From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team

From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team

Sabine Chalmers was concerned about coming back to the UK. Absent for more than two decades, most recently in the US as chief legal and corporate affairs officer at drinks giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, she had built a reputation as one of the leading lights of the general counsel (GC) community. But when she first left the UK, the GC role lacked stature, particularly in contrast to the US. ‘I was concerned about how a UK role would compare to the experience I’d had in the US.’

But she did return in 2018, to one of the most senior legal roles in the UK – BT group GC. ‘It’s been encouraging and interesting because the role of the GC has grown. They sit at the top table and report to the chief executive, they have the compliance and company secretary hats: that’s great for the function.’ Continue reading “From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team”

The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs

The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs

In-house legal teams have become more sophisticated over the last 20 years but, according to many general counsel (GCs), the pressure to widen their skillsets over the next decade is intense.

For Pearson GC Bjarne Tellmann, the roundedness of the modern in-house lawyer starts with the training they receive, but he laments a hole in the market. He sends his trainees to receive mini-MBAs or ‘executive MBA-style training’ from a range of institutions, including Deloitte University. Oxford and Harvard also provide mini-MBAs. Continue reading “The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs”

Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber

Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber

‘I wrote my own resignation letter twice in the first six months,’ Matt Wilson, Uber’s associate general counsel (GC) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says. ‘I didn’t hand it in either time, but it was close.’

A frank, but not surprising, admission. Wilson has, in the view of one peer, had one of the most difficult jobs in the GC community since he became the ridesharing company’s first domestic UK lawyer back in 2015. Continue reading “Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber”

The GC (re)defined: Beyond the cookie cutter

The GC (re)defined: Beyond the cookie cutter

What is it like to work as a lawyer in a fast-paced, risk-laden, tech-driven ‘disruptive’ company? How do general counsel (GCs) find the right level of resource in a company where legal is viewed as anathema to impatient entrepreneurs? When is a lawyer not a lawyer?

These are the questions we put to senior in-house figures we gathered from a broad range of early-stage or fast-moving, disruptive companies in our round table with Morrison & Foerster. Continue reading “The GC (re)defined: Beyond the cookie cutter”

Royal Mail GC de Bie posts resignation to take on new role at easyJet

Royal Mail GC de Bie posts resignation to take on new role at easyJet

Highly rated Royal Mail general counsel Maaike de Bie has resigned to become legal chief at FTSE 100 airline easyJet next year.

De Bie (pictured), who is expected to join up with easyJet in 2019, brings to an end a five-year tenure at Royal Mail. She joined in January 2014 as deputy GC and subsequently oversaw a legal panel review in November of the same year. Prior to Royal Mail, White & Case-trained de Bie had spells in-house at both GE and Big Four firm EY. Continue reading “Royal Mail GC de Bie posts resignation to take on new role at easyJet”

In-house: Worldpay GC de Soyza to move on next year

In-house: Worldpay GC de Soyza to move on next year

After leading Worldpay into a transatlantic £22.2bn merger with Vantiv last year, general counsel (GC) Ruwan (Roo) de Soyza will be leaving the global payment processing company in 2019.

De Soyza (pictured) is expected to leave midway through next year to take up a GC and executive committee role at a FTSE 100 technology company. Continue reading “In-house: Worldpay GC de Soyza to move on next year”