French energy management company Schneider Electric has been on a buying spree lately, most recently with its £3.4bn acquisition of Invensys, completed in 2014. These deals have seen the number of lawyers at the company rise to nearly 300, leading Peter Wexler, Schneider’s US-based group general counsel, to reflect on what it means to lead and train a legal function.
‘One of the key things about leadership is how you develop your talent,’ says Wexler. ‘I want to be around good people and smart people, so I personally interview most if not all who join this department. I tell them this: “If you make a decision and it’s wrong we’ll fix it, and if it’s well-reasoned and in the best interests of the company then I will support you even if it ends up being a catastrophe because I don’t want you to be afraid of making decisions.”‘