Increasing Your In-House Law Department's Efficiency: How Your Clients Can Help You

Axel Viaene, Group General Counsel & Company Secretary, GrandVision, Netherlands

Increasing your in-house law department's efficiency. Today's businesses are operating in a challenging economic environment. It is increasingly difficult for companies to achieve their aggressive growth targets. Every function within a company is asked to do more with less. The in-house legal department is no exception to that rule. Against a backdrop of an increasing litigious world, in-house legal professionals are asked to deliver more legal work with fewer resources. In my article, I will try and show how you can increase your department's efficiency by actively involving your clients in your struggle for increased efficiency. My article will show how you can make your in-house clients your first line of defense in your risk management strategy. In-house legal teams can increase their efficiency as well as enhance their clients' satisfaction with their services by pursuing a strategy of pro-active legal client involvement. My article will provide concrete tactics to effectively train your in-house clients and increase their legal awareness.

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Netherlands Management General October 2013 Vol. 7, No. 25, Autumn 2013

Axel Viaene

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Axel is the global General Counsel and Company Secretary of GrandVision, a company with approximately 5800 optical stores and more than 25,000 employees in 44 countries, including the US and the BRIC countries. He joined the company in 2013 and is based at the company's global HQ located at Schiphol airport. The company went public on Euronext Amsterdam in February 2015. The company’s brand portfolio includes Vision Express, Pearle, Eyewish, GrandOptical, Générale d’Optique, Solaris and Apollo Optik. His brief consists of defining and implementing a risk management strategy for the company worldwide, building a stable legal, corporate and compliance platform for profitable business growth and establishing a company legal function that can partner with the business to achieve its ambitious global growth targets. He advises the Supervisory Board, Management Board, CEO and CFO on a wide array of legal issues, notably corporate governance, ethics & compliance, treasury & financing, tax, data protection, litigation, intellectual property, competition law, new market entries, acquisitions, joint ventures, franchise, e-commerce and commercial. Prior to GrandVision, Axel Viaene was EMEA Legal Director, Corporate Counsel for Starbucks from 2003 until 2013. He was based at the company’s European headquarters and roasting facility in Amsterdam. His responsibilities included providing legal counsel and training to the European Starbucks business on a broad range of issues, particularly in the areas of commercial, licensing, franchise, M&A, real estate, employment, competition, contract management, corporate governance and environmental law and works councils. Prior to joining Starbucks, Axel served from 2000 until 2003 as Benelux Legal Director for Dell Inc., based in Amsterdam, advising the Belgian and Dutch management teams and helping to set up the company’s government relations function in Brussels. Prior to Dell, Axel worked as international associate attorney at the global headquarters of The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta from 1997 until 2000. Axel has been a member of the New York Bar since 1998 and served as President of the Board of Directors of the European Chapter of ACC during the 2009-2010 term. Mr. Viaene received an LL.M. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a recipient of Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial and Fulbright scholarships, and is a graduate of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Law School in Belgium. He is fluent in English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

GrandVision

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GrandVision is a global leader in optical retail and is committed to delivering superior, high quality and affordable eye care to people around the world. With over 5.800 stores and online, GrandVision is present in 44 different countries. GrandVision delivers expert optical services, prescription glasses including frames and lenses, contact lenses and sunglasses, both plain and with prescription lenses through a portfolio of optical retail banners. The stores operate under well-known local retail banners which in some cases look back at a heritage of over 120 years. The GrandVision retail banners are often the leaders in their respective countries. Our professional, highly qualified and dedicated experts are at the heart of GrandVision.

Netherlands Management General October 2013 Vol. 7, No. 25, Autumn 2013