Category Archives: 2020 Gala Honorees

Tony West, Corporate Counsel of the Year

Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, Uber Technologies, Inc.

Tony West is Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary at Uber, where he leads a global team of more than 600 in the company’s Legal, Compliance and Ethics, and Security functions.

Previously, Tony was Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs of PepsiCo, a Fortune 50 corporation with net revenues of more than $63 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands like Gatorade, Tropicana, and Frito-Lay.

Tony has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Tony was twice confirmed by the Senate to serve as a senior official in the Obama administration. From 2012 to 2014, Tony was the Associate Attorney General of the United States, the US Department of Justice’s third -ranking official, where he supervised many of the department’s divisions, including the Civil Rights, Antitrust, Tax, Environment and Natural Resources, and Civil Divisions, as well as the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Community Oriented Policing Services Office. As Associate Attorney General, Tony pursued several financial institutions for their roles in precipitating the 2009 financial crisis, securing nearly $37 billion in fines and restitution for Americans who were harmed.

From 2009 to 2012, Tony was the Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division, the largest litigating division of the Justice Department. As Assistant Attorney General, Tony led the Justice Department's review of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), advocating strongly and successfully that the department abandon its long-standing defense of the statute because the law was unconstitutional.

When Tony left the Obama administration in 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder presented him with the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Department of Justice's highest honor.

Earlier in his career, Tony was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California, where he prosecuted a variety of federal crimes. He also served as Special Assistant Attorney General at the California Department of Justice and was a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco.

Tony graduated with honors from Harvard College, where he served as publisher of the Harvard Political Review, and received his law degree from Stanford Law School, where he was President of the Stanford Law Review.

Breon S. Peace: Private Practitioner of the Year

Breon Peace is a partner in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb. His practice focuses on white-collar defense, regulatory enforcement matters, and complex commercial litigation. Breon regularly conducts sensitive internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors and management of leading corporations. He represents domestic and multinational corporations and business executives in regulatory and criminal investigations involving, among other things, allegations of fraud, insider trading, money laundering, and corruption. He also advises boards of directors and audit committees on corporate governance issues and compliance programs. Breon frequently handles matters involving authorities in the United States and abroad, including the Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and various state attorneys general. In addition, he represents corporations, officers, and directors in complex commercial litigation matters.

Breon has been recognized as a leading white collar lawyer by Chambers USA, Chambers Latin America, The Legal 500 U.S., Who’s Who Legal and Super Lawyers. He was also recognized on Savoy Magazine’s 2018 List of Most Influential Black Lawyers. He is an industry leader, frequently speaking and writing on cutting-edge topics in the white-collar defense and regulatory enforcement space.

Breon’s notable experience includes representations of:

  • HSBC in investigations conducted by the DOJ, and authorities in the UK, Asia and Latin America involving allegations of manipulation and collusion in the foreign exchange market and the LIBOR benchmark reference rate;
  • BNP Paribas in federal court litigation related to the Madoff Ponzi scheme in which over $1 billion is being sought;
  • BHP Billiton, Vale and Samarco in conducting an investigation into the cause of the collapse of the Fundão tailings dam, which resulted in the largest environmental disaster in Brazil’s history;
  • Paradigm Capital Management in its resolution of the first-ever charge of whistleblower retaliation by the SEC; and
  • a senior executive in the DOJ criminal investigation concerning the FIFA bribery scandal.

He was also appointed by the Honorable Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York to serve as a Special Master in the U.S. and The Vulcan Society, Inc., et al. v. City of New York discrimination case involving the Fire Department of the City of New York.

Breon joined Cleary in 1996. After that, he was a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York. He also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for several years. In that position, he handled a wide array of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions trying cases to verdict and arguing appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From August 2002 to July 2003, Breon was an Acting Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law where he taught the Prosecution Clinic. He returned to Cleary in 2003 and was promoted to partner in 2007.

Breon is currently a member of the Firm’s Global Executive Committee, and previously served as the Hiring Partner for the Firm’s New York office and a coordinator of the U.S. Litigation group. He is deeply involved in many diversity and inclusion initiatives at the Firm.

In addition to representing and counseling corporations and individuals, Breon has a very active pro bono practice. He has represented clients in cases relating to criminal appeals, immigration rights, trafficking and civil rights issues. Breon led the team that won the dismissal of the indictment of Mr. Clifford Jones in 2016 after a lengthy court battle. Mr. Jones was wrongfully convicted of murder, rape, and robbery in 1981 and spent 30 years in prison before his exoneration. This is believed to be the first time the Manhattan DA’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) has exonerated an individual convicted of murder, and the first time that the CIU has exonerated an individual based on DNA evidence.

Breon is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Office of the Appellate Defender, the Lawyers Committee for the Innocence Project and the Criminal Justice Act Advisory Committee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In 2019, he was named a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Law.

Breon received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review, in 1996, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993.

Zachary W. Carter, Public Servant of the Year

Zachary W. Carter served as the 78th Corporation Counsel of the City of New York from January 2014 through August 2019. As the chief legal officer of the City, he led the Law Department, which employs over 1,000 lawyers assigned across sixteen operating divisions to serve the multi-varied legal needs of the City, as well as its agencies, officers and employees. Mr. Carter advised the Mayor and City commissioners on all legal issues affecting City policies and operations.

Prior to his appointment as Corporation Counsel, Mr. Carter was a partner in the firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP. He served as head of the Trial Group at the firm’s New York City Office and co-chair of the firm’s White Collar Crime and Civil Fraud practice.

Mr. Carter served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1993 to 1999 having been appointed by President Bill Clinton. His office prosecuted the full range of federal criminal cases, including official corruption, securities fraud, major narcotics, organized crime, civil rights and human trafficking. During his tenure, he oversaw the high-profile civil rights prosecutions against the police officers who tortured a Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, in 1997, and the individuals charged with the bias motivated killing of a rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, during the Crown Heights riots in the summer of 1991.

Mr. Carter has served on the bench, both as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York and as a United States Magistrate judge for the Eastern District of New York.

He began his legal career as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, ultimately serving as a deputy chief of the Criminal Division. Thereafter, he joined the law firm of Patterson Belknap as a senior litigation associate. Mr. Carter next accepted appointment as an Executive Assistant District Attorney in the office of the Kings County District Attorney.

Mr. Carter has served on the board of directors of Marsh & McClellan Companies, where he was chair of its Compliance Committee and a member of its Audit and Special Litigation Committees. He has also served on the board of Cablevision where he co-chaired its Special Litigation Committee.

Non-profit board service has included the boards of the Brennan Center, the Vera Institute of Justice and the New York University School of Law.

Mr. Carter is a graduate of Cornell University and the New York University School of Law.