CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the year Motorola Inc. split into two companies. It was 2011. After the piece published, the company provided updated information about the size of the legal and government affairs department. The story has been changed to reflect those numbers.
Motorola Inc. launched the first walkie-talkies right as World War II got under way and created the radio Neil Armstrong used when he landed on the moon. During the early 1980s, it made the first commercial cellphone.
In 2011, it split into two public companies: Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (the cellphone division, sold to Google Inc. in 2011); and Motorola Solutions Inc., which makes two-way radios, handheld computers and more. Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola Solutions reported 2012 sales of $8.7 billion.
Mark Hacker joined the combined Motorola back in 2001 as a commercial lawyer and moved up through the legal ranks to lead the company’s global legal team. Now, following the split, as general counsel he heads a department of 76 lawyers and 138 staff members around the globe.
“It was a challenging process that took several months to navigate through,” he said of the department’s split.
“We had 195 incredibly talented attorneys, but that’s why both organizations now have very strong legal departments.”
Hacker identifies Motorola Solu­tions’ lead corporate firms Kirkland & Ellis and Winston & Strawn among its “300 legal vendors.” He said that the company’s overall legal spend has dropped in recent years. “We definitely don’t use [all vendors] the amount we did five years ago.” The exit of the cellular operation because of the split has changed the department’s work considerably. “We had IP issues like crazy,” Hacker said, but the litigation profile is much quieter. The department is focusing on cost savings in the electronic-discovery area.
Hacker’s up around 5 a.m. and in the office no later than 6:30 a.m. so that he can check in with his international attorneys and staff. “If I get a lull, I’m reading The Wall Street Journal and I’m going through my list for the day,” he said. “Usually, before I can actually get to that list, about 10 other things come in.” Even though the company’s been around a long time, it’s still “cultivating a culture of disruption,” he said. “We’re constantly asking ourselves why we’re doing things the way we’re doing them throughout the company.”
ROUTE TO THE TOP
Hacker graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Villanova University and spent two years with the Philadelphia office of Arthur Andersen LLP before returning to Villanova for a law degree, graduating in 1999.
He said that a background in accounting has been “incredibly helpful” in his corporate legal practice. After law school, Hacker served two years as a corporate associate in the Philadelphia office of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, where he made the contact with Motorola that would get him his job.
Hacker is married with two children — a daughter, 12, and a son, 6. He spends most of his free time with the children. The rest of the time, he can be found on the golf links. “If I’m not with them, I’m on the golf course,” he said.
LAST BOOK AND MOVIE
Hacker recently finished Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton. He enjoyed watching Somm, a 2012 documentary about four sommeliers attempting to pass the challenging master sommelier exam.