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 am the Asia Pacific counsel of Concentrix Corporation, a subsidiary of Synnex Corporation (NYSE: SNX). Concentrix provides customer relationship management (CRM) services as a business process outsourcing (BPO) offering.
Concentrix has delivery centres across the world and we have 3 here in Australia and New Zealand. Synnex recently purchased the CRM BPO business from IBM. I moved across from IBM to Concentrix as part of that purchase. Being the only lawyer moving across in Asia Pacific, it was a natural fit that I take on general counsel responsibilities.
My career has been one of taking opportunities. After writing my LLM thesis on comparative constitutional law in Canada, I never thought I would have ended up working for a Silicon Valley based tech company. Coming back from studying and desperate for a job, I took what I could.
As each opportunity arose, I learned to never say "no" and opportunities arose. Some would call it luck, others would say it is always doing your best and being open to what is out there.
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?
I have learned that you are only valuable as an in-house counsel if you truly understand the business and help the business make good decisions. I am not helping my internal client if I am holding out for the perfect liability position in a contract if it puts winning the deal at risk. But I also let the business make its decisions: I am an advisor in the end.
Q3 - In your opinion, what do you consider to be the main challenges you face in your particular industry sector in the year ahead?
Concentrix has never been in Australia and New Zealand market before the purchase from IBM so our immediate challenge is to show the market that we are good at what we do and we are here to stay. For our industry, I would say that the increased awareness of privacy and treatment of personal data is of high focus. I have just taken on the global compliance lead role for Synnex/Concentrix and that is certainly at the top of my list.
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