Legal Business

Reckitt Benckiser

  • Senior vice president and group general counsel: Bill Mordan.
  • Team headcount: 70 lawyers.

The innovative approach of the legal team at multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (RB) to dealings with its internal clients and external counsel is well known among peers.

The group legal function, which comprises the corporate team, global trade marks and global patents is located in the UK, but the majority of the lawyers sit in offices across 20 different locations around the world.

Led by senior vice president and group GC Bill Mordan, the group has pioneered a sophisticated contract management system called I-Legal, which enables the client to create their own contracts – anything from non-disclosure agreements to supply agreements. The tool is even tied into the company’s compliance function.

‘There are only a few companies that have fully automated systems and I only know of one company – that’s ours – that is tying it into the compliance function. I am the chief compliance officer as well as the GC, so I have to be responsible for both.’

However, Mordan is careful to ensure that the advent of this new technology does not diminish the technical polish of the legal function, rather it frees up the team to allow them to work on more exciting and challenging things.

In 2014 this included the acquisition of the global rights to the K-Y brand from Johnson & Johnson; discussions with rival pharmaceutical company Merck & Co regarding an offer for the brand’s consumer health business; and the demerger of RB pharmaceuticals, subsequently rebranded Indivior and floated on the London Stock Exchange in December.

In early 2015, Mordan confirmed that he was making plans to carry out a UK legal panel review and formalise the company’s current panel arrangement.