Sarah C. Dodds-Brown
Class of 2015
Sarah Dodds-Brown serves as Executive Vice President & Managing Counsel at American Express where she leads the U.S. Business Legal Group – a team of over 100 legal professionals located in New York, Florida, and Illinois – which provides legal and regulatory support for the company’s U.S. Consumer, Commercial, and Global Merchant and Network Services business divisions. Over the course of her career, Sarah has been recognized as a strategic business partner and systemic thinker who effectively anticipates challenges and influences change and evolution, and she has been instrumental in redefining the culture and expanding the engagement of the legal function at American Express.
Prior to her current role, Sarah led the Global Merchant & Network Services legal team in the wake of a District Court ruling against American Express and its merchant business in the Ohio v American Express Co antitrust case. Sarah and her team helped drive decisions that enabled growth and balanced the needs of customers and shareholders while navigating the implementation of a permanent injunction issued by the District Court, as well as its reversal several months later by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2018, the Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the appellate decision in favor of American Express.
For several years, in addition to her business support responsibilities, Sarah also led the global privacy law center of excellence and set the agenda for the broader privacy organization during an extended transition period between Chief Privacy Officers, including leading the development of a principle and risk-based approach to how the Company partners with third parties and governs its “Big Data” capabilities. During the time of her tenure leading the privacy legal function, the Company was recognized six years in a row as ‘The Most Trusted Company for Privacy’ in a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute. Sarah has also served as an Adviser on two American Law Institute projects focused on developing principles of law for data privacy and principles for a data economy.
Sarah has served as an independent director on the Board of Directors of Party City Holdco, Inc. (NYSE: PRTY) and as a member of the Audit Committee since 2020. She has also been active with educational and civic organizations since the beginning of her career. She was elected and served as a “Young Trustee” on the Duke University Board of Trustees following her undergraduate studies and went on to subsequently serve two terms on the Board of Advisors for Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. In addition to serving in other leadership capacities for Duke, in 2006, Sarah was asked by the University President to serve on a specially created Presidential Council to scrutinize Duke’s response to allegations made against several members of its men’s lacrosse team. During a time of acute crisis for the University and incredible reputational vulnerability, she and the other members of the Council advised the President on whether Duke’s responses were appropriate and effective.
Since 2013, Sarah has served as a member of the Planning Board of the City of New Rochelle, and as Chair since 2016, as the City implemented a novel, fast-track zoning process and use of generic environmental reviews to spark an unprecedented redevelopment initiative which has resulted in over 31 projects – totaling more than six million square feet and over 4,000 housing units – being approved through the City’s planning process. Sarah is also a member of the Advisory Board for DirectWomen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the representation of women lawyers on corporate boards, and she serves as the Chair of the Legal, Policy & Risk and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committees of the Board of Trustees of Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY.
Prior to joining American Express, Sarah was an M&A and private equity lawyer at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York. She is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia University School of Law. She currently resides in New Rochelle, NY with her husband and three children.