Kent K. Anker named Episcopal Church Chief Legal Officer
Kent K. Anker of Pleasantville, New York, has been named chief legal officer of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. The appointment was made by the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. He was jointly nominated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings.
“We are truly blessed to have Kent Anker join us as chief legal officer,” Curry said. “He brings deep and broad experience as a general counsel for a major nonprofit and prior to that, as a litigator. Beyond that he comes to us as someone committed to service, to following in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth. And, if that’s not enough, he’s also an Episcopalian.”
“I am delighted that Kent Anker has agreed to serve The Episcopal Church and its leaders by accepting this pivotal position,” Jennings said. “Kent is personable, dedicated, and a faithful Episcopalian, and I look forward to working with him. I am particularly grateful to the members of Executive Council who offered guidance and input during this collaborative and fruitful search process.”
As chief legal officer, Anker will function as general counsel and be responsible for assuring the reliable and timely provision of high-quality legal advice and services on secular legal matters to the board and officers of Executive Council and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, including the presiding bishop, the president of the House of Deputies, and the executive officer of the General Convention.
“As a lifelong Episcopalian, it is hard for me to overstate my excitement about the opportunity to serve The Episcopal Church as chief legal officer,” said Anker. “It is a wonderful gift to be able to combine my skills and faith for the greater good of The Episcopal Church.”
The position of chief legal officer was created by General Convention in 2015. Anker will supervise the work of staff lawyers, work closely with the chancellors to Presiding Bishop Curry and President Jennings, and retain outside counsel as needed.
The chief legal officer reports to, and is accountable to, the presiding bishop and will serve as a senior member of the presiding bishop’s leadership team. The chief legal officer will also report to Executive Council at each of its meetings.
Anker begins his duties on January 19, 2021.
Meet Kent K. Anker, Esq.
The child of European World War II refugees, Anker grew up in New York City, attended public schools, and was raised in The Episcopal Church. He credits his parents with fostering his willingness to fight for what he believes in and his determination to use his talents to build a better world. Anker and his family have been members of Christ Church Riverdale in the Bronx, New York for over 20 years; he previously served as a vestry member and bible study leader.
As executive vice president and general counsel of Democracy Prep Public Schools, Inc., a national not-for-profit charter management organization with 22 schools and 7000 students, Anker has directed all legal matters for the network and its schools, including managing litigation and outside counsel, corporate governance, contracts, employment, real estate, and education law. He has served as an advisor to Democracy Prep Public School’s CEO, its national and five regional boards on strategic, business, finance, legal, and policy matters.
During his time as a partner or associate at New York City law firms, Anker represented and advised clients in complex matters including commercial disputes of all kinds, global criminal investigations, and class actions in arbitration, federal, state trial, bankruptcy, and appellate courts.
He holds a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and a bachelor of arts from Wesleyan University. Anker lives in Pleasantville, New York with his wife and two children.
Nominating Advisory Committee
At the November 10, 2020 Executive Council Meeting, Executive Council approved a resolution naming Anker as chief legal officer.
According to Canon I.4.2(h): Upon joint nomination by the Chair (Presiding Bishop) and the Vice-Chair (President of the House of Deputies), the (Executive) Council shall appoint a Chief Legal Officer who shall function as general counsel and serve at the pleasure of, and report and be accountable to, the Chair.
The search that led to Anker’s hire was conducted by the international legal search firm of Major, Lindsey and Africa (MLA). Interviews were conducted by Mary Kostel, chancellor to the presiding bishop; Sally Johnson, chancellor to the president of the House of Deputies; the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, the executive officer of General Convention; Bryan Krislock, the chair of the Joint Audit Committee of Executive Council and the DFMS; Jane Cisluycis and Russell Randle, the chair and vice chair of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance & Operations; the Rev. Geoff Smith, the chief operating officer; Kurt Barnes, the chief financial officer; and the Rev. Charles Robertson, the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, and the Rev. Mark Stevenson, canons to the presiding bishop.