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Name and title: Daniel J. Lett, senior vice president and general counsel Age: 35 The company: Bunzl Distribution USA Inc., based in St. Louis, is a supplier of paper and plastic food-packaging items, disposable supplies and cleaning and safety products for industrial users. Its customers include supermarkets and convenience stores, caterers and food processors, airlines, contract cleaners and hotels. It is the largest subsidiary of Bunzl PLC, a British public company headquartered in London. Established in 1981 in the initial North American foray by the parent company (which began as a haberdasher in 1880s Austria), Bunzl Distribution USA now has 82 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. With almost 3,000 North American employees, it generates, said Lett, “a little north” of $2.5 billion in annual sales from more than 250,000 different supply items. Diverse duties: Lett is responsible for all company legal matters in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Antitrust compliance, corporate governance and environmental issues all fall under his umbrella. His department manages Bunzl’s intellectual property portfolio, which includes “a handful” of patents and between 40 and 50 trademarks. Lett also manages the IP of Bunzl’s Prime Source private-label line, featuring disposable packaging items, personal protective wear and vinyl gloves for food-processing personnel. Lett’s legal group manages Bunzl’s real estate portfolio, handles labor and employment issues, oversees the company’s pension and benefits plans and negotiates and documents customer contracts. Lett also serves as an advisor to the human resources department, acting as a liaison to senior management for its 25 members. During Lett’s tenure, Bunzl Distribution has grown organically, as well as through acquisitions, and the GC expends a lot of energy in the realm of mergers and acquisitions. This year alone, while traveling extensively, he spearheaded the legal group’s efforts in acquisitions totaling $150 million. The most recent closings include Bunzl’s purchase of 111-year-old Joseph Weil & Sons, a leader in janitorial and sanitary maintenance; Denver’s TSN Inc., a distributor to convenience store suppliers; and Temo Sales Inc., a New York-based redistribution company. The legal department does due diligence and documentation for such deals and is also involved in negotiations, although the primary negotiations are performed by Bunzl’s business group. EPA/DOT/OSHA: Bunzl must conduct its business in compliance with various federal regulators. Chief among them are the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In addition, Lett must be cognizant of 9/11-derived changes in importing regulations. Having a foreign parent company also presents financial compliance challenges. Bunzl’s primary stock is issued on the London Stock Exchange. It is also traded as American depository receipts on the New York Stock Exchange. In trading a foreign stock issue on an American exchange, Bunzl and its legal department must comply with U.S. laws while also adhering to the standards and regulations imposed upon foreign companies. Sarbanes-Oxley-related tasks have been “a significant undertaking” for Lett, although Bunzl, as a foreign-based company, was granted an extra year to achieve compliance with the act’s requirements. Litigation and liability: Bunzl maintains a sizable truck fleet, and trucking brings with it issues relating to liability, insurance (not in Lett’s domain), immigration and unions. Several company locations operate under collective bargaining agreements negotiated and finalized by the legal department. Lett said, “For a company our size, we are really not involved in a lot of commercial litigation. There are no significant litigation matters that impact us today.” Legal team: Lett, a self-described generalist, supervises a group consisting of two in-house attorneys and a paralegal. He reports to Patrick L. Larmon, Bunzl Distribution’s president and chief executive officer. Roughly two-fifths of the legal load is handled in-house; for outside counsel, Lett hires attorneys from St. Louis’ Thompson Coburn and Kansas City, Mo.-based Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin. He tends to rely on local counsel in non-U.S. locales after establishing a “general familiarity” with the foreign laws. Route to the top: Lett has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from McKendree College (1991), a J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law (1994) and a master’s in international business from St. Louis University (2004). He serves on the board of trustees for McKendree. Lett began his career as an associate at Peper Martin Jensen Maichel and Hetlage (now Blackwell Sanders). He focused on real estate, and also did bankruptcy and general corporate transactional work, some on behalf of Bunzl. Lett said that “the combination helped me establish the fundamentals I needed for this [in-house] job.” He became Bunzl’s general counsel in 1998, and this year was promoted to senior vice president. Lett offered this view of in-house law: “Counseling skills are just as important as legal advice. It’s not just about the law. It’s critical that you gain an in-depth knowledge of your company and its business to really be able to provide effective legal advice.” Personal: Lett and his wife, Polly, are the parents of twin girls: Julia and Sarah, age 4 1/2. He also has a 16-year-old stepson, George Winter. The native of Belleville, Ill., participates in multiple sclerosis charity work and supports treatment programs for women and children provided by St. Louis’ Queen of Peace Center. Last book and movie: Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, by Sean Hannity, and The Incredibles.

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