Ainsley Reid-Willett – GC Powerlist
GC Powerlist Logo
Rising Stars Australia 2022

Materials and mining

Ainsley Reid-Willett

Head of legal, corporate | BHP

    Download

    Rising Stars Australia 2022

    legal500.com/gc-powerlist/

    Recommended Individual

    Ainsley Reid-Willett

    Head of legal, corporate | BHP

    Could you tell us a bit about your significant successes in your role?

    I support the corporate and head-office functions at BHP, including our M&A team. Supporting the company’s M&A transactions are a big part of my role, and I have been fortunate enough to have worked on some incredible transactions, some of which have been the largest in the Australian market. Working on the company’s US$10.5bn exit from shale in the US, the unification of the company’s dual listing and the US$63bn merger with Woodside are significant highlights. All those transactions involved the coordination of legal support from across our global team to achieve the success that those transactions represent. I regard my team, who are spread across Australia and in London, as another significant success; together we support transactions through their life cycle across the different commodities and geographies in which we operate. It is an incredible privilege to lead such a talented group.

    In your opinion, what are the qualities and skills needed to form a strong legal team?

    Respect and decency, intellectual curiosity, grit, and great communication are all key. Creating a respectful culture made up of decent individuals, where people feel as though they can contribute ideas and discuss them freely is central to having a happy, well-functioning team that can adapt to the constantly changing external environment we find ourselves in. Being intellectually curious means a lifelong journey of learning and staying engaged in whatever work is in front of you. Grit or tenacity helps navigate adversity and helps teams ‘stay the course’ in work that often involves long running, high pressure matters. Communication skills and being able to communicate at all levels in an organisation, is a key skill for the success of an in-house legal team; sometimes the way advice is provided is just as important (or more important) as the advice itself.

    What is the biggest risk to your industry or organisation and how are you contributing to prepare your organisation for this?

    Climate change and ESG concerns are significant risks to the mining sector. BHP has committed to tackling these and other issues through its social value framework, through which decisions can be made to deliver positive social value impact and business value. It has been essential to recognise the importance of ESG considerations when looking at M&A transactions, and to find ways to deliver positive social value outcomes in the transactions we support. Embedding concrete steps into our transaction processes to address ESG considerations (such as through due diligence, contractual protections, and separation and integration processes) is part of how we are doing this.

    What challenges have you overcome to get to the position you are in today?

    The mining sector is male dominated, and that has given rise to some challenges over the years. This is changing, and there has been great progress towards more diversity and inclusion in the industry – I have been the beneficiary of support from people both within and outside BHP who have helped me build my confidence and advance to the position I am in now. My latest challenge is being a new parent and balancing everything that entails with full time work – working for a company that has really embraced flexible working has made that feel more manageable.

    Related Powerlists

    Lyndon Arnall

    Group general counsel

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Anthony Sciuto

    Governance specialist - disclosure and risk and audit committee

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Jamie Stollery

    Vice president, legal - disputes and regulatory

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Jenny McCabe

    Vice president legal, minerals Australia and employee relations

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Lyndon Arnall

    Group general counsel

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Anthony Sciuto

    Governance specialist - disclosure and risk and audit committee

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Jamie Stollery

    Vice president, legal - disputes and regulatory

    BHP

    View Powerlist

    Jenny McCabe

    Vice president legal, minerals Australia and employee relations

    BHP

    View Powerlist