21 April 2022

Simmons & Simmons’ first global head of ESG

Simmons Simmons has just appointed its first global head of ESG; this Wednesday Sonali Siriwardena has joined the firm with the great responsibility of bringing together Simmons’ global ESG strategy

“The opportunity to spearhead the external ESG strategy for Simmons is compelling as ESG is no longer a tick box exercise and should be the cornerstone of company operations across all industries and sectors. My business and legal background has given me a clear view of how sustainability regulation and policy impact company strategy and stock valuations. I will leverage this experience to enable Simmons build on its existing ESG expertise to carve out a position at the forefront of legal advisers, delivering market leading ESG advice to clients across all matters.”

This firm was founded in 1896 by the twin brothers Percy and Edward Simmons, newly qualified and only 21 years old. Ever since, the firm has not stopped growing, expanding progressively to the rest of Europe, Asia and Middle East, acquiring in 2010 the status of LLP and Stonewall Top Global Employer in 2016. Such a successful story could not be less in the field of ESG, for which a globalized world requires excellent coordinated efforts from a multinational company

Taking a look at Siriwardena’s professional career and why Simmons has decided to count on her to fulfil this important role, the curriculum says it all; she had previously been working at Morgan Stanley for a whole decade, in charge of legal and business roles. There, Siriwardena was head of sustainability regulation and policy, this including implementation of ESG regulation. Before taking up that role with Morgan Stanley, Sonali worked at Barclays Capital.  Prior to that, she was an investment funds counsel at the City law firm, White & Case LLP where she was as an advisor to fund sponsors, banks and endowment funds. Sonali is a Solicitor in England and Wales and is also an Attorney at Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, and she holds a Masters of Law from the University of Bristol.

Now, at Simmons, Sonali will be working with the firm’s clients and further bringing together Simmons’ global ESG strategy across all its four key sectors. Working across all practice areas and offices, Sonali will be responsible for the continued development of the firm’s essential ESG reflex, effectively enabling all teams to service clients on their ESG instructions as well as having the understanding to consider it in every matter that the firm advises clients on.

“This is the latest significant strategic move that Simmons has made in 2022. Following our announcement of the firm’s first US office, the creation of a global head of ESG role is a clear demonstration of our commitment to furnishing clients with next generation ESG advice.”

“Sonali will be responsible for weaving together the areas of ESG expertise where Simmons has a market leading reputation and further developing our peoples’ ESG reflex.”

Moreover, the appointment will be complimented by the figure of Sophia Adams Bhatti, who has recently became Head of Purpose and Impact at Simmons, position in which she drives the firm towards the delivery of purposeful impact through its work and commitments.

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