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Even though she’s been on the job for almost two months, Andrea Utecht hasn’t officially started her new position at chemical manufacturer FMC Chemicals Corp. Utecht, the long-time general counsel at Philadelphia-based Atofina Chemicals Inc., joined the Chicago-based FMC in July with a promise from her new employers that she would take the helm of the company’s legal department — after it spins off its machinery business and moves the remainder of its operation to Philadelphia. “Right now I don’t have an official title, but I still have plenty to do,” said Utecht, who expects to assume her new duties as vice president, general counsel and secretary of FMC Chemicals sometime this fall after some tax matters pertaining to the split are ironed out. Utecht’s departure from Atofina, after 20 years with the company (and its predecessors), opened up a spot for one of her deputies, George Cornelius, to assume her vice president and general counsel job at the French-based company. The decision to leave was made easier for Utecht by the prospect of working out of a company’s headquarters where most business decisions are made. “I wanted to get back to working for a U.S.-based public company, and I liked starting out as part of a new management team, not a subsidiary to a Paris-based company,” Utecht said. “I liked working for Atofina but most of the decision-makers are in Paris. With FMC, I’ll have the chance to give my input in business decisions. I was told that there are five senior managers, and I’ll be one of the five.” After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1975, Utecht joined the legal department of Colonial Penn Group. She stayed there until 1981, when it was bought out by Elf Atochem in 1989 and was renamed Atofina last year. During the Elf Atochem years, Utecht was asked to put her MBA degree to good use by heading up the acquisitions and divestitures department before returning to run the legal department several years ago. That time on the business side led to Utecht’s desire to have more say in strategic decisions. FMC, a $4 billion company, decided to split in two with the machinery business staying in Chicago and the chemicals side moving to Philadelphia. The revenue of both entities is almost identical — $2 billion. The legal department will be divided over three core product areas — agricultural, specialty and industrial chemicals. Each of those three divisions has a business, intellectual property and environmental lawyer assigned to its team, with a few corporate lawyers on hand to assist with transactional matters. The department currently has 11 lawyers but is in a state of flux with the split. As FMC Chemicals becomes established in Philadelphia, Utecht said, she expects to hire more attorneys in the coming years. She also expects to see increased work assigned to Philadelphia area law firms. “I expect some of the work now being handled by Chicago firms to switch over to Philadelphia firms,” Utecht said. “With us being in Philadelphia, it doesn’t make much sense to continue using Chicago firms.” Cornelius was selected by Atofina president and CEO Jean-Pierre Seeuws to take over for the departing Utecht. He has been with the company — most recently as deputy general counsel for business — since 1996. A 1983 graduate of Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., Cornelius spent 12 years with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott — the first 10 in Pittsburgh and a little more than two in Harrisburg, Pa. He was originally an associate in the litigation department but moved over to the business law side four years later. “I was tired of the discovery aspect and depositions, interrogatories and requests for documents,” Cornelius said. One of his first major transactional clients was Westinghouse Credit Corp. for whom he handled a variety of mergers and acquisitions work. With then-Eckert Seamans managing partner Carl Barger becoming president of the Pittsburgh Pirates and later the Florida Marlins, Cornelius represented the two baseball teams as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins in leasing, broadcasting and financing deals. Largely because of his Central Pennsylvania roots, Cornelius was asked by the Eckert Seamans management team to help start the firm’s Harrisburg office in 1993. But he admitted that the office had its share of problems, chief among them the lack of critical mass that made many Harrisburg area companies look to New York, Philadelphia and Washington firms for their legal work. “I first made the decision to leave Eckert Seamans and then made the decision to go in-house after looking at some other firms,” Cornelius said. “I think it came down to a quality-of-life decision. I have two boys, and I wanted to spend more time with my family.” So Cornelius joined Atofina as senior counsel, working his way up the ranks to associate general counsel to deputy general counsel in charge of the business group, where he oversaw contracts, divestitures, antitrust, and mergers and acquisitions. Now Cornelius is in charge of the entire 16-attorney department, where he has three main goals: � Accomplish more on the business side with less resources. � Facilitate more communication with the legal staff in Paris. � Create a positive working environment for his staff. “His background is on the business side like mine,” Utecht said of her successor. “He’ll get a chance to learn other areas like litigation and environmental, and I’m sure he’ll do a great job.”

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