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Name and title: Danette Wineberg, vice president, general counsel and secretary Age: 56 Big Shoes to Fill: Timberland Co., based in Stratham, N.H., started as a family-run shoe business in 1918; the founder’s grandson runs the company today. The “Timberland” name did not appear until 1978, but the company built its fortune on the manufacture of leather boots through most of the 20th century. The product line expanded in the 1980s and ’90s to include various forms of shoes, clothing and outdoor gear. Timberland now operates nearly 200 stores around the world and has a total of 5,400 employees. The company’s total revenue in 2002 was $1.2 billion, 75% of it from shoe sales. Most of its business (two-thirds of all revenue) is in the United States, but it does have partnerships, distributors and direct-sales outlets in Europe and Asia. Timberland operates two manufacturing plants, one in Puerto Rico and one in the Dominican Republic. It also subcontracts out manufacturing in other countries. Timberland also has a strong social conscience. The company pays for every employee to spend one week of the year doing some form of community service. It has a director of global business alliance who oversees labor standards, and that person reports to Wineberg. Earlier this spring, Timberland placed No. 62 on Fortune‘s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Tying It All Together: Wineberg runs a legal department consisting of six staff attorney positions (one split between two part-timers) and seven assistants. Timberland does use outside counsel for its trademark work, but almost all contracts, labor law, intellectual property, corporate governance, Securities and Exchange Commission filings and licensing work stays in the office. Wineberg is also responsible for enforcing Timberland’s code of conduct with its vendors. Wineberg believes that keeping so much action in-house benefits the company in two ways: It makes for more diverse and interesting work for staff attorneys, and also lets the legal staff give better, more targeted advice to Timberland executives “because we’re here. We know this business.” Cracking Down on Fraud: A fact of life for global retailers is counterfeiting, and a primary task for Wineberg is to stop Timberland knockoffs from diluting its brand. One employee who answers to Wineberg is a “brand protection manager” based in London, enforcing trademark actions and sniffing around for bogus boots that might show up on street corners or back-alley stores. A paralegal in the home office exclusively works with law enforcement agencies in Asia, always a source of trouble for retailers. “If you’re a well-known brand, you can’t keep people from counterfeiting your product,” Wineberg said. In the spring, police in the Bronx, N.Y., seized a shipment of counterfeit goods that included some Timberland knockoff shoes. Wineberg worked with police to verify that the shoes were indeed fake, and then sent a Timberland sales executive to testify to a grand jury to explain how the company determines that a product is counterfeit. Outside Counsel: The main duty for outside counsel is global management of Timberland’s many trademarks. The company hired Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, a New York firm that specializes in global IP. The firm handles all of Timberland’s trademark applications, complaints and related legal activity. Timberland also uses Boston’s Ropes & Gray for securities and patent work, as well as Susman Godfrey of Houston as its firm for antitrust litigation. Practicing Good Business: Timberland in general and Wineberg in particular address three broad areas of “good” business: accounting, labor standards and community service. Wineberg is acutely aware of corporate governance issues. (After all, the infamous Tyco is a New Hampshire neighbor.) But Timberland already has strong controls in place such as a chief accounting officer, and it has no record of troubled ledgers, she said. “It’s a matter of fine-tuning for us,” she said. “It’s the tone at the top [that matters], and we have a good tone.” Through the director of global business alliance, Wineberg’s department also oversees labor standards to ensure that Timberland employees and partners overseas are not holed up in sweatshops. For example, Timberland has paid for skills and health training for Chinese workers, and it has worked with non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh to set up “microbanks” that allow workers there to deposit and save money. “Have we left factories? Yes. But our goal is to work with the factory,” Wineberg said. For community service, Wineberg and the rest of the legal department work with Odyssey House, a local program in New Hampshire for troubled teens. The staff works with students regularly in beach cleanups or other services; as a thank you, the students made a Timberland quilt that now hangs on the legal department’s wall. Path to the Top: Wineberg graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1968 and spent four years as a teacher. In 1972, she joined the Institute for Continuing Legal Education at the University of Michigan. She held a variety of editorial and managerial jobs for eight years there and worked her way through the University of Michigan Law School. She received her law degree in 1980. She then spent four years as an associate at Smith, Hirsch, Brody & Winegarten in Detroit before jumping to the corporate counsel world in 1984. She first worked two years as a staff attorney for Comshare Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich., and then, in 1986, moved to become general counsel of Highland Superstores Inc. of Plymouth, Mich. In 1993, Wineberg was named general counsel of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., the nationally known pizza delivery chain based in Detroit. In the summer of 1997, a law school classmate turned corporate headhunter called Wineberg about the GC job at Timberland. Wineberg admits that she “sorta knew who Timberland was, and sorta knew where New Hampshire was.” She and her husband visited, and Wineberg was impressed with the company’s social activism. Living in New Hampshire’s seacoast region, nestled among beaches, forests and mountains, didn’t hurt either. She accepted the job and started in October 1997. Personal: Wineberg lives in Exeter, N.H., with her husband Stephen. They have one son and two granddaughters, 2 and 7 years old. Last Book Read, Last Movie Seen: Clay’s Quilt, by Silas House; The Hours. -Matt Kelly

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