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ACC Hosts Inaugural General Counsel Summit

Image: The participants of ACC's 2015 global Summit for chief legal officers gather together for an evening reception and dinner at the Honorable Society of the Middle Temple. The Middle Temple building, dating back to 1573, is home to one of the four inns of Court that hold the exclusive right to call their members to the English bar as barristers.

ACC recently concluded a historic achievement in holding its first-ever global GC Summit exclusively for chief legal officers (CLOs) of multinational companies. We heard from thought leaders such as Chad Holliday, the new Chairman of Shell and former CEO of DuPont, on working with the general counsel from the CEO and board perspective. BP's general counsel, Rupert Bondy, candidly shared his own experience of leading in a time of crisis, through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the petroleum industry's largest ever disasters. In a subsequent in-depth tabletop crisis-management exercise, Mr. Bondy also guided participants through how they might respond in a similar operational crisis at their own organization.

The Summit focused on critical business issues that demand leadership by the CLO, including leading a global team, whether the CLO should also head compliance, post-merger integration and dealing with activist shareholders. As CLOs today are expected to be able to see around corners on emerging issues, the Summit also included sessions on the coming impact of climate change on all our industries, the global reach of financial services regulation and the role of the CLO in corporate social responsibility, including managing human rights and reputational issues in your global corporate supply chain. The new head of the International Corruption Unit at the UK's National Crime Agency, Jonathan Benton, gave attendees an indication of the priority areas for his investigations. 

Leading QC Cherie Blair inspired and challenged attendees with her own insights on how today's general counsel can best serve their clients in an increasingly complex practice environmental. Attendees and faculty came from over 19 countries around the world and included CLOs from many of the world's top multinational companies such as Toyota, Novartis, Shell, Total, Archer Daniels Midland, Prudential, Bank of Montreal and Staples, among many others. Participants were active in several breakout sessions designed as roundtables led by one's peers to allow benchmarking and in-depth discussions. 

Participants rated ACC's first Summit very highly, and the association has begun the process of planning for the second Summit. For more information, please contact Justin Connor at [email protected]


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The general counsel summit had a keynote speech from leading Queen's Counsel Cherie Blair who spoke on “The 21st Century Commercial Lawyer: How Can Today's General Counsel Best Serve Modern Business.” Mrs. Blair welcomed the participants, including Seye Kosoko, the general counsel for Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria, shown here.

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Summit participants enjoyed a number of highly interactive sessions, including a half-day, simulated crisis management exercise. General counsel selected from a data breach crisis, an operational crisis or an anti-bribery investigation (shown here) led by the Brunswick communications firm and strategized how they would approach such crises if they hit their own companies.

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Shell's chief legal officer Donny Ching speaks to the General Counsel Summit regarding the importance of multinational companies engagement with respect to issues of human rights and workers' rights in their global supply chains and the potential leadership role of the general counsel.



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