X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Christopher D. McDemus, vice president corporate development and general counsel Age: 35 The company: Sc�nci International is a manufacturer and marketer of hair accessories, brushes and grooming products in North America. Formed in 1980, the privately held company is based outside of Philadelphia in Hatboro, Pa. It launched as L&N Sales and Marketing Inc., selling toys and novelty items to retailers. In 1992 it made the transition to “innovative and fashionable” hair accessories targeted to drugstores, mass retailers and grocery chains, and now holds the top U.S. market position. The company’s growth paralleled the success of its licensed “Original Scrunchie” ponytail holder, and, as McDemus noted, “We grew from one item to a couple of thousand.” Since 1989, millions of Scrunchies have been sold in 50,000 U.S. locations. Since 1998, with the introduction of brushes and grooming items, it has featured a complete line of women’s hair-accessory products. This year L&N adopted the Sc�nci International brand. The company has “over 100″ employees in Hatboro and maintains a quality-control office in Hong Kong. The general counsel declined to disclose company revenues, but said Sc�nci products generate more than $250 million in annual retail sales. Sc�nci’s GC: McDemus, a self-described generalist, has his hand in all legal issues involving the company, including intellectual property, corporate, real estate, litigation and employment law. With a nod toward his background in private practice, McDemus said that “having to manage a lot of high-priority projects that were complicated, with a lot of moving pieces, gave me a strong skill set for performing here.” He advises senior management on all legal issues, and he reports directly to President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Miller, and indirectly to the company’s chairman and vice chairman. He estimates that 90% to 95% of his time is balanced between intellectual property and corporate matters: “We believe that IP is a big differentiator in our space, so we invest a lot of time and money on that.” Sc�nci does a lot of trademarking, but it’s rare that McDemus has to “forcibly enforce” trademarks, although he sends out “the occasional” cease-and-desist letter. Corporate work, for McDemus, comprises joint ventures, licensing arrangements, contracts and exploring new business opportunities. Sc�nci is the primary sponsor of a NASCAR automobile driven by Carlos Contreras, the racing organization’s first and only Hispanic driver. McDemus works on contracts for inventors and designers for the company, which also relies on internal product development. He handles corporate leases and creates contracts with major retailers such as Duane Reade Inc. Independent advertising, if done, comes by his desk. McDemus is alert to possible mergers and acquisitions, saying that “you never know when the right opportunity to cherry pick is going to come.” Manufacturing facilities, which consist of plastic injection molding factories, are located in Asia. Manufacturing is performed by third parties, so McDemus skirts most union, immigration and workers’ compensation issues. McDemus interacts with Underwriters Laboratory and Environmental Technology Laboratory, two independent testing facilities that rate Sc�nci products. McDemus also deals with products liability events, should they arise. To date, there has been a dearth of such issues, but since Sc�nci is branching out into home products and making forays into personal care appliances and home cleaners, he expects an increase in such suits “by the nature of the business.” As of now, he asserted, “We are a practically litigation-free entity.” In the early 1990s, the company acquired the rights to the Original Scrunchie. According to McDemus, there were allegedly several entities that infringed the patent, and the company filed suits against “at least 10″ infringers in federal court in Philadelphia to enforce the patent. McDemus said that “many” were resolved in the company’s favor, and as of now, the matter is “all wrapped up.” Legal team: “A desire to be involved more on the business side of things, to have more direct interaction with businesspeople and to have more of a consistent, meshed together, running operation as opposed to just working on isolated deals” prompted McDemus’ transition to in-house attorney. Sc�nci’s legal apparatus is “just me, a one-man shop.” He handles as much of the legal load as possible in-house, but also has two firms that he relies on “fairly heavily.” Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath are summoned for outside advice, particularly in the realms of intellectual property and regulatory issues. Sc�nci’s international sales (to Canada and Mexico) generate legal issues regarding importing and exporting, as well as packaging concerns, and McDemus said he typically relies on external counsel in these areas. McDemus cited as an example French/English packaging requirements that must be adhered to in the Canadian province of Quebec. Sc�nci is contemplating expansion to Europe and Latin America. Route to the top: McDemus graduated from Providence College in 1991, with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He received a 1995 juris doctor degree from Widener University School of Law, where he was internal managing editor of The Delaware Journal of Corporate Law. Following law school, McDemus served a one-year stint as judicial law clerk for John E. Babiarz Jr. of the Superior Court of Delaware, Civil Division. In 1996 he joined Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler in Philadelphia as an associate in the commercial litigation group. Cozen O’Connor, also in Philadelphia, was his next stop. From 1997 to 2000 he was in the firm’s corporate and securities department, advising businesses on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital transactions and associated securities issues. Staying in Philadelphia, he joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in 2000, serving until 2003 in the business and finance group. He advised companies on a variety of transactions, corporate governance, contracts and equity compensation. He came aboard as Sc�nci’s chief legal officer in October 2003. Personal: McDemus and his wife, Krista, are the parents of a pair of daughters, ages 5 and 2. The native of Abington, Pa., fills his spare time with golf, skiing and mountain biking. Last book and movie: Red Rabbit, by Tom Clancy, and Miracle.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.