Among her many claims to fame, Gloria Santona, the general counsel of McDonald’s, sits on the board of directors of Aon Corporation, a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage and human capital and management consulting. Not only is Santona a board member, she serves on its Audit and Governance Committees and is chair of its Compliance Committee. All this is reported in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, March 2009 at 98.
I am not sure what position to take regarding such dual roles. Santona is not only the general counsel of a major company (with approximately 150 lawyers in 20 countries) but she also leads its compliance, regulatory and corporate governance functions. To serve also as an active member of a another global company’s board of directors seems to demand much energy and time. Yet I know at least two other general counsel who are also on the board of another company.
The experience of dealing with strategy and board-level issues strengthens the managerial acumen of the top lawyer, which is to the good. The additional demands of time and pressure are the drawbacks, which is to the detriment of such an arrangement.