In June 2012, I became general counsel of Harsco Corp., taking on responsibility for both the legal and compliance functions. Although I was well-prepared for the position, I initially felt a bit overwhelmed. I quickly settled in and became more strategic about my new role, and the timing could not have been better, as my teams and I were immediately tasked with developing long-range plans, which were to be presented to the executive leadership team six weeks into my tenure.
These long-range plans were intended to cover a three-year period and take a critical look at the current state of each function and the path forward, discuss the strategic planning methodology, and highlight areas of strategic focus (the businesses, regional analyses, spend optimization and reduction, continuous improvement and technology). One might see this as a time-sensitive impossibility, but what I saw was an incredible opportunity to not only gain a clear understanding of the vision and strategy of the business, but also to align the strategy and forward motion of legal and compliance with that of the business.