The General Counsel Benchmarking Report for 2009 of the German strategy consultants Otto Henning & Co. comes in a very impressive book, though entirely in German. The participants in the study were 56 departments, all from the Fortune 150 of Germany. Among their responses, they provided data on their reporting lines (at 50-51).
The law department (Rechtsabteilung) reported half the time to the CEO, 19 pecent of the time to the Chief Financial Officer, 4 percent to the COO, 6 percent to HR’s head (Personalchef), 4 percent to the Chief Risk Officer, and 17 percent elsewhere. Since 2005, the year the biennial survey began, CEO reporting has increased significantly, with CFO and HR lines decreasing correspondingly.
Still, as compared to US general counsel, far fewer German general counsel report to the top executive of the company. Over here, CEO reporting reaches 80 percent or higher. It is also notable that nearly one out of five heads of legal in Germany, in very large companies to boot, report to someone other than the C-suiters mentioned above. Marketing, R&D, and even heads of business segments might account for that “other” category (Sonstige).