Barbara Judge, a high-flying American-British lawyer, banker and entrepreneur who broke the glass ceiling of male dominance at regulatory agencies and other influential institutions in Washington, Hong Kong and London, died on Monday at her home in London. She was 73.
Her personal assistant, Susan Cavanagh, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.
As the youngest person — and only the second woman — to become a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, appointed in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and later as the first female chair of Britain’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ms. Judge built a curriculum vitae studded with precedent-setting appointments and reflecting her oft-voiced belief that success grew from long hours, close attention to detail and hard work.
In her public life she championed the advancement of women in business, and she set her own example: She was, at various times, the first female executive director at a British merchant bank and the head of London’s clubby Institute of Directors.
Such was the breadth of her interests that she was sometimes criticized by adversaries for assuming too many roles — notably when she served as a board member responsible for safety and other issues at Massey Energy, a United States coal concern, at the time of a disaster that killed 29 miners in 2010. An official report did not criticize her directly.
She courted controversy with remarks about the duration of maternity leave and other issues. But, she told the Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society, she worked hard “every single day, and every single night, and mostly every single weekend.”
“It was,” she said, “a time you really had to do better if you were a woman.”
Ms. Judge — who took the title Lady Judge, as protocol permitted, after her marriage in 2002 to Sir Paul Judge — also drew some criticism from groups advocating a greater role for women in business when she gave a speech in 2016 in which she said she opposed long maternity leaves because such “breaks are bad for women.”
Nonetheless, she later took nine months off work to help her son meet the challenges of dyslexia by nurturing his education. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Judge was also known for her roles in higher education and the arts. She was associated with an array of business schools in Britain and the United States, including the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She sponsored a scholarship for Black South African women at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London and had been a trustee of artistic bodies like the Wallace Collection and the Royal Academy of Arts. British media outlets labeled her “the best-connected woman in Britain.”