2014 Top 20 Ally Executives

We were completely overwhelmed by the excellence of the submissions we received from all around the world. Each one of the nominees was ranked on both the seniority of their role, and the impact they have on driving the LGBT in the workplace agenda forward.

Allies are critical to driving forward the LGBT agenda, and we are so proud to share 20 incredible role models who are going above and beyond to ensure that their workplaces are welcoming to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

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Richard Branson

Virgin Group

Richard Branson founded the Virgin group over 40 years ago and now, through more than 100 companies worldwide, Virgin employs approximately 60,000 people in over 50 countries. Ever since starting the youth culture magazine ‘Student’ aged 17, Richard has found entrepreneurial ways to provoke positive change in the world. Most recently he spoke out on the Ugandan ‘anti-gay’ bill, as well as consistently showing public support for the same sex marriage law in the UK. However Richard believes that there is still a lot of work to be done, and it is time to turn our attention to the many gay people who are being persecuted in many less understanding countries.

Lloyd Blankfein

Chairman and CEO
Goldman Sachs

Lloyd has been a strong public advocate of LGBT rights and the importance of inclusive environments, and was the first CEO to publicly support marriage equality. For the past ten years, Goldman Sachs has been awarded a 100 percent score on The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. The firm’s policies seek to reinforce a culture of inclusion and meritocracy, and provide the same benefits to all spouses and domestic partners. Additionally the firm partners with a number of LGBT organizations, including Stonewall, Human Rights Campaign & Community Business. Earlier this year, Lloyd spoke at the inaugural “Out in Law Summit,” following the firm’s “Out on the Street Summit” in 2013.

Valerie Sorrano Keating

CEO, Barclaycard

Valerie is the CEO of leading global payments business Barclaycard and a member of the Barclays Group Executive Committee. She is an outstanding advocate for the LGBT community, working closely with Barclays’ LGBT network Spectrum, which has established three main streams of activity to help drive LGBT engagement globally; Spectrum Allies, Global Communications and Supporting LGBT customers. Valerie has also engaged in a number of ‘Spotlight’ sessions, sharing her own journey with LGBT colleagues. Externally she has been a vocal spokesperson for LGBT equality, and has delivered the key note speech at the annual Stonewall/Spectrum conference in London for the past two years.

Mark Zuckerberg

Founder & CEO

Mark is the founder and CEO of Facebook and is a vocal advocate of the value of diversity. Over the last several years, Facebook employees have marched in large numbers in pride parades in several cities around the world, with Mark himself, where possible, joining the march. Facebook has a robust LGBT employee resource group which is amongst the most active of all the Facebook diversity groups. Facebook has also taken huge steps to ensure transgender identities are included within the Facebook format, recently adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender. Facebook, under Mark’s leadership, has also participated in litigation supporting marriage equality in courts around the US, as well as participating actively in recruiting events such as Lesbians Who Tech, and supporting efforts such as the Trevor Project and GLAAD.


Paul Polman


Paul is Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, an organisation with over 174,000 employees worldwide and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. Unilever’s culture is based on the non-negotiable value of respect of the individual, something  that Paul ensures comes from the very top. The company champions diversity. It scored 100% on the 2013 HRC Corporate Equality Index and has a large and successful internal network – People Respecting Individuality, Diversity & Equality (PRIDE).


Jamie Dimon

Chairman and CEO
JPMorgan Chase

Jamie is the senior most employee of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, overseeing about 250,000 employees. The company’s Foundation, with the support of Jamie, has provided millions of dollars of donations to LGBT-related organizations in recent years.  The company has achieved a 100% “perfect” score from the Human Rights Commission every year since its inception.  The company is also a leader in LGBT benefits, including equalizing taxes for LGBT couples and paying for gender reassignment surgery. This summer Jamie welcomed 250 LGBT advocates to the Empire State Pride Agenda’s “Equality at Work” awards luncheon, which his company hosted.


Harry van Dorenmalen

Chairman IBM Europe, General Manager Benelux & Country General Manager Netherlands

Harry is directly responsible for managing  BeNeLux, as well as leading country general managers in Europe. Harry has enabled, supported, and ultimately ensured that IBM executive management teams in all European countries have included LGBT equality and inclusion on their agendas. In countries where being LGBT is difficult within the local society, and even within the local IBM organisations, Harry makes an effort to speak openly with the various country management teams. Harry regularly gives interviews to the media on LGBT topics in his role as a straight ally, including various articles in national newspapers.


Nicola Rabson

Partner, Employment & Incentives Practice

Nicola is a very well-known figure in the employment world with significant experience across the breadth of employment law. She is listed as a leading individual in Legal500 and is regularly cited in the press as an authority in employment law matters. Nicola joined the LGB&T network as a senior Ally in 2013 and quickly set out to create the firm’s first LGB&T Ally Programme. She has been a visible force for LGB&T equality signing up the firm’s Chairman, CFO and various other senior Partners as Allies prior to the launch. Nicola has also been active in speaking out in the LGB&T business community through panel discussions at Out in the Street, as well as being featured in Stonewall’s LGB Careers Guide as an Ally in the firm’s Legal section profile.


Maria Leistner

Managing Director, General Counsel for the EMEA region
Credit Suisse

As General Counsel of Credit Suisse in EMEA, Maria is among the most senior female Managing Directors in the bank globally. As senior co-sponsor of the EMEA LGBT Network, Maria has collaborated with the Committee to re-energise the network. She identified the need for an LGBT Ally programme to encourage all employees to actively identify as an LGBT Ally and promote equality in an inclusive working environment.  Over the past five years, Maria has participated in various Stonewall events and represented Credit Suisse at last year’s Out on the Street Conference. She has also been an active member of the InterLaw LGBT Network and spoken of her sponsorship of the Credit Suisse LGBT Open Network in industry-wide publications.


Colin Grassie

CEO UK & Member of the Group Executive Committee, Managing Director
Deutsche Bank

Colin Grassie is CEO of Deutsche Bank in the UK, a member of the Group Executive Committee and Group Investment Committee, and Chairman of the UK Executive Committee. He has responsibility for development of the Bank’s UK franchise, including management of relationships with the government, regulators and key clients. Colin is an active sponsor, has hosted LGBT events for the organisation and has featured in various films, both internally and externally, highlighting the importance of LGBT diversity and the support of allies. Colin was also a panellist at the 2013 European Out on the Street Conference and has encouraged corporate sponsorship of the Stonewall organisation, the Bank’s hosting of the 2014 European Out on the Street Conference and the partnership with OUTstanding.


Howard Ungerleider

Executive Vice President
The Dow Chemical Company

As Dow’s Chief Financial Officer, Howard has accountability for the company’s global financial operations, reporting requirements and strategic planning efforts. He also has executive oversight of the Company’s Latin America presence. He led the efforts to achieve unprecedented expansion of the Dow LGBT ERG, growing it by more than 4X and nearly doubling participation in one year alone. Under his leadership, Dow has spoken multiple times to the US Congress on LGBT rights. In 2014, Dow for the ninth consecutive time was named one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT equality,” for earning 100 percent on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. Dow also continues to actively support numerous LGBT NGOs including HRC, PFLAG, Out & Equal, NOGLSTP and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.


Kirsty Bashforth

Group Head of Organisational Effectiveness

Kirsty’s role as Group Head of Organisational Effectiveness is to remove issues that get in the way of more than 80,000 employees across the world in BP working effectively. As part of her role she ensures the company has a connected eco-system of all diversity strands with supporting structures in place. She recently hosted Lord Browne’s return to BP to talk about his book, has established a global Pride network, with new chapters in Singapore and Germany, as well  as those in US and UK, and she mentors the LGBT rising stars. Additionally, as a founding member of OUTstanding, Kirsty hosts and chairs the steering group meetings – driving the agenda forward. Kirsty was also instrumental in BP becoming a founding partner of the flagship Stonewall Global Equality programme.

Steve Varley

Chairman and Managing Partner, UK and Ireland

Steve is UK Chairman of EY, responsible for a business of over 14,000 people as well as the Regional Managing Partner of the UK and Ireland practice and a member of EY’s Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Board. He is a strong, vocal supporter of EY’s diversity and inclusiveness agenda and shows his support for LGBT activities often. He also sets a strong tone from the top about the importance of D&I to EY’s success, making it one of his three strategic imperatives for the firm. Additionally, Steve has spoken at Stonewall events that EY have hosted. Externally, Steve often speaks about his personal commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.


Sharon Thorne

Managing Partner, Regional Markets

Sharon is Deloitte’s Managing Partner Regional Markets, with responsibility for over 5,000 people in the Deloitte UK offices outside London. In 2007 she launched the firm’s diversity networks, including GLOBE, the Deloitte LGBT network. As a member of both the Deloitte UK Executive and the DTTL Global Board, Sharon is a highly visible senior sponsor for GLOBE, and regularly speaks about the importance of authenticity and LGBT equality. Sharon has long been a passionate advocate for diversity and the activities of GLOBE, and has developed a strong profile as an LGBT ally. She has mentored a number of our LGB employees throughout their careers, and recently supported a trans employee through the process of coming out at work.


Philip Clement

Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
Aon plc

Next to Aon’s CEO, Greg Case, Phil is the longest standing member of the global executive committee of Aon plc, sharing indirect responsibility for 67,000 employees worldwide. Phil uses his significant influence and experience to champion change across the organisation and loves working with the leaders of Aon’s LGBT community. Aon has received a perfect 100% rating on the HRC Corporate Equality Index for the past seven years. In Chicago, Phil and the team proudly support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and HRC Chicago, and in London, championed the creation of the LGBT insurance network, LINK.


Chris Saul

Senior Partner
Slaughter and May

Chris is the Senior Partner of Slaughter and May worldwide, one of the leading law firms based in London.  The LGBT Network at Slaughter and May has grown by a third in just one year; a rapid change that has been led by visible senior level support. Chris regularly attends internal and external LGBT Network events as an Ally, acts as a mentor and role-model for LGBT staff and encourages all-staff engagement with LGBT issues. He is a champion of D&I and LGBT causes, and has been instrumental in liaising with external organisations, such as the InterLaw Diversity Forum and Stonewall as well as encouraging the firm’s engagement for LGBT causes.

Nicolas Aubert


Nicolas became Chief Operating Officer for EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) region in April of this year, a role covering all aspects of client service, leading 3,000 employees across some 47 countries. He was instrumental in the creation of the AIG internal Employee Resource Group (ERG) for LGBT staff. He has also provided guidance and support to other organisations on diversity strategies and ways to encourage/create a comfortable and supportive workplace for LGBT staff.  Additionally Nicolas has actively spoken at the Insurance Network for LGBT staff (LINK) on their panel, and last year established AIG as a member of Stonewall.


Fiona Woolf CBE

The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of London
The Corporation of London

Fiona is the elected head of the City of London Corporation, acting, inter alia, as an ambassador for the City and its business. A key pillar of the mayoralty is the ‘Power of Diversity’ Programme, part of which involves senior leaders coming together regularly to discuss how to progress D&I (in its widest sense) in their companies. Looking at LGBT specifically Fiona has hosted and spoken at the first ever PRIDE annual gala dinner as well as Launching the recent Purple Reign Photographic Exhibition, featuring pictures by Thomas Knight of gay leaders and their straight allies.


David Richards

Managing Director, Structured Finance
Standard Chartered Bank

David is a member of the Executive Leadership Team (comprising 300 of the bank’s most senior leaders). As Co-Chair of the bank’s UK Diversity and Inclusion Council he led the formation of an LGBT Allies network in the UK.  David enlisted the support of the Group Chief Executive Officer to address the UK LGBT network, a message that was then broadcast globally and which was well received.  He has supported the rollout of Standard Chartered’s  Global LGBT Allies Programme, which was launched in July this year.


Ollie Roberts

Director: HR, Corporate Offices
SABMiller plc

Ollie is the HR Director for the Group Corporate Functions and a member of the Global HR Executive Committee. SABMiller is embarking on a bold journey to focus on diversity & inclusion in the Group Corporate Functions, focussing on gender, disability and LGBT+.  By becoming members of OUTstanding, they have already lifted a cultural hurdle, and are creating an unprecedented dialogue on LGBT+ issues.  This was strengthened through their first ever partnership with Pride in London, which was created through discussions between Ollie and Michael Salter, Chair of Pride in London.