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Name and title: Kellye Walker, general counsel Age: 41 Set ‘em up: Diageo North America is a subsidiary of Diageo PLC, the world’s largest producer of alcoholic beverages. With about 30% of the parent company’s sales, North America is the parent’s largest market. That added up to more than $4.7 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June 2005; global sales exceeded $15.7 billion. Diageo brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vinyard, Sterling Vinyard and Harp beer. Diageo is listed on the New York and London stock exchanges. Its U.S. headquarters is in Norwalk, Conn., and the company operates offices and bottling facilities across North America. Its global headquarters is in London. The company itself was founded in 1997 through the merger of Guinness PLC and Grand Metropolitan PLC. “These companies were engaged in a variety of businesses, including beverage alcohol, hotels and foods,” Walker said. “The strategy for the merged company was to focus on the beverage alcohol business. This strategy led to a variety of divestitures and acquisitions, which focused and enhanced our brand portfolio. We own brands that have been around for hundreds of years.” Diageo employs 23,000 people worldwide. Its president and chief executive officer for North America is Ivan M. Menezes. Walker also reports to global General Counsel Timothy D. Proctor. Legal team and outside firms: The global legal team comprises approximately 80 lawyers, 12 of whom report to Walker directly. The department is broken down into groups handling human relations and labor, regulatory and compliance, litigation and commercial matters. “The global general counsel handles global issues, including managing the global legal function,” Walker said. “My remit focuses on issues that are specific to the North American market. I have the autonomy to do that, but we’re in constant communication.” The legal team gathers from time to time. “This year’s conference will be held in Shanghai, to celebrate Diageo’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region.” Walker is in the process of reviewing her outside counsel relationships. “We do use outside firms, some in specialized areas,” she said, “but I don’t want to mention any in particular.” Daily duties: Walker joined the company in February, “so I’m looking at all of it. And I think that part of my job is to keep a balance and do the more important job of adding value for our internal legal clients. My role is to pay attention to all of it.” The biggest legal challenge is regulatory compliance, which “also involves educating our work force through training, especially our salespeople and marketers. So part of our role is to make sure that we provide them with the information and tools they need to comport with the regulatory scheme,” Walker said. “We recognize that alcoholic beverages bring pleasure to millions of adults every day; yet we also recognize that alcoholic beverages are sometimes consumed irresponsibly,” she added. “We have a robust marketing code, to make sure that our brands are marketed responsibly. For example, we don’t market our products in ways that promote activities where the consumer doesn’t have control over the amount of alcohol one consumes; so we will not show someone taking multiple shots or being involved in shot-drinking games.” Diageo declines to advertise in venues unless at least 70% of the audience is of the legal drinking age, she said. One in five ads promotes responsible drinking. Otherwise, human resources and litigation are concerns. “We have production and bottling facilities, many of which are unionized, so we deal with unions, as well,” Walker said. “Given that Diageo is a brand company, we from time to time consider acquiring new brands to further enhance our portfolio. This presents lots of fun legal work. Like any other large company, we have a full range of legal issues.” Route to present position: Walker earned her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and her law degree from Emory University School of Law. She worked as an associate at Boult, Cummings, Connors & Berry in Nashville, Tenn., moving in 2000 to Hill & Barlow in Boston before becoming general counsel of BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. in Natick, Mass., in 2003. Personal: Walker sits on the advocacy committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel, which prepares amicus briefs on issues including the erosion of attorney-client privilege. She serves on the national committee of Stakeholder 100, “to help identify and train the top 100 associates of color in the country. As an African-American woman who has throughout my career benefited from people investing in my career and me, part of what I have tried to do over the years is to help and be a resource to those associates who really want to do something with their careers.” Otherwise, she enjoys spending time with her 7-year-old son. Last movie and book: Ratatouille and Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. “I was in a bookstore, in the children’s section, and I walked by a display that had wonderful African-American authors and saw Zora Hurston, and thought, ‘I really should read it again.’ “

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