Darryl R. Marsch has served as senior vice president and general counsel for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts since September 2008 and as corporate secretary since January 2011. Marsch joined Krispy Kreme in May 2007 as vice president and associate general counsel. Prior to that, he was senior counsel for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from November 1998 to May 2007. From September 1991 to October 1998, Marsch was an associate at Jones Day in Washington, D.C.
Born in New Braunfels, Texas, Marsch is a 1991 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, and he earned his undergraduate degree in 1987 from the University of Texas where he was Phi Beta Kappa.
Marsch has served on the board of directors of the Autism Society of North Carolina since 2007. He served on the board of directors of the Arts Based Elementary School, a charter school in Winston-Salem, N.C., from 2003 to 2007.
He lives in Winston-Salem with his wife and son. He is a big fan of Bobby Flay and cooking. In 2009, he had two recipes in the top 10 of a Bobby Flay cooking contest on Food Network.com: a grilled sockeye salmon with a blackberry merlot lacquer with grilled asparagus and a morel-chardonnay vinaigrette, and chipotle spiced pear and white wine mussels.
Lately, he is obsessed with P90X, an extreme fitness training program, and he's a Formula 1 fan who cheers for Team McLaren Mercedes.
Daily Report: Describe your department and your role in it.
Darryl Marsch: I am the general counsel and secretary as well as a senior vice president. I serve on the senior management team and report to the CEO. We have three attorneys in our department, a legal assistant and an administrative support person. We all do a little bit of everything, but the other two attorneys try to concentrate more in real estate and employment law.
DR: Your department is relatively small in a company with complex matters, particularly on franchise matters. How do you cope?
DM: Being a small department means that we get our hands dirty. We all know the different matters that we have worked on and benefit from helping each other by sharing experience. We also have excellent outside counsel with whom we build long-lasting relationships. I think that is a key to our success as a department.
Our counsel is vested in our company's success and understands our business from a historical, strategic and personal perspective. They know that they are not one reverse auction away from losing us as a client.
I think that kind of attorney-client relationshipone where the client is just another vendoris very short-sighted and unhealthy. Unfortunately, it seems to be the view that consultants and corporate counsel associations advocate. We think that we get much better value from our attorneys by having long-term relationships built on mutual trust.
DR: Do you use outside counsel? If so, who, and for what areas?
DM: We use outside counsel in most areas. Corporate and securitiesWomble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and Sullivan & Cromwell; litigation and IPKilpatrick Townsend & Stockton; international tradePaul Hastings; franchiseGray Plant & Moody. We use other lawyers for various other things, too.
One thing that we have done is focused on building relationships with women and minority-owned law firms. We have found some great lawyers that have gotten us great outcomes that way. These are lawyers that often don't get the chance (for historic reasons) to work with larger companies. Working with the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms, NAMWOLF, we have found excellent counsel, like Rutherford & Christie in Atlanta.
DR: What are your pet peeves in dealing with outside counsel?
DM: I like lawyers to tell me what they really think. Too often lawyers are unwilling to give their best estimate of what they think will happen. Almost no situations are 50/50 odds, but lawyers always give that as an answer because they are uncomfortable with staking out a position. Give me your best advice, the odds and a recommendation, I say. Stake out your position in no uncertain terms. Who wants a lawyer if you can never tell what his position is?
DR: What was your biggest challenge going to the client side?
DM: I worked in-house at R.J. Reynolds for eight years prior to coming to Krispy Kreme. The transition from outside to in-house counsel was, I think, a pretty simply one. I have always had the approach and attitude of an outside lawyer, giving straight-up legal advice uncolored by how it might be received by the client.
And I think of my company as the client, which, at the end of the day, it is. I take care to separate my legal advice from my business judgment.
Forcing business views on a client by dressing them up in legal guise is not appropriate, and ultimately undermines the credibility of the legal advice. Being deeply involved in the businessthat means understanding how products are made, marketed and accounted forand providing input on business strategy are immensely rewarding, and I have found that clients welcome my involvement.