Three unusual points about the general counsel of McDonalds

Career path, ethnicity, and diversity are each unusual aspects of Gloria Santona, the general counsel of McDonald’s. Santona is the subject of a profile in Corp. Bd. Mbr., Vol. 11, July/Aug. 2008 at 83, where the reader finds out more about these aspects.

Thirty-one years ago, Santona, who became general counsel in 2001, joined the legal department of McDonald’s directly from the University of Michigan Law School. That career path is notable because nearly all lawyers these days join a law department after they spend two or more years in a law firm. It as at least as notable that she has worked three decades for the same company.

As to ethnicity, all four of Santona’s grandparents were born in Spain, so she has deep Hispanic roots. More seems to be written about African-American general counsel in the United States, but that is far from the only ethnic group.

As to diversity, Santona champions it. “More than 60% of the lawyers at McDonald’s are women, including the lead attorneys in Russia and China.” The legal team has 140 lawyers across 19 countries, so that means close to 90 of them are women.

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