Richard Price – GC Powerlist
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United Kingdom 2019

Richard Price

Energy | Anglo American

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    United Kingdom 2019

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    Richard Price

    Energy | Anglo American

    About

    Team size: 80
    Major law firms used: Linklaters, Shearman & Sterling

    Richard Price left behind more than 20 years in private practice to become group GC and company secretary at global mining giant Anglo American nearly two years ago. Six months into the role, the wider business was surveyed for its views on the delivery of legal services and the outcomes drive the team’s mission and vision still.

    The team’s headcount had been cut in half shortly before he joined and, while some of that resource has been recovered, work is ongoing to ensure optimal delivery within the current contingent. ‘The survey told us that the business does recognise how legal can add value to what they’re trying to do and, if anything, they want more of it: being more involved, and in an earlier and deeper way,’ Price says.

    Quite a task for the former Shearman & Sterling co-head of mining and metals – where Anglo American was a client of his – to face in his first GC role. His appointment in May 2017 was also coupled with a position on the company’s group management committee, the first time legal had secured a seat at the executive table.

    But since then, Price believes his 80-strong legal team – spread between a core base in the UK, South Africa, Singapore and Brazil, with smaller offices in Chile, Peru, Australia and China – has become more efficient. There was an imbalance in certain areas between what the legal team could handle by itself and what was being outsourced, and a need to prioritise the work of his lawyers. ‘It’s about making sure we’ve got the right resources doing the right work; are using external law firms wisely; looking at alternative service providers; and, to some extent, de-lawyering our processes – training the business to call on us only when it’s important. The overriding objective for us is to deliver in a way that we’re seen as a strategic value partner to the business.’

    He adds that providing more efficient legal services will remain a focus and the function is still at an early stage on this journey. Technology will undoubtedly play a role. A major project is underway to deploy technologies to achieve full integration of matter management, legal risk reporting and cost management across all nine offices globally.

    Price strongly believes clients have a key role to play in improving law firm diversity, pushing his advisers to put forward at least one female relationship partner during the company’s first-ever legal roster tender. ‘It’s a journey that they’re on; it’s going to take some time. We want to be supportive and encouraging as they go on that journey.’

    Herbert Smith Freehills partner Stephen Wilkinson comments: ‘Price has come into a big in-house role from private practice, and has done a good job in modernising the team and making it fit for purpose. From what I’ve seen, he’s done a really good job of re-shaping it.’

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