How I went from ‘tea girl’ to Britain’s fraud enforcement officer: Outgoing SFO boss hails success of her all-female squad
The outgoing Serious Fraud Office (SFO) boss will tonight salute her career progression from tea girl to leading an all-female team that won a massive bribery case against Glencore.
Lisa Osofsky, who is stepping down as director this summer, will also highlight the increase in the number of women in the SFO’s senior ranks.
In remarks to be made at a ceremony in Washington DC, the 61-year-old will note that she inherited all-male leadership, which over her four-year tenure evolved to be “70% by women”, including all members of its executive committee.
Anti-fraud: Serious Fraud Office boss Lisa Osofsky (pictured) is stepping down as director this summer
Receiving the Women’s White Collar Defense Association Champion Award, she will say she is “passionate” about inclusion.
As an intern, the job was “to take notes and make tea as a tea girl for case conferences,” she said, and when she graduated in 1997, women female lawyers had only been allowed to wear trousers in British courts for two years.
“Coming from outside – first as a woman in law enforcement, then as an American in London, then as the first British-American to lead the SFO – has only strengthened my belief in the importance of diversity in all its forms,” she said.
Osofsky, a former FBI lawyer, will highlight the success of the case against Glencore, which was ordered by a judge to pay £281million – ‘the biggest financial penalty the UK has ever seen’ imposed on a company.
“The tabloids loved it and led with the ‘Girl power’ header,” Osofsky will say, adding that as a woman in a male-dominated profession, such condemnation achieved by an all-female team “reaches a whole new octave.” “.
“I want differing opinions, I want a challenge, I want to avoid groupthink,” she will say. “And, as we all know, you can only achieve that by hiring a range of people from different backgrounds.”
His tenure was not without controversy. The convictions of three executives of energy group Unaoil were overturned after they did not receive a fair trial, and a case against former Serco executives collapsed in April.