It’s like living in an elevator.
Two recent articles in the ALM universe show the highs and lows of the GC life.
The first discusses whether the GC position could be a road to the top. Writer Katheryn Hayes Tucker quotes former executive recruiter Frederick W. Wackerle, who is not sold on the idea yet, but sees a glimmer of logic:
To be sure, Wackerle considers a law degree to be valuable, particularly when combined with an MBA. But he advises not spending a long time in a law firm or an in-house job on the way to the top. “Reporting to the CEO as general counsel for 20 years, it’s very unlikely that they would be a candidate for CEO succession,” he said, “unless they’re involved in working with strategy.”
This is the same attitude that the Wall Street Journal adopted earlier this year.
But just as the GC community starts to see more options for upward mobility, reality intrudes and reminds of the very serious nature of the position. The second article in question lists the GCs charged with civil or criminal wrongdoing. To be fair, the problems at nearly all these companies extended way beyond the GC.
Given the challenging matters dealt with by today’s GC, they get much more contact with CEOs, boards, and the investor community. Maybe that’s why boards are increasingly open to consider a lawyer for CEO.
Just as long as they pick carefully.