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Clayton Utz executive chair named as new group GC at Commonwealth Bank

Banking giant Commonwealth Bank has appointed Karen O’Flynn, who currently serves as a partner and executive chair at BigLaw firm Clayton Utz, as its incoming group general counsel and group executive legal and group secretariat.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 27 June 2023 Corporate Counsel
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After three and a half years as the group GC and group executive legal and group secretariat at Commonwealth Bank, Carmel Mulhern is set to leave the bank, moving on to the next phase of her career as a non-executive director.

She will leave the bank on 31 August of this year.

From 1 September, Karen O’Flynn will assume the role vacated by Ms Mulhern.


Ms O’Flynn currently serves as a partner at Clayton Utz (CU) since 1996 and is the BigLaw firm’s executive chair — a position she has held since February 2020. She is also a member of the firm’s diversity council and has held numerous leadership positions with CU.

She is, the bank said in a statement, “recognised internationally and domestically as a leading legal practitioner and commercial litigator”.

Ms O’Flynn’s appointment is subject to regulatory approvals, the bank noted.

In a statement provided to Lawyers Weekly, CU chief executive partner Emma Covacevich said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Karen and her contribution to our firm over many years, both as a partner, practice group leader, and chair.”

“This is an exciting move for her, and she leaves with our gratitude and warmest wishes.”

As reported by Lawyers Weekly, Ms Covacevich was elected as CU’s chief executive partner back in December.

Speaking about the bank’s outgoing group GC, Commonwealth Bank chief executive officer Matt Comyn said: “Carmel has been a valued member of the bank’s executive leadership team, with a strong focus on our customers and our people.”

“During her time with CBA, she has played an important role in ensuring the fair and efficient resolution of the group’s legal matters, as well as strengthening our relationships with key stakeholders.”

“Under Carmel’s leadership, CBA’s corporate governance processes have also been simplified to support the effectiveness of the board,” Mr Comyn continued.

“We thank Carmel for her contribution to CBA and wish her all the best for the future.”

On the appointment of Ms O’Flynn, Mr Comyn noted: “Karen brings a breadth of experience in financial services over her legal career, including supporting the bank through the royal commission.”

“The leadership team and I look forward to welcoming Karen to CBA.”