The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader

The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader

Climate change and sustainability dominated news headlines in 2019. Extinction Rebellion protests, Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg leading climate strikes around the world, while the President of the US has labelled it all a ‘hoax’. Investors are, in turn, increasingly putting pressure on the world’s largest companies to respond. It has become an enormous area of risk management for every business sector.

And responsibility for managing and assessing that risk has increasingly fallen upon the general counsel (GC). Andrea Harris, group chief counsel at the world’s largest marketing and public relations company, WPP, in recent years took on the head of group sustainability role, as has Heathrow Airport GC Carol Hui. Lawyers at Specsavers sit on that company’s sustainability group to help shape policy, while the GC at FTSE 100 energy giant Centrica, Justine Campbell, identifies the area as one of the biggest challenges she faces. Continue reading “The In-House Survey: Blurred lines – the GC as business leader”

The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers

The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers

Hamish McNicol, Legal Business: How do you build your identity and culture as a legal team? And how do you then communicate your teams’ qualities to the wider business?

Findlay Anderson, Baker Hughes Oilfield Equipment: The culture of the legal team comes from two different sources. One is the general counsel setting the rhythm for how they want their team to operate with the business. A lot of that comes down to the personality of the GC. The other factor is how the business sees its legal team: are they a hired function that sits in a corner and you call on them when you need them, or do you put them right in the middle of the decision-making of the company? Continue reading “The Scots GC debate: Force multipliers”

From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way

From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way

Of the two telecoms operators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), du – officially Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company – is the youngest. A publicly listed company, du has a market capitalisation of $7.5bn, revenues of $3.4bn, over 2,000 employees and a customer base of nine million. In addition to the usual telecoms fare – both B2B and B2C communications services and broadcasting – it also offers a suite of peripheral services and technologies that encompass blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the broad array of digital services required to meet the UAE’s smart city ambitions.

Anneliese Reinhold is general counsel and senior vice president of legal and regulatory affairs at du and, having been with the company since the beginning, has seen it grow into the emerging giant of today. Continue reading “From start-up to established: du-ing it the right way”

GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor

GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor

For many lawyers, much of the draw to move in-house is the opportunity to play a more direct role in the business. It is also the chance to develop their commercial acumen beyond the level that private practice allows. The skillset this is cultivating within the in-house team is undoubtedly making the general counsel (GC) a better adviser and has the happy side effect of preparing lawyers for senior business roles.

Barclays’ Amol Prabhu is a prominent recent example of a senior lawyer making the transition, but one that still happens all too rarely in the UK. Belonging to an exclusive but slowly growing band of business people who transitioned from in-house counsel to the C-suite, Prabhu has spent 15 years at Barclays, working in Dubai, Hong Kong, London and now Johannesburg. He was most recently the head of emerging markets legal for EMEA, before accepting the role of Barclays co-head for Africa and chief representative officer: South Africa. Continue reading “GC to C-suite – How one veteran lawyer crossed the floor”

Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America

Rachel Gonzalez, general counsel, Starbucks

Starbucks has a fundamental business tenet that we are creating a welcoming place for all people, and that means inclusion and diversity is critical to our success. We provide inclusion training and tools to managers to ensure we are preparing all leaders to foster a diverse culture based on merit. Continue reading “Different strokes – Three perspectives in championing diversity in corporate America”

The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group

The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group

‘One reason I’m doing this interview is so I can send it to my parents. They’re really important to me. Ah, suddenly, the hard-woman persona crumbles,’ jokes Heather Mitchell, global general counsel (GC) for investments and head of EMEA at The Carlyle Group.

Mitchell’s 17-year career at the US private equity giant has seen her consistently ranked among the most influential in-house lawyers. However, she says what makes her father the most proud is her sitting on the advisory board of Cornell Law School, where she studied, because ‘as a teacher, he can relate most to that’. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Heather Mitchell, The Carlyle Group”

Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

The crisis engulfing high-street retailers is showing few signs of abating. May saw the public collapse of almost the entirety of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant eateries, and in June, retail tycoon Philip Green’s Arcadia empire narrowly avoided bankruptcy with a rescue deal severing some 50 clothing stores.

According to data from Deloitte, 125 retailers went into administration last year compared to 118 in 2017, including 26 large companies. Continue reading “Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street”

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

2018 was a good year for Indian entrepreneurs. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem saw its base expand by 12-15% and investor funding grow by 108% year-on-year, as well as a rise in late-stage funding, according to a 2018 report by industry association NASSCOM and consultants Zinnov. This boom was last year enough to hand unicorn status – valuations on young tech companies of more than $1bn – to more than eight Indian companies.

But just a few years ago, things were not quite so rosy. Despite the success of e-commerce wunderkind Flipkart (sold last year to Walmart for $16bn) and its ilk, investment plummeted from $1.42bn to $583m between Q1 and Q2 2016 (according to CB Insights, October 2016) and businesses started to go under. Continue reading “Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow”

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

As the world’s second most populous country, India accounts for 17.5% of the world’s population. And it is rapidly catching up with the number one, China. On an annual basis, India’s population growth rate of 1.2% is more than double that of its Asian neighbour.

But while population growth is largely seen as a means of economic development, it comes with costs. The burden on cities and infrastructure of a rapidly-growing population must be addressed if the country is to reach its full potential. The need is such that the infrastructure question was a cornerstone of this year’s election. The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by returning Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pledged $1.44trn towards infrastructure – a stark contrast to its main opponent, the Congress Party, which instead focused on alleviating poverty and job creation. Continue reading “Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale”