Commonwealth Bank Of Australia Lures General Counsel Carmel Mulhern Away From Telstra

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Carmel Mulhern is leaving her post as chief lawyer for Australia's top telecommunications and technology company to serve as the general counsel of the country's largest bank.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced on Friday it hired Mulhern as group general counsel. She is expected to start her new role in January, when she will begin overseeing a legal department for a firm that has international branches in Asia, Europe, New Zealand and North America. 

Mulhern will be in her element leading a global in-house team. As the group general counsel for Telstra Corp. Ltd. since 2012, she has been in charge of one of the largest in-house legal teams in Australia. She has led 200 lawyers throughout Australia, primarily in Melbourne, and also in Hong Kong, Singapore, London and New York. 

Mulhern was not immediately available for comment, but she spoke last year in an interview with Corporate Counsel about her responsibilities at Telstra and the disruption-related risks facing the legal and telecom industries. 

"I spend a lot of time thinking about how we continue to innovate to stay in front and shape our destiny rather than having change forced upon us," she said at the time. "This means I need to build a high-performing, agile, world-class team that improves each year."

She also discussed fostering diversity in the legal department, saying that she strives to "create a flexible and inclusive workplace where my team feel[s] supported and continue[s] to engage at their peak. 

"If employees have a great experience, they'll bring all of themselves to work, forge longer careers with us, seek support when they need it, and contribute all their talents to the things they love to do. I see diversity, including gender, only increasing in the future," she added. 

Mulhern has a bachelor of laws from the University of Queensland and a master of laws from Monash University, where she returned to teach periodically from 1995 to 2006, according to her LinkedIn profile

She began her career as a solicitor for the Australian firm of McCullough Robertson and went on to serve as a senior associate at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, now King & Wood Mallesons.

Mulhern joined Telstra in 2000 as general counsel of finance and administration before being promoted to company secretary and, later, group general counsel and group executive of legal and corporate affairs. As GC, she was involved in the federal government's privatization of Telstra

In announcing Mulhern's hiring, Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn described her as "a respected leader with extensive legal expertise, a proven track record in risk management, a strong focus on doing what is right for customers, and personal and professional values that are aligned with the culture we are building at the Bank."