Anna Lozynski, general counsel of L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand, talks about why in-house lawyers should say ‘yes’ more often.
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?
Having gained significant in-house experience in challenging business environments both locally and overseas I was attracted to, and felt well equipped for, a greenfield role. After receiving a lead that L’Oréal was looking for a GC, and directly expressing my interest to the HR department, it was a surreal moment when I was called for an interview.
My advice for any aspiring in-house lawyers (or any lawyer) is to remain professionally flexible. Say “yes” more than “no”, and view each project, task or matter as a learning opportunity. Develop a genuine curiosity for the business, be alive to industry issues and build strong working relationships at all levels.
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 report directly to our CEO and also sit on the ANZ Management Committee which gives me a valuable line of sight into the business. Our CFO holds the position of company secretary. To an extent this structure minimises the risks brought into the spotlight in the James Hardie case. However, it’s certainly a fine art maintaining one’s independence and being a well-integrated trusted advisor whilst working across a gamut of issues within an extremely fast-paced business.
In your opinion, what do you consider to be the main challenges you face in your particular industry sector in the year ahead?
Greater harmonisation and trade facilitation between our local regulations and international regimes would be welcomed. Local adjustments to international standards can create a burden for business and an impediment to competition.
Also, our Salon Division has very recently taken a public stand against the unauthorised retailing of salon professional products in Australia. The aim of the media campaign is for consumers to understand that products purchased outside of our approved salon network may not comply with our brand quality and standards, and that these products could potentially contain diluted or expired formulas and may not be safe to use.
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