Sandra L. Phillips

Sandra L. Phillips

Sandra L. Phillips is a seasoned executive and public company board member with a breadth of experience strategically managing complex corporate issues, integrating business, legal and stakeholder relations to achieve successful outcomes.  Phillips is group vice president, chief legal officer, general counsel and corporate secretary for Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (“TMNA”), where she directs strategy to help Toyota navigate significant business, regulatory and legal challenges while supporting its expansion as a global mobility company, one that is an industry leader in autonomous, connected and sustainable vehicle strategies.  She also oversees Compliance & Audit Office, Product Regulatory Affairs and Social Innovation (focuses on inclusive mobility, community sustainability and workforce readiness) and is the immediate past chair of the North America Management Committee, which is responsible for setting mid- to long-term business plans and driving opportunities to increase competitiveness.  As Chief Diversity Officer reporting to the CEO, Phillips is responsible for advancing Toyota’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion through enriching work environments, team member experiences, the marketplace and our society.

Phillips provides strategic direction on legal and business issues as an advisory member of the TMNA Executive and Audit Committees and the board of directors for TMNA and other North America affiliates.  She is a member of the Risk Management and Compliance Advisory Committees that address the most significant risks facing the company.  Phillips is a member of Toyota’s Global Leadership Team (comprised of senior executives who are positioned to take global leadership roles) and has managed matters that have global implications such as high-profile cross-border transactions, start-up formation for artificial intelligence and connected technology, trade compliance, distressed suppliers, FCPA, litigation and anti-bribery.

Phillips played a key role in developing a successful, customer-forward resolution for one of the most significant legal, regulatory and business risks in the history of Toyota, building effective collaborations with key stakeholders in the business, government affairs and corporate communications.  She has extensive experience in organizational restructuring and has helped lead the company and the legal department in merging the sales and manufacturing organizations into one central headquarters in Plano, Texas.  Phillips has a keen understanding of organizational structures and people management necessary to bridge divergent points of view to move the organization forward in an effective and sustainable way.

As a global senior executive in Toyota and Pfizer and representing oil and gas and other Fortune 100 companies as a partner in top global law firms, Phillips has been involved in the most significant business and legal challenges of the last twenty years.  She has brought strategic vision and sensitivity to corporate vitality in resolving matters in a way that restores stakeholder confidence and allows the business to continue and thrive.  Phillips understands the unique challenges faced by companies operating under corporate integrity agreements, deferred prosecution agreements and government appointed monitors, employing sound compliance strategies to effectively manage these risks and develop sustainable business practices.

Phillips chairs the Law Board Committee and is a member of the Audit and Nominating and Governance Board Committees for MSA Safety Inc. (NYSE: MSA), a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructures.  She is a National Association of Corporate Directors Governance Fellow and has earned a CERT Certificate in Cybersecurity Oversight.  WomenInc. selected Phillips as one of the 2019 Most Influential Corporate Board Directors.

Phillips is involved in several non-profit boards, including United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, University of Texas Law School Foundation Trustees, and is a Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member of the University of Texas School of Law Center for Women in Law, which is devoted to the success of the entire spectrum of women in the law.  She serves on the Advisory Council for the Texas Transportation Institute, whose mission is to deliver practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the movement of people, data and goods through research, education and technology transfer. Phillips has put her experience in creating organizational efficiencies to work for her non-profit boards to lead change in governance, fundraising and strategic planning.

Phillips is a leader in her profession and industries.  She is a sought-after speaker on regulatory, risk management and crisis management topics, and in May 2017 the Burton Foundation honored her with the prestigious Legend in Law Award.  She received the 2017 General Counsel Impact Player of the Year Award from Texas Lawyer.  In October 2018, Phillips received the Outstanding Alumna Award from the University of Texas School of Law. Phillips was recently recognized for her groundbreaking work in diversity and inclusion by the Brennan Center for Justice as its 2016 Legacy Award winner, in addition to receiving the 2017 Champion of Diversity Award by D CEO Magazine.  Black Enterprise has recognized Phillips as one of its 300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America (2018) and Most Powerful Women in Business (2019 and 2017).

Phillips is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas School of Law and is an active supporter of these institutions.