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CEOs Want General Counsel ‘More Strategically Involved’ in Leadership Roles

Jason Grant  | Law.com - June 3, 2020

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Many chief executives at U.S. companies want their general counsel to be “more strategically involved” in the business decisions and leadership of their companies, according to a newly released survey of more than 100 public and private corporate CEOs.

And while the trend of placing GCs in senior executive and leadership roles at corporations has been growing, especially at public companies, the majority of CEOs say they want more from the GCs, according to the survey conducted by Chief Executive Group, a media and peer networks-oriented group for CEOs, and BarkerGilmore, an executive search firm.

To that point, 70% of chief executives surveyed said an ideal GC should serve as both a strategic business partner at the company and as an important member of its leadership team, but only 55% of those CEOs said that their current GC fills those roles, according to a news release and a 14-page report about the survey.

Moreover, only 8% of the CEOs indicated that their ideal GC would act only as a legal counselor and manager of legal risk, reported Chief Executive Group and BarkerGilmore, which works with corporations to recruit legal and compliance executives.

CEOs also “shared that their General Counsel add the most value by offering risk analysis expertise and acting as their adviser,” according to a BarkerGilmore news release issued Tuesday about the survey.

“At both public and private companies, CEOs believe the top three ways General Counsel make the greatest impact to their teams are litigation/investigation management, risk management, and crisis management,” BarkerGilmore added.

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