Bristol-Myers Squibb: Bristol-Myers Squibb Is a Top 50 Company for Executive Women -- Again
Bristol-Myers Squibb Is a Top 50 Company for Executive Women -- Again

Sandra Leung
Sandra Leung, general counsel and corporate secretary
For the ninth year in a row, Bristol-Myers Squibb has been named to the NAFE Top 50 Companies and 10 Nonprofits for Executive Women by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). The list recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage women’s advancement and whose numbers at the highest levels of leadership demonstrate that commitment.

“The NAFE recognition is an important acknowledgement of our efforts to recruit and retain the very best talent,” says John Celentano, senior vice president, Human Resources, Public Affairs and Philanthropy.

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, women have achieved leadership positions at every level of the organization. An example: Sandra Leung, general counsel and corporate secretary.

Sandy joined the company in 1992 as a staff attorney in the Litigation Group. In 1999, she was promoted to corporate secretary. Her role was later expanded to include chief ethics officer, and in September 2006 she became interim general counsel. A year later, she was promoted to general counsel.


Today, Sandy provides legal counsel to the CEO and the Senior Management Team, leads the company’s Law Department and serves as the primary counsel to the Board of Directors.

Twenty years ago, when Sandy came here and interviewed, “I got a sense that this was a company that took care of its employees and cared about its customers and patients. It felt right to be here.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb has a number of programs in place that support the advancement of women into leadership positions. These include mentoring as well as leadership and professional development programs – areas covered on the 2011 NAFE Top Companies Application of some 225 questions.

Other topics on the application include female representation, hiring, attrition and promotion rates; access and usage of key retention and advancement programs; company culture; and manager training and accountability. The application draws particular attention to the number of women at the highest ranks, including the percentage of women who are direct reports to CEOs, running major divisions or managing country operations. Companies must also have at least two women on the Board of Directors.

At the 2011 NAFE Top Companies, women executives run 23 percent of operations that generate more than $1 billion in revenue for their companies. “Women have long struggled to reach the highest ranks in a male-dominated business environment, but with the growing profitability of companies with women in the top ranks, that is changing,” says Betty Spence, Ph.D., NAFE president. “Today, employers reward the skills that women bring and demand them of men, as well.”


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