ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Corporate Counsel
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Moves Profile: Green on Green
MARIA GREEN was working as a real estate attorney when she was lured to Illinois Tool Works Inc. by the company's general counsel. Green started at ITW as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer. At the time, she had never done a single M&A transaction. She says thenGC JAMES WOOTEN's view was that if she could manage a real estate deal, she could do M&A work as well. That was 14 years ago. "Fortunately for both of us, I loved it and was good at it," says Green, who replaced the retiring Wooten in February.
Green has also held in-house positions with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and Continental Bank. Her law firm experience includes positions at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Hazel, Thomas, Fiske, Beckhorn & Hanes.
At ITW, Green now serves as SVP, general counsel, and secretary of a diversified company that, in her words, makes everything from carriers for soft drink and water bottles, to laminate countertops, to power tools.
Green has played a key role in the company's expansion into new markets over the years. "ITW is very acquisitive," she says. Last year the company completed 26 purchases, including those of Teknek Ltd. and Despatch Industries Inc.
Green says one of the biggest challenges the law department faces is the volume of work associated with its frequent adding of new businesses. With each acquisition, there are contracts to review and new employees to train, says Green. And for a company that earned $17.8 billion last year, ITW has a relatively small team of 20 lawyers to handle the work. "The business continues to grow," she says, "and the number of lawyers is not growing in proportion to the growth of the business."
Although it's not part of her formal title, Green will also effectively serve as ITW's chief compliance officer. That part of her job could be one of the most significant, given that almost 60 percent of company revenues are now generated outside the United States.
Green says that ITW has experienced significant growth in Brazil, China, and, to a lesser extent, India and Russia. "Especially with the growth in those jurisdictions," she says, "we have a lot of concerns."
Green has always had an affinity for business law. Even while studying economics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, she knew she'd either go on to get her law degree or her MBA. Law won out, and Green graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1977.
As ITW's GC, Green will make good use of both the legal and business tools on her belt. "I'm looking forward to the challenge," she says. "And hopefully to being a full business partner, as well as a legal adviser."