More than three decades before Ronald O’Hanley was named the incoming CEO of State Street in Boston, he withdrew from law school after admitting to plagiarism, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

O’Hanley withdrew from Vanderbilt Law School in 1983, during his third year at the school, after admitting to plagiarizing while editor-in-chief of the school’s law review, according to the Globe.

In an interview with the Globe, O’Hanley said he disclosed the matter to State Street, where he has worked since 2015. It’s unclear whether the matter was disclosed to his prior employers — Fidelity Investments, Bank of New York Mellon and McKinsey — which did not comment for the story.

Ronald O'Hanley, president and CEO of State Street Global Advisers
Full disclosure?
“We were aware of this matter and support [CEO in waiting] Ron [O'Hanley] unequivocally,” State Street spokeswoman Julie Kane said in a email to American Banker. Bloomberg News

“It happened 35 years ago. I was a student. I made a very big mistake. I disappointed a lot of people,” O’Hanley said in the interview.

O’Hanley, 61, is currently head of State Street’s investment management unit. He was tapped on Tuesday to succeed current CEO Jay Hooley.

O’Hanley’s official biography on the custody bank’s website includes no mention of his law school attendance. He graduated from Syracuse University and, in 1986 — three years after withdrawing from Vanderbilt — received an MBA from Harvard.

O’Hanley told the Globe that he had listed on previous resumes that he attended Vanderbilt Law School. Still, some of his previous employers' summaries of his work experience said that he had completed his law degree, the Globe story said.

While the Globe report does not provide details about the incident, it does cite a National Law Journal story from May 1983, which said O’Hanley plagiarized parts of an article on the legal principle known as double jeopardy.

“We were aware of this matter and support Ron unequivocally,” spokeswoman Julie Kane said in a emailed statement to American Banker. “His track record as a corporate leader and his achievements both at State Street and in his previous roles speak for themselves.”

O’Hanley is set to assume the role of CEO at the end of 2018.

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Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.