Stephanie Montoya – GC Powerlist
Central America 2022

Consumer Products

Stephanie Montoya

Senior legal counsel Central America, Legal counsel Unilever Intl. Latam and North America | Unilever Central America

    Team size: four

    Major legal advisers: Zurcher Odio & Raven / Marco López Volio (Costa Rica), Lovill /Jeannette Bravo (Panamá)

    What are the most significant cases or transactions you and your team have been involved in?

    With a robust regional business that is growing profitably, new growth avenues needed to be explored for a future fit business model. With that view, my legal team contributed to two key projects such as reshaping of the export’s distribution channel. Under my leadership, the legal function designed the legal strategy for the reshaping of the export distribution channel of the heritage market in The US. The project was successfully deployed, allowing a more aligned business model while ensuring regulatory compliance and mitigating legal risks.

    Another project was the white space project where our legal function contributed to the design and implementation of the legal framework of a new business model that aims to elevate the power and equity of our brands through strategic alliances that will allow its participation in key new market segments. An example of this is the brand licensing to La Maquila Lama in Costa Rica which involves local jewel brands such as Natura´s and Lizano for grain rice and beans portfolios.

    What do you think are the biggest risks facing your industry now and how are you preparing your team and organization to deal with them?

    The global supply chain crisis represents the highest risk to industry. Commodity price increases, capacity and materials supply shortages, port congestion, increasing freight rates, among others, represent challenging factors to the operation of the business in a new normal era. To face these risks and challenges, our organisation is working on performing constant and active risk mapping to identify in advance the main contingencies and activate mitigation plans.

    Even in the best-case scenario, COVID is likely to have far-reaching ramifications. How are you safeguarding the long-term health of the business?

    Since the initial stages of the pandemic, the focus of our business has been the health and safety of our employees and their families, and all people that collaborate in our operations. We continue to have fully dedicated teams monitoring and ensuring the safety and health of our people and their families.

    To accompany the times we are in, we have introduced a robust wellbeing program that benefits our employees and their families, because we understand that this is an important pillar to maintain home and work balance and boost productivity. We believe companies need empathetic leaders capable of listening to and understanding the needs of their teams, customers, and consumers.