Unilever’s Italian GC in vanguard of in-house revolution

The in-house market in the UK has undergone something of a sea-change in the past few years, with general counsel forcing through changes to control costs and efficiency much more than ever before. Take the likes of Balfour Beatty, Barclays, Citigroup and Tyco, all of which have recently looked at the structure of their panels to reduce costs.

In Europe, general counsel have to date found the going a bit tougher. But, as this week’s in-house interview with Unilever Italy’s general counsel Giulia di Tommaso shows, things are slowly changing.

Since taking over at the head of Unilever’s Italian legal team three years ago, di Tommaso has been implementing a more Anglo-Saxon way of working – using the procurement team, for example, to look more closely at hiring external advisers.

Like in-housers everywhere, di Tommaso wants her lawyers – both internal and external – to be business-focused and strategic. She is in a fortunate position to be able to work in this way, but the signs are that across the Continent, more and more companies are recognising the value of their in-house legal talent.

Bravo to that.

Lucy Burton
Senior Reporter

Also on TheLawyer.com:

  • Royal Dutch Shell has appointed Donny Ching as its new legal director following last month’s exit of Peter Rees QC
  • HSBC Holdings has hired a Cleary Gottlieb partner to lead the global litigation and regulatory affairs group following the departure of incumbent Preeta Bansal
  • And private housing developer Pocket Living has cut its legal panel from five to one, making Speechly Bircham its sole legal adviser
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