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Name and title: Michael Baroni, general counsel and secretary Age: 37 Organization: BSH Home Appliances Corp. is the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of the German firm BSH Bosch und Siemans Hausger�te GmbH- which is itself a joint venture of Germany’s Robert-Bosch GmbH and Siemans A.G. BSH makes and markets dishwashers, ovens, washers, dryers, small appliances and vacuums. Its major brands include Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau. The company has 1,500 U.S. employees, 175 at corporate headquarters in Huntington Beach, Calif., and the others at factories in North Carolina and Tennessee, and showrooms in Boston, Chicago, New York and suburban Philadelphia. BSH, a privately held company, does not report revenues, but its German parent is the largest home appliance company in Europe, posting more than $6 billion in annual sales. Law office: Michael Baroni is a one-attorney law department, reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Franz Bosshard and supervising executive legal assistant Gynette Berning. Three in-house intellectual property attorneys in New Bern, N.C., work closely with Baroni, but report to the parent company in Germany. Since becoming BSH’s first general counsel in 2003, Baroni said that he has slashed “millions” in outside legal fees. He has drafted dozens of legal forms for routine matters, implemented new compliance procedures and instituted a legal training program for employees on “everything from antitrust to business ethics.” Having an in-house counsel has “had a huge impact on decreasing disputes, while increasing efficiency and professionalism within the office,” he said. Cyril (Ted) E. Armbrister of San Francisco’s Gordon & Rees handles California litigation, including asbestos cases. For distribution law matters, Baroni calls on Jennifer Moore, a partner at Atlanta’s Alston & Bird. Litigation: Although BSH refers litigation to outside counsel, Baroni prefers to handle as much work as possible in-house. Baroni said that he managed to hold outside legal fees to only $110,000 last year on the 24 litigation matters he oversaw. “This was accomplished by doing as much of the work in-house as possible, and tightly managing the relationship with outside firms,” he said. “I’d prefer to select smaller firms who will be more devoted to a case and have smaller fees. I closely scrutinize bills, and have obtained tens of thousands in adjustments.” In addition to routine products liability cases, Baroni last year handled a “bet the company” matter against Hadco, BSH’s former distributor in the northeast and southeast United States. Hadco began an arbitration proceeding against BSH, claiming that the manufacturer had breached the distributorship agreement by selling products directly to national retailers such as Best Buys and Lowe’s. Baroni negotiated a settlement that allowed BSH to terminate its contract with Hadco in January. He was then put in charge of the effort to recapture Hadco’s former sales territory. “I had to work with every area of the company-logistics, [information technology], human resources, sales, etc. and cover all aspects from establishing offices to setting up warehouses,” he said. Christian counsel: In addition to his law books, Baroni has a Ten Commandments plaque in his office. “Although I never discuss religion in the office, these core values and principles, I believe, are essential to strong moral [and] ethical leadership, a professional corporate culture, and to overall legal compliance,” he said. “My basic sense of right and wrong cuts through and clarifies every legal battle I’m in . . . .If a customer has been wronged, I’ll take care of them. If a case against BSH has no merit, I’ll fight it to the death. If there’s a possible product safety issue, I will push for investigation, open disclosure with the [Consumer Product Safety Commission] and to protect the consumer at all costs.” Baroni’s faith has helped him foster a corporate culture “where ethics and professionalism are paramount,” he said. Route to the top: Baroni grew up in New York on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and received a 1990 B.A. in English from Boston College. After receiving his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1993, he tried to set up his own entertainment law practice while working as of counsel to New York’s Jacobson & Colfin. In his first year, he earned about $10,000. “I did a lot of free work for entertainment types, hoping they’d make it big,” he recalled. “That’s not the way it worked out.” In 1995, Baroni took down his shingle and signed on as in-house counsel for General Media Inc., the publisher of Penthouse, Omni and other magazines. “I didn’t even know it was Penthouse when I rushed to the interview upon getting the recruiter’s call, and I only found out my first day on the job,” he said. Bob Guccione’s company was surprisingly buttoned-down, recalled Baroni, who handled licensing, copyright enforcement and film production and distribution contracts. Baroni said that his deepening Christian faith made him increasingly uneasy working for the adult magazine. “I’m the sort who cares about [my company's] product, and that’s something I started to get uncomfortable with,” he said. In 1997, Baroni became general counsel of a more mainstream publisher, Henry Holt & Co., where he handled the sales of three divisions, slashed outside legal fees and tightened controls on book advances. A year later, he joined the law department at Metromedia Fiber Network Services, a White Plains, N.Y., fiber-optic provider. Metromedia sent him to California to handle all legal affairs for AboveNet and PAIX.net, two recently acquired Internet infrastructure companies. Baroni signed on as GC for BSH Home Appliances in June 2003. Personal: Baroni is married to Lisa Lynnette, an actress and writer who recently acted in the TV shows Boston Legal and Numbers. They live in Orange County, Calif., with a Yorkie named Percival. Last book and movie: One World Order: Socialist Dictatorship, by John Coleman, and The Passion of the Christ.

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