Based at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, the Senior Counsel, Latin America / South Africa (LASA) will be responsible for all legal matters impacting the General Mills business in the LASA region. The individual in this role will be a key member of the LASA leadership team. As part of the International Legal Team and as the Regional lead for legal matters, the successful candidate will be a valued commercial partner to the business as well as provide legal support and advice to the General Mills LASA business groups in their commercial and business development activities.
The International Division has net sales of more than US$2.5 billion and products are sold in over 130 countries worldwide. The division is a key driver of growth for the company and has enjoyed sharp increases in overall profitability and sales in the last few years. The company has over 30 offices and 20 manufacturing facilities internationally.
General Mills’ history in Latin America goes back more than 75 years when the company first exported flour to the region. Today, the Latin America and South Africa (LASA) region accounts for nearly 20 percent of the International Division’s sales. Key brands in LASA include Häagen-Dazs, Pillsbury, Nature Valley, and Betty Crocker, as well as local favorites such as Diablitos in Venezuela and La Saltena in Argentina.
Key priorities will include, but not be limited to, the following:
• Lead a high performing legal function. Overall, this individual will continue to establish a strong reputation for the legal function across the region, such that there is greater visibility, awareness and sensitivity to the need for compliance and legal consideration. Critical aspects of the function will include:
Ø Drafting, reviewing and negotiating a wide range of commercial contracts, including licensing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and franchise agreements.
Ø Providing legal advice regarding food labeling/composition, marketing, promotions, social media and websites, as well as providing legal advice and compliance training in all commercial areas (such as contract use and interpretation, competition law, food and marketing regulation, FCPA, ethics and compliance, privacy and other customer or third party claims).
Ø Acting in a role requiring a high level of autonomy and personal responsibility, while also acting as a team player with the ability to assist colleagues in International Legal and liaise with US Law Dept. Centers of Excellence, (including Trademarks, Patents and Employment/HR). Retaining, directing, instructing and supervising external counsel and other professional advisors as required in connection with commercial, regulatory and litigation activities, and set and keep budgets.
Ø Coordinating and managing all legal proceedings brought against the company or pursuant to indemnification obligations, retain counsel, participate in settlement arrangements.
Ø Participating as a member of the International Legal Team in International Division activities, including projects aimed at streamlining processes, coordinating training and development for legal teams as well as businesses, sharing best practices, and preparing and updating template forms of agreements.
• Partner with the executive team to drive the overall business. The Senior Counsel must work closely with the LASA leadership team to contribute to improving overall business results. He/she must think broadly, beyond his/her functional area of expertise, as an integral member of the executive team. Contribution to the business will be underpinned by high levels of commercial acumen, creativity and proactive partnership.
• A good academic record, qualified to practice as a lawyer in any jurisdiction in the United States
• 10+ years’ experience in either a major law firm or as part of an in-house legal department of a multi-national company
• Experience gained from the consumer goods industry is advantageous but not essential
• Proven and extensive experience in commercial law, and excellent grounding in contract law, preferably in International, and Latin America in particular
• Working knowledge of regulatory, competition, and trade law issues preferred
• Prior knowledge of food, employment and intellectual property law not essential but must be willing to learn
• Fluency (written and verbal) in English required and in Spanish and/or Portuguese preferred
• The ability to apply business solutions to legal problems
• Demonstrated leadership skill, with experience managing a distinct function, and external legal counsel
• Creativity, flexibility and willingness to embrace change and work in multifunctional and multicultural teams
• Well organized and able to manage and prioritize changing workload and meet deadlines
• Unquestionable integrity and the ability to build trusting relationships at all levels
• Superior written communication and drafting skills. Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills
• The ideal candidate will be mobile to our regional offices around the world to further their career and progress within the company
• Ability and willingness to travel an estimated 20-35 percent of time as needed by business.
Our Brands. Your Legacy.
Great brands start with the people that make them great. One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in over 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s US$1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.