The Future of Global Business

Following Colin Dyer’s keynote address this morning at Doing Business Globally in Chicago, Baker & McKenzie partner Dieter Schmitz led a panel discussion with four industry leaders on the future of global business.

The panelists were:

  • Matthew Damall, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs
  • Marci Winga Fábrega, Associate General Counsel M&A/Strategic Initiatives, Ecolab
  • Louis Samson, Partner, Platinum Equity
  • Herman Uscategui, Director of Global Strategy – Strategic Alliances, Starbucks

The panelists discussed a range of issues, from the growth of cross-border M&A this year, to strategic acquisitions, to regulatory risk and compliance for multinational companies.

Some takeaways from the discussion:

  • Legal and regulatory frameworks are evolving quickly outside of mature markets. Authorities in these areas have not determined what the expectations are going to be, the process, or the timing, and that creates a lot of unknowns for international transactions.
  • Information security is a clear risk as businesses expand across borders. The number of “back doors” that create information security risk, and the amount of work that goes into closing off those back doors and making sure your systems are talking to each other is significant.
  • Risk management has always been part of the conversation for buyers and sellers, but it has gone from an issue for general counsel or assistant general counsel, to a CEO-level issue.
  • Integration tip for companies looking at a transaction that covers many jurisdictions: assemble the right team upfront. Create a team that has experience and understands the industries that the buyer and seller operate in, and the intricacies of how the organizations operate.