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General Corporate Counsel at Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks company, a business built on the principles and foundations laid by the giants of our industry.

Job Description :

General Corporate Counsel, EABL

Reports To: Legal Director, East African Breweries Limited (EABL)

Business Context

  • EABL is the leading drinks company in Kenya and East Africa with an outstanding collection of brands that range from the flagship Tusker Lager™ to several other beer and adult non-alcoholic drinks reaffirming our standing as a total adult beverage (TAB) company.
  • The KBL brewery in Ruaraka, Nairobi is also home to UDV (Kenya) Limited (UDV) which operates a spirit’s distillery that manufactures, exports and imports a range of high-quality spirits.
  • KBL and UDV are both affiliates of East African Breweries Limited which is part of Diageo Plc.
  • Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s & Windsor Whiskies, Smirnoff, Ciroc & Ketel One Vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness™.

Specific Accountabilities

This role is a senior management role within East Africa.  The role is generalist in nature charged with facilitating general counselling and legal support to the total EABL business and its subsidiaries.

Working in a highly regulated, celebrated and sometimes polarizing industry, the role holder needs to be proactive as well as reactive to various internal and external challenges in order to detect new threats and ensure efficient and proactive control of the legal environment.

The role holder will be expected to shape and implement strategy in the following areas: –

  • Take leadership and management accountability for the EABL Brand Protection, Legal Operations, and Information Management & Data departments.
  • Partner with the Legal Directors in Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania to implement Brand Protection, Legal Operations, Information Management & Data across the markets.
  • Act as the principal EABL Group Legal Business Partner for all EABL Group functions.
  • Lead the EABL Legal Function compliance, controls and the corporate governance agenda across the EABL Group.
  • Lead EABL Group reporting and filing obligations across the markets working in conjunction with the EABL Legal team and other internal and external stakeholders; This includes ensuring that the EABL Group has relevant licenses and permits and the role holder shall have a thorough understanding of the Group’s policies and procedures of corporate governance.
  • Coordinate delivery of legal services and the legal service centre across EABL Spearhead innovations, continuous improvement, and creativity for the entire legal business in the function by implementing an efficient legal operations model across EABL.
  • Ensure that the Legal Function is effective in all its operations and engagements with key stakeholders and drive productivity across the function and its service providers.
  • Act as a senior member of the Legal Leadership team and take accountability for functional results in all areas of operation.

Industry & Practice Skills

The job holder shall provide in-house legal support primarily to EABL and all its subsidiaries and any other legal services as and when directed, in the areas below: –

  • Counselling on Alcohol Science and the role of alcohol in society Litigation, Disputes & Risk Management – including product liability litigation issues.
  • Management of Tax issues within the general business ranging from excise tax and other tax drivers to ensure that the business is tax efficient and compliant.
  • Management of Trade and Distribution issues
  • Counselling on all matters relating to Marketing and Innovations
  • Regulatory Management and counselling – including innovation
  • Advocacy and engagement internally and externally; This includes management of external affairs and engagement with key business stakeholders in conjunction with Corporate Relations
  • Understand and manage Competition law issues across the business
  • Intellectual Property Management & Brand Protection – a critical awareness and understanding of how to manage anti-illicit trade matters across the business.
  • Industrial relations, employment and labour laws and HR counselling – including conflict management.
  • Management of Corporate Governance, Statutory Compliance, Licensing and Internal Control issues.
  • Maintain and enforce ethical and business integrity standards and policies including conducting complex investigations and anti-fraud management.
  • Total Business partner support to the EABL Business Management of External Counsel and other Service Providers to execute the business strategy.
  • A working knowledge of Company law, listing rules and public company management principles.
  • Advice and support to the Total Legal function which includes Brand Protection, Corporate Security, Records Management and Legal Counsel.
  • Delivery of the Business strategy and supporting the EABL Group and Diageo legal and business strategies.
  • Any other roles and responsibilities to be performed as determined by the Legal Director.

Operational/Business Accountabilities:

  • Provide effective management of legal risk to drive sustainable growth.
  • Provide professional service-delivery and assistance to management across business functions.
  • Monitor and advise the business on statutory compliance, regulatory and legislative issues in Kenya.
  • Maintain visibility and awareness on all litigations and disputes affecting EABL and elsewhere.

Management Accountabilities

  • Participate and contribute to cross functional projects and initiatives to minimize legal risks and ensure achievement of the business objectives.
  • Ensure an improved control environment in the EABL business.
  • Ensure the optimization of monetary and support resource use in the business.
  • Conflict Navigation and dispute resolution across the business
  • Effective cost and Budget management based on a good knowledge of business finance issues.

Leadership Responsibilities

  • The role holder will be a key member of the EABL Legal Leadership Team, represent Legal in cross functional meetings and will closely interface with the EABL and its subsidiaries and Diageo legal teams.
  • The role will provide leadership to the brand protection, legal operations and information management & data security teams.
  • Drive, embed, support, implement and achieve the strategic plans and objectives of the Legal Function in line with the business strategy as determined by the Legal Director.
  • Identify new initiatives and proposals, aligned with the Legal function’s strategic plan and the Company’s strategy and values to ensure legal operates at the heart of the business, as both effective risk managers and business partners.
  • Continuously develop technical and managerial skills and acting as a leader and role model in the business.

Relationships

  • Communicate effectively in order to solve problems and offer solutions across the Business.
  • Regular communication, sharing of knowledge and learnings are expected between the team members to ensure cohesion and collaboration within the Diageo Legal team.
  • Build and maintain good relationships with experts in the legal field, and the private sector.
  • Build strategic relationships with key stakeholders and partners to drive key business and legal results including relevant Regulators, Government & County agencies, Business Organizations, external lawyers, service providers.

Innovation

  • Enable the business to achieve its business objectives in a legally compliant way while unlocking commercial opportunity through good practice.
  • Preserve value (financial and reputational) by minimizing the risk of value leakage and litigation and maintaining compliance with laws and policies.
  • Continually seek ways to optimize and improve systems and work processes to drive efficiency and reduce costs including use of technology
  • Ensure that the business receives high quality support to achieve set objectives.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience Required:

  • Formal legal qualifications and training.
  • Strong commercial law and litigation background.
  • A good working knowledge of the following legal areas – contracts, product liability, IP, employment, antitrust, litigation, marketing, sales and distribution, supply chain, mergers and acquisition and general counselling.
  • A track record of effectively and proactively managing external lawyers generally and in relation to a large outsourced litigation caseload.
  • Good experience in negotiating and drafting commercial arrangements like contracts (e.g. procurement and marketing) and other business ventures.
  • Proactive, open and outward looking attitude.
  • Strong inter-personal/communication skills.
  • Ability to work confidently and stand ground with more senior managers.
  • Strong commercial and pragmatic approach.
  • Ability to work with line manager and others as a team.
  • At least 10 years post qualification experience as a lawyer.

Barriers to Success in Role

  • Inability to constantly reprioritize and manage expectations from a large and demanding business.
  • Inability to contribute towards and work within a team.
  • Inability proactively to manage a large litigation caseload.
  • Unwillingness to take and maintain strong positions with senior commercial management.
  • Poor and negative attitude.

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