Marschall Smith Plows Path from 3M to ADM GC's Office
Marschall Smith is bringing seeds of change to the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company legal department. The in-house legal veteran and former Marine became general counsel at the Decatur, Illinois-based agribusiness giant on July 30.
With the move, Smith continues to plow a career path through the Midwest. He most recently held the GC post in at 3M in St. Paul, where he had worked since 2007. He previously led the law departments of boat manufacturer Brunswick Corporation; interactive marketing agency Digitas, Inc., and fertilizer producer IMC Global, Inc.
At ADM, Smith replaces former general counsel David Smith, who retired after 31 years with the company. The new GC reports to company president, chief executive, and chairman Patricia Woertz. He's had an impressive breadth of relevant experience during his 20 years as general counsel for large corporations, Woertz said in a statement. He's a strong strategist and will be an excellent advisor for our organization."
Its been a hot summer for ADM, which processes corn, exports grain, and produces ethanol. Record drought in the U.S. took a toll on cropsand on the companys share price. ADM has also been locked in litigation with sugar farmers over how it markets high-fructose corn syrup to consumers.
Smith also leaves behind an unusual legal battle at 3M. In July, the company sued its own former outside counsel, Covington & Burling, for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. The suit came after Covington was hired by the state of Minnesota as special attorney to investigate and litigate environmental claims against 3M. The company had also filed a motion to disqualify Covington from representing Minnesota in the environmental matter, asserting that there was a conflict of interest.
But intellectual property fights were more typical for Smith at 3M. Patent law is our sword, he told Super Lawyers in a 2008 interview, adding, We have more patent lawyers than we do general lawyers on staff. Protecting our intellectual property is the first priority of my job."
As for the leadership style he now brings to ADMs legal department, Smith said in that same interview that he learned a lot from a decade of service in the U.S. Marine Corps: The most important thing was, Never ask anybody to do what you can do yourself.'
Smith joined the Marines upon graduation from Princeton University in 1966. He served in combat during the Vietnam War, and earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1973. Smith completed an MBA at the University of Chicago in 1987.