Alexandra D. Korry, 61, passed away from ovarian cancer on Sept. 29.
She was one of a kind, a tough dealmaker who became a top Sullivan & Cromwell partner leading global deals for Goldman Sachs, Ruckus Wireless, Colony Capital, Microsoft Corp. and many, many others.
In a 2019 interview, she was asked which of her deals she took most pride in. “I don’t really think of my deals as what I’m proud of. I’m proud of my children,” she said. She also disclosed that she was undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. It was important to her that she remain strong – as she always was – and also that her hard work in M&A and many pro bono efforts not be undermined by her private battle.
“I don’t want it to define me,” she said at the time. “But it's another place where I feel really strongly that women need to be unbelievably watchful.” While she became a patient of a wonderful doctor at Mount Sinai, she had gone to a number of doctors with symptoms and not one of them diagnosed the ovarian cancer.
Korry started her career in journalism, as a managing editor of the Harvard Crimson in 1979 and later working at Newsweek and the Washington Post with Bob Woodward. However, she decided being an observer in life was not really her style and enrolled in Duke Law School.
At Sullivan & Cromwell she became one of the first handful of women partners – and a trailblazer in parenting while dealmaking. She was outspoken, and completely ok with that. “You lean in, but you can get your head chopped off too,” she said. “I was born with chutzpah, maybe sometimes to my detriment. I have never failed to stand up when I think I need to.”
She chaired the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which helped end solitary confinement of juvenile inmates at Rikers Island jail and has since fought for police reform and educational equity.
She is survived by her husband Robin Panovka and daughters Sarah and Rebecca.