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Name and title: Paul S. Williams, executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary Age: 44 Health equals wealth: Cardinal Health Inc., based in Dublin, Ohio, is No. 19 on the Fortune 500 list, with 2003 sales exceeding $50 billion. The health care services provider has 50,000 employees stationed on five continents and participates in every aspect of the health care supply chain. Cardinal is the largest U.S. distributor of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment supporting the industry and is divided into four business units: pharmaceutical provision and distribution; hospital pharmacy management, consulting and staffing; medical products and services/pharmaceutical technologies and services; and automation and information services. It ships one-third of all medicines sold domestically. Aggressive acquisitions: “A large piece of what I’ve been focused on since I’ve been with the company,” said Williams, has been acquisition-related. In fact, his stint at Cardinal has coincided with the company’s golden age of acquisitions, during which time the firm “expanded its platform beyond its core wholesale drug distribution business and moved beyond functioning as a middleman between drug manufacturers and customers.” In 1995, his first year there, Cardinal bought Medicine Shoppe, a franchisor of independent retail pharmacies. It then embarked on a succession of purchases, all operating under the Cardinal Health name. It acquired Pyxis, makers of what Williams calls “ATMs for drugs,” used in nursing stations to provide security in the dispensing and tracking of medicines. It then absorbed R.P. Scherer, a drug-delivery-system specialist whose products include dissolvable wafers, soft gel capsules and injectables. Purchases of Allegiance and Bindley Western in 1999 and 2001, respectively, were two other significant additions presided over by Williams. Next up is a pending $530 million acquisition of Intercare Group PLC, a leading European manufacturer of prefilled syringes. Cardinal’s policy of expansion has contributed to a tenfold revenue increase in the eight years since Williams’ arrival. Cardinal diversity: “A passion for me is the issue of diversity and I believe that it is important that lawyers take a leadership role with respect to it,” Williams stated. He co-chairs Cardinal Health’s diversity council and is proud that the Minority Corporate Counsel Association has recognized his company for its efforts in this area. Pointing out that 20% of his firm’s attorneys are minorities, Williams added that “we are very aggressive with our outside firms in impressing upon them the need for diversity.” Making diversity-related progress in the legal profession is so important to Cardinal Health and its general counsel that “it’s something we will take into account as we make decisions as to which firms will receive our work.” Litigation docket: Williams would not comment on current or pending lawsuits, other than to assert, “For a company of our size, we have been fortunate not to have as much litigation as many others do.” Cardinal, however, is the target of a suit filed by a woman who accused the firm of being the source of her medicine (Procrit, used to treat anemia and fatigue caused by chemotherapy), which, although authentically packaged, was only 5% of the normal potency. Cardinal denies having sold the specific box that is central to the case. The Food and Drug Administration has formed a task force on such allegedly counterfeit, watered down, doctored or mislabeled medicines, a problem Williams attributes to a cadre of smaller, unscrupulous wholesalers, particularly in Florida, who take advantage of a lax regulatory system. Cardinal is also the plaintiff in a suit, filed in U.S. district court in North Carolina, accusing Banner Pharmacaps Inc. of copying its patented method for making soft gelatin pills. Cardinal claims that it acquired the patent when it purchased R.P. Scherer, and is suing Banner over its sale of ibuprofen products using the proprietary technology. Multitasker: Williams has assumed new duties in recent weeks: He monitors the facilities at the firm’s Dublin headquarters; he heads Cardinal’s business continuity and crisis management group; he has gotten more involved in firm security; and he has become part of Cardinal’s aviation group. Sarbanes-Oxley Act responsibilities now consume “a pretty significant amount of time and, as secretary to the board of directors, it’s a focus.” And with a growing amount of overseas-based employees and deeper inroads in foreign business for Cardinal, Williams and other senior members of his department spend more time becoming conversant with foreign issues and nuances of foreign law. Legal department: Reflecting the company’s growth, Cardinal now has 44 in-house attorneys, compared to four when Williams came aboard. They are divided into specialized subgroups including litigation, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, securities and corporate governance, finance, real estate and those focusing on specific business units. “You name it, we have it,” asserts the GC, who reports to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert D. Walter. Outside counsel called upon by Cardinal include Baker & Hostetler for litigation and transactions, New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (which does the “lion’s share” of acquisition work) and Los Angeles’ Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, used in securities matters. Route to the top: Williams, a San Francisco native, graduated from Harvard College in 1981 and received a degree from Yale Law School three years later. He joined Gibson Dunn in 1984 and, in 1987, Williams and his wife “made a radical change to raise our family in Columbus, Ohio.” The move brought him to Columbus’ Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. Moving in-house for the Borden Dairy Co. in 1990, Williams acted as group counsel for its dairy and food services division, a position that he feels helped prepare him for his current job. He was recruited in 1995 for the role of Cardinal Health’s assistant general counsel, received several promotions and became its chief legal officer in April 2001. Family: Williams and his wife, Laura, have two sons: Scott, 17 and Ryan, 14. Last book and movie: The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Human Stain.

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