Laureen E. Seeger
In terms of general counsel, the companies of the Fortune 500 are a long way from gender equity. According to the Project 5/165 PowerTron, only 22 percent of the GCs in the Fortune 500 are women. The project’s goal is to see one third of those GC posts filled by women in the next five years. Thus, those interested in GC gender equality take special notice when a female GCs steps down, hoping to see her replaced by another woman.
When news came in August of 2013 that Louise Parent, executive vice president and general counsel of American Express, would retire after 37 years – including 20 as GC — at the company, many wondered who would fill her shoes. Tim Heine has served as interim GC of the company since the start of 2014 but, after an exhaustive search, American Express has announced its new general counsel: Laureen E. Seeger.
Seeger, 52, most recently served as executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at the McKesson Corporation, one of the largest healthcare services companies in North America. There she led the law, public affairs and compliance departments, navigating the regulatory complexity of the healthcare space.
At American Express, Seeger will become the new executive vice president and general counsel and will lead the financial company’s legal, compliance and ethics initiatives, later adding federal and state government affairs duties.
“We are excited to have one of the world’s top legal leaders become general counsel of American Express. Not only is Laureen a gifted legal strategist, litigator and an expert in managing compliance and regulatory affairs, throughout her career she has first and foremost been a catalyst for business growth. She will be an outstanding addition as the new leader of a world-class general counsel’s office,” Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer of American Express, said in a statement. Seeger will report directly to Chenault and serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
As Seeger exits McKesson, she will be replaced by Lori A. Shechter, associate general counsel at the company. Schechter will take over as executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, overseeing legal, corporate affairs and compliance functions.