Managing Legal, Regulatory and Business Risk: A Creative Dialogue Between CFOs and General Counsels
Discussion Leader: Christopher Santomassimo, Esq.
Panelists: William Farran | Kevin Fox | Brian J. Hart | Gunther Mertens | Steven F. Mullin
Description: CFOs are tasked everyday with managing risk in their organization – and doing more with less. Managing lawyers and the legal spend are no exceptions. Join this informative panel discussion of creative ways for in-house and outside counsel, and finance professional to buy and manage legal services cost-effectively, and manage legal and regulatory risk.
Chris is a Partner on the Business Counseling and Compliance & Corporate Governance Teams, where he brings his extensive experience, including as a current General Counsel and a Chief Compliance Officer, to assist companies with a wide range of legal and business issues. He specializes in ethics and compliance counseling; corporate investigations; complex tort, products liability and business litigation; product safety and risk management programs; employment law and litigation; and general corporate matters. He has served for several years as the General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer of Agfa Corporation, a multinational manufacturing and technology company, where he continues to be responsible for all aspects of the company’s portfolio of legal and compliance matters. Prior to joining Agfa, Chris was the first Senior Counsel & Director of Risk Management for a global consumer electronics manufacturer, where he developed the company’s first corporate compliance program and managed an extensive array of product safety programs, product recalls, ethics-and-compliance work, and litigation. Chris has created and administered ethics-and-compliance programs and all of their components “from the ground up,” and conducted related investigations. His in-house experience is preceded by a dozen years of litigation experience at top national and regional law firms, representing large and small manufacturers in products liability, toxic tort, environmental and commercial litigation.
William Farran is Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of Innophos. Mr. Farran joined Rhodia in 1987 as Environmental Counsel and held various positions in the Rhodia Legal Department, including Senior Operations Counsel and Assistant General Counsel, providing and managing a wide range of legal services to various Rhodia North American enterprises. In addition to his legal responsibilities, Mr. Farran also led the North American Total Quality Management function and served as Director, Public Affairs and Communications. Prior to joining Rhodia, Mr. Farran was Senior Counsel for UGI Corporation, Valley Forge, PA, and an associate with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Farran earned his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University. He is a member of the bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Bio Info to follow
Brian Hart has served as Chief Financial Officer of Berje Inc. since 2012. Berje, a family-owned business, has been in operation for over 65 years as a wholesale distributor of raw material ingredients, primarily Essential Oils and Aromatic Chemicals, to the Flavor and Fragrance Industry, and to Consumer Goods Manufacturers. Berje also develops and manufactures finished fragrances for a wide variety of applications. Berje sources and sells internationally, and is based in Carteret, NJ, with facilities in Chicago and Los Angeles. Berje Trakia, a subsidiary of the company, distills Rose Oil and Lavender Oil in its facility in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Prior to Berje, Mr. Hart worked with Sportcraft Ltd, serving as Chief Financial Officer for this international sporting goods company specializing in sales of family-oriented recreational sporting goods through Mass Merchandisers and Sporting Goods Chains. In his roles at Sportcraft, Mr. Hart oversaw finance and accounting, DC operations, IT, human resources and risk management.
Before joining Sportcraft, Mr. Hart served in a variety of financial roles at Mars, Inc. in both California and New Jersey. During his 15 years with Mars, his experience included strategic planning, finance, accounting and tax roles spanning the Snackfood, Petcare, and Mainmeal divisions, ultimately leading to roles as Planning and Accounting Director for the US Snackfood business and the Finance Director for the US Chocolate business.
Prior to joining Mars, Mr. Hart worked as a Senior Associate in the audit and tax practices of Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He is a licensed CPA who received his BA in Economics and Business from UCLA, and his MBA in Finance and Tax from the University of Southern California.
Gunther Mertens joined Agfa in 1999 and has been involved in a variety of financial roles there that include general financial management, mergers and acquisitions and his current responsibilities as Vice President and CFO of Agfa Graphics and Materials for North America. Prior to Agfa, he worked at Ernst & Young upon graduating university, and subsequently moved to James River Corporation and Raychem.
Steve Mullin is a bottom-line oriented business executive with a unique blend of skills and accomplishments leading successful teams in areas of finance/accounting, operations, sales, marketing and I.T. Steve has a proven track record of success serving as a pragmatic, hands-on business partner and change agent with a strong ability to drive business growth through the finance and operations functions of an organization. By leveraging a broad business acumen and more than twenty years of cross functional experience, Steve is equally comfortable and adept in creating sound business strategies as well as leading the development and execution of tactical implementation.