Unusual facts about Michael Critelli, once Pitney Bowes’ general counsel and later its CEO

A profile in the Fin. Times, June 13, 2007 by Alan Cane, traces the career of one-time general counsel and then chief executive of Pitney Bowes, Michael Critelli. The piece dropped four tidbits.

Critelli moved in-house for ethical reasons. After Harvard Law School, Critelli litigated in private practice until age 30. “As a lawyer, however, he found his core values too often at variance with those of his clients and in 1979 joined the legal department of Pitney Bowes.” That is a provocative statement about the relationship between external litigation counsel (a barrister in UK parlance) and their clients.

Critelli was formerly the general counsel. My first reason for citing the article is that I have been collecting the names of general counsel who are promoted to the corporate corner office (See my post of March 24, 2007: promoted general counsel with 8 references).

Critelli likes technology. Critelli, “with six patents to his name and more pending,” was notable as a chief legal officer with at least this much patent background. That particular specialty seems to produce less than its share of top lawyers.

Critelli oversaw a broad portfolio. The fourth tidbit is that eleven years after joining the department, Critelli was promoted to general counsel. He also took on responsibility (possibly later) for safety, the environment and human resources. The former are not uncommon for general counsel to manage, but to manage human resources simultaneously in a large company is unusual.

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