Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, Vodafone Group PLC
Legal Services Category Winner 2013
I am honoured to win an award that recognises the contribution women are making and by doing so encourages others to make a difference. I have been lucky in having great teams at work and home. Not all women are so fortunate – we still have a way to go before we can all contribute on an equal footing.
Rosemary Martin qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and spent 13 years in a City law firm, becoming a corporate law partner. She then joined the legal team at media multi-national Reuters, initially as a company secretary and latterly as General Counsel and Company Secretary, with responsibility in over 100 countries for legal risk, internal audit, compliance, secretariat, sustainability and Reuters Foundation. Rosemary was chief executive of a legal information company before joining Vodafone in 2010 as its Group General Counsel & Company Secretary where she has led the legal work on a number of high profile matters, including the $130bn Verizon sale.
A non-executive director of HSBC Bank Plc (the European arm of HSBC) Rosemary is a member of the UK Listing Authority Advisory Panel. She has had non-executive roles in a health authority, the Legal Services Board and two financial services firms. Rosemary has championed diversity throughout her career launching diversity networks at Reuters and Vodafone and being an advocate for better working practices in the legal profession.
Juding Panel Comment
Rosemary Martin has been leading by example her entire career. Currently the Group General Counsel and Company Secretary for Vodaphone Group PLC, she is the most senior woman within the organisation. Rosemary has long championed schemes to promote and encourage women in the workplace – be it arranging ‘women’s lunches’, which bring female employees together to discuss important topics, over twenty years ago when still a Partner at the law firm, Rowe & Maw, to mentoring and reverse mentoring schemes, and creating a global Woman’s’ Network across Vodaphone.
Rosemary also launched the ID100 in response to the Davies Report; a forum for sharing practical experiences about promoting diversity within the FTSE100 and is a frequent speaker on the topic.
Not afraid to speak out on even the most uncomfortable of issues, she lent her support to a project Vodaphone was backing in Tanzania on obstetric fistula. Rosemary garnered the buy-in of the senior male executives for a medical condition which only affects women, and led the project, which raised over £7 million to help eradicate the condition from the country.
Rosemary’s career demonstrates that it is possible to combine inspirational leadership with powerful advocacy on the importance of encouraging women’s aspirations and progression in the workplace.