Deon Hubner, the managing counsel ANZ for salesforce.com, provides an insight into the legal world of social and mobile cloud technologies.
How did you come to be the GC in your present role and what advice can you offer to aspiring in-house lawyers/General Counsel?
I was contacted by a senior manager in salesforce.com who knew about me from a previous in-house role. We had kept in touch with one another via linked in over the years, which demonstrates the importance of networking and relationships. The regional counsel role at salesforce.com in Sydney had recently become available and I was asked whether I would be interested.
What strongly attracted me to salesforce.com, apart from it being in Fortune 500’s Top 10 Best Places to work, the global leader in cloud computing and one of the most innovative companies in the world, is that it has integrated in its business model a true culture of philanthropy. Imagine how much better the world would be if every company gave one per cent of its people's time, one per cent of its profit and one per cent of its products and services to charity like salesforce.com does. Astonishingly, I am incentivized to devote 6 days a year to work on the charity of my choice!
The role of the General Counsel is diverse and multi-faceted. In light of the James Hardie case, where/how does your GC role fit in with the business?
If ever there were to be a conflict between my legal professional duties to my employer and my legal professional duties as an officer of the court, the latter would always take priority; however, this has never arisen during my career. I certainly expect no issues of this nature in my current role, given the integrated culture of giving back and the extremely high level of corporate governance and ethics.
In your opinion, what do you consider to be the main challenges you face in your particular industry sector in the year ahead?
The cloud computing market is growing at an exponential rate and being part of it is exciting and dynamic. Cloud computing is here to stay and its value proposition is highly compelling. Whilst many organizations, government agencies and regulators embrace it and benefit from it, at least over the next year or two there will be a need to help certain stakeholders better appreciate the extremely high levels of security, data protection and privacy that exist in our products and services.
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