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My Take: Lead On

In his final ACC Board Chair message for ACC Docket, Iohann Le Frapper reflects on what ACC has accomplished in the past year and how it will continue to grow under new leadership.

I believe that the best leaders do so by example. Throughout my career and participation as an ACC member, I have had the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from many great leaders with diverse cultural backgrounds. I am consistently impressed and inspired by my fellow ACC board members, as well as the dedicated staff that make up this association. It's because of this dedication to serving the needs of in-house members — which includes listening to and acting on your suggestions — that ACC has been able to make such significant strides this year. I'm proud of the accomplishments we have made during my time as chair, which include:

Global membership growth

Today, ACC represents almost 45,000 members, employed by over 10,000 organizations, in 85 countries. As chair, I focused on expanding global membership and services, and championed the formation and integration of new chapters. ACC Australia continues to grow at a noteworthy pace while delivering high-quality services and annually presenting a best-in-class national conference. And, we welcomed the first new US chapter in many years — ACC Oklahoma. The big news, however, was our alliance with the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association (HKCCA), which commenced in September and resulted in the infusion of about 800 members.

While there's been noticeable membership growth across most regions, I'm especially enthused by our growing presence in the EMEA region, which has seen double-digit percentage growth by ACC Israel, the election of a dynamic new board of directors by ACC Middle East, and new relationships forged across the region. In addition, this year marked record-setting attendance for educational events like the ACC Europe Annual Conference in Cascais, Portugal and the ACC Global GC Summit in Paris, which drew top GCs from multinational companies who traveled from 20 countries to participate.

Important alliances

In addition to ACC's new alliance with HKCCA, another significant partnership agreement was closed with the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department through which ACC has been tapped to create a first-of-its-kind certification program for in-house lawyers working in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This Dubai-based certification program will be designed to raise professional standards for in-house counsel both in the GCC nations and beyond, culminating in participants being awarded a respected global credential.

Along with members of ACC's executive staff, I had the opportunity to build relationships with leaders and members of several other corporate counsel associations from the United Kingdom, India, China, France, Germany, South Korea, Morocco, South Africa, and more — to discuss a variety of ways to work collaboratively in the advancement of in-house interests. We've laid some wonderful groundwork in Africa and India — especially building relationships with organizations like the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa (CCASA) and the Corporate Counsel Association of India (CCAI). We hosted educational programmes in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru, as well as in Paris.

Extending membership to lawyers of state-owned enterprises

Another area of growth that I chose to focus on as chair was confirming the eligibility of government lawyers and those working for state-owned enterprises (SOE) whose roles are very similar to their private-sector peers, provided their organizations and individual responsibilities do not include regulatory, enforcement, or policymaking (REP) responsibilities. As we continue to grow the ACC network, we are committed to exploring various opportunities for membership. Therefore, the ACC board unanimously approved the extension of membership eligibility to in-house government and SOE lawyers who do not have REP responsibilities.

International advocacy

ACC continuously fights on behalf of the global in-house bar. We've done much in this area, but a few highlights include:
  • ACC offered comments in response to the European Commission's public consultation on whistleblower protection;
  • Along with the Law Society of England and Wales, ACC agreed to work to intervene in the UK case of SFO v. ENRC, which has broad implications for corporate attorney-client privilege/LPP in the country;
  • ACC presented our first advocacy-based event in Zurich on legal professional privilege for Swiss in-house counsel, featuring Swiss Parliamentarian Christa Markwalder; and,
  • Following ACC's ongoing efforts, EU Parliament Member Heinz Becker announced plans to propose the topic of legal professional privilege for in-house counsel as a subject for a committee hearing in 2018.
Introducing the privilege discussion in the European Parliament is a key part of ACC's strategy in Europe, and I couldn't be more excited about this development, as well as all the ongoing advocacy efforts the association has undertaken. Another multi-faceted, global advocacy effort that ACC is newly launching is our "Seat at the Table" initiative. As I've outlined in this message and in others, general counsel must have a seat at the executive and board tables in order to set the appropriate "tone from the top," reflecting a company culture that values compliance and ethical behavior. While several of us report to the CEO and regularly attend meetings of the board of directors, many of us do not. Through this initiative, ACC will strive to change that by speaking "truth to power" and prompting discussions that are designed to solidify the credibility of the general counsel as a true partner to the business and key voice in the C-suite.

Conclusion

ACC is dedicated to helping in-house lawyers develop the leading practices we need to support our organizations. Expanding ACC's global network, resources, groundbreaking initiatives, and strategic alliances wouldn't be possible without strong leadership. It has been an honor serving alongside a first-rate board of directors that is full of leaders who are dedicated to making a difference, as well as a great executive team led by Veta T. Richardson. As my time as ACC board chair comes to an end, I extend a warm congratulations to our incoming ACC Board Chair Bill Mordan, general counsel and company secretary of Shire PLC. Bill's years of international experience and dedication to the in-house practice of law make him a perfect fit for this role. I am confident in his ability to spur new ideas and further the mission of ACC. Lead on!

About the Author

Iohann Le FrapperIohann Le Frapper is the group general counsel of Pierre Fabre, a French global pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetics company, as well as chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel and vice-chair of the corporate responsibility & anti-corruption international commission of the International Chamber of Commerce.


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