Here are some of my candidates, in alphabetical order. I welcome other nominations of general counsel of this stature who deserve extraordinary recognition for their managerial contributions.
Bob Banks, one-time GC of Xerox and a founding father of what is now the ACC
Mark Chandler, Cisco’s outspoken and innovative GC, in part for his rousing speech at Northwestern a few years back
Jeffrey Carr, an influencer and advocate in many areas, especially outside counsel
Ben Heinemann, GE’s pathbreaking GC for many years, especially in talent spotting and development
Rod Palmore, GC of Sara Lee, for his ceaseless efforts on diversity
Tom Sager, before he became the current GC of DuPont and even now the leader and proponent of so many management initiatives
Waiting for induction would be potential Hall of Famers Brad Smith of Microsoft, Amy Schulman of Pfizer, Michelle Coleman Mayes of Allstate, and Sabine Chalmers of Anheuser-Busch InBev. Paul Lippe, erstwhile GC, would probably be on the list as might Mark Harding of Barclays.
These general counsel pounded the speaking and writing circuit; other general counsel may be as innovative and worthy but they are less well known to the industry.