TLA), which are held each year in Chicago.

“Diversity is getting people in the room. Inclusiveness is hearing what people have to say and doing something about it. If you do that, you have loyalty and reason for staying,” Mayes told InsideCounsel last year. “The TLA awards go back to the whole idea of sustainability. Women who have real books of business are players in their firm and are paving the way for others. It’s worthy of following and celebrating.”

“Michele has been a great partner over the last five years as we have proactively addressed the challenges from the financial market meltdown, embraced new regulatory requirements and taken action to improve returns in homeowners insurance,” Allstate CEO Thomas J. Wilson said is a statement.

Mayes now plans to focus her attention on the non-profit sector.

Lees brings 24 years of experience to her new GC role, and has worked in various legal positions within Allstate.  

“Susie’s breadth of experience, legal expertise and leadership skills will further build on the success of a legal team that rivals major law firms in scope and capabilities,” Wilson said.

Allstate’s press release does not say when the transition will take place.


Read more about the TLAs and women lawyers’ careers at InsideCounsel’s Transformative Leadership microsite. For more InsideCounsel articles about the advancement of women in corporate law, read:

Transformative Leadership Awards honors women in corporate law

Recap: The 3rd Annual Transformative Leadership Awards

The 3rd Annual Transformative Leadership Award winners

4 companies show true commitment to advancing women in law