Legal Business

Coca-Cola Enterprises

  • Vice president, legal: Paul van Reesch.
  • Team headcount: 30 lawyers

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is in charge of the manufacturing and distribution of Coca-Cola in Great Britain, involved in operations from packaging, supply and advertising, to major consumer-focused projects such as sponsoring the London Eye.

The team has a reputation for being imaginative and progressive despite its modest size. Under the lead of vice president, legal Paul van Reesch, the team at CCE deals with 80% of legal work in-house, going externally for complex niche advice such as competition or to review work done by the team from a risk perspective. Van Reesch comments: ‘The business has won an account for two big customers and the legal team was a fundamental part of that win.’

Recent achievements include bringing in around £5m in revenue from successful litigation and over £800,000 as a result of avoiding incorrect charges levied by CCE’s corporate customers.

The agile in-house team has increased efficiencies through a number of innovative technology deals, including a sizeable deal with Novatus, under which repeat contracts, including sponsorship contracts, trading contracts and non-disclosure agreements, will be automated.

The latter half of 2015 will see the deal with Novatus extended to provide customers with an online negotiation portal, meaning trackable changes can be made securely without the need for further e-mails. All of CCE’s contracts will be loaded on to the system and be available online. 

Further innovation is seeing the team assess whether it needs to formally enter a contract or rely on commercial heads of terms and common law, particularly where suppliers do not accept CCE’s contractual terms. Van Reesch comments: ‘We are trying to redefine the way we work to make the contractual process quicker.’

The team has also launched an app to help the business better understand its legal obligations. 

CCE will apply in 2015 to become one of a small number of in-house teams to achieve a Lexcel standard. Achieving the standard means preparing a handbook stating how the team operates, complying with various Solicitors Regulation Authority requirements such as service-level agreements and auditing files.

Van Reesch adds: ‘Last year we put together a vision for the legal team. How can I expect them to work hard and deliver if I’m not giving them the best possible platform on which to succeed?’