General counsel are the nerve center of the company. They have to make it their business to know something about every business their corporation works in. And they are paid to worry about what former U.S. Department of Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld called “unknown unknowns.” So who better in the company to ask what issues they are most concerned about in 2012? To find out the answers, Corporate Counsel, in partnership with its research arm, ALM Legal Intelligence, surveyed 107 general counsel and some of their deputies at U.S. companies. Their responses suggest that they and their companies will face a challenging year ahead.
Agenda 2012 Survey:
Let’s start by disclosing their deepest, darkest fear. We asked them what they expect to be the biggest corporate risk in 2012. There were eight available options in the online survey. By far the largest proportion, 51 percent, chose an event or a change in business conditions that specifically affects their firm or industry. Global economic risks such as a collapse of the U.S. dollar or a breakup of the eurozone received very short shrift in comparison (11 percent and 4 percent, respectively), despite the fact that the poll was taken between October 11 and November 3, 2011, when the news media was focusing on Greece’s woes.
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