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Being a change agent can be difficult. A new general counsel may decide to shake things up in the legal department, often for cost-saving reasons, or to take the department in a different direction. The consequences can be serious.

The difficulty and resistance to change was spotlighted recently by Coca-Cola’s decision to sideline Bradley Gayton, the Atlanta-based company’s general counsel who arrived only eight months ago; Gayton will become a consultant to the company for a year. Following the news of Gayton’s stepping down last week, a source at the beverage company told Corporate Counsel that Gayton wanted to change too much too quickly. The source said Gayton came in with “aggressive ideas” and said Gayton had unrealistic expectations of the legal department. The source told Corporate Counsel that Gayton was not listening to people who had been in the legal department for a significant period of time.

Dan Clark

Dan covers cyber security, legal operations and intellectual property for Corporate Counsel. Follow him on Twitter @Danclarkalm.

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