Senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary
‘As general counsel, Matthew Fawcett has led the transformation and development of NetApp legal into a cutting-edge, award-winning organisation. After leading a major change effort to overhaul what had been a low-performing, dysfunctional department into a state-of-the-art global legal team, he has continued to innovate and experiment. His leadership and commitment to enabling and serving the needs of the business have made a substantial impact on the company, its customers, employees, and investors. Today, NetApp’s legal team is leading the way in defending the company and its customers from threats, while finding new ways to impact to the business. This combination of service, commitment, and operational excellence is the result of Fawcett’s vision. By emphasising service and results, Fawcett has turned the department into a true enabler of the enterprise. He focuses strongly on efficiency and manages the team through data and metrics. Under his leadership, the team implemented a legal dashboard that visualises information from 20+ reports across the legal department. This provides Fawcett with instant insight on everything in the department from contract turn-around times to how many people participated in the latest legal-wide department training. Fawcett partnered with the NetApp IT team to develop a long-term legal technology roadmap. He has introduced over 20 different technologies to the team spanning areas including contract management, IP management, eBilling, and many others. Most recently, the team rolled out an enterprise-wide workflow automation tool that is integrated with electronic signature functionality, replacing 38 manual processes into a single automated system. Fawcett developed an award-winning “legal ecosystem” approach to managing outside counsel that maximises the value NetApp legal derives from the legal spend. In partnership with Elevate, managed service provider, he implemented a data-driven system of assigning work to preferred providers based on risk and complexity. This “right-sizes” the work and ensures top dollar is spent only when absolutely necessary. Fawcett has fostered a highly collaborative, results-oriented culture. Under his leadership, NetApp legal has won multiple awards. With Fawcett as general counsel, NetApp has never lost a patent case. He led NetApp to a significant new milestone winning back its attorney’s fees and expenses from Summit Data Systems, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Group. This judgment for $1.4m marked one of the few times that a patent troll has ever been required to pay fees. When the European Court of Justice declared the EU-US Safe Harbour Agreement invalid in October 2015, it sent shock waves through the global technology industry. Under Fawcett’s leadership, NetApp was one of the first corporations to receive Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) and get ahead of the GDPR and the rapidly changing compliance regulations. This commitment to local compliance, as opposed to relying on a general safe harbour, has given the company a competitive advantage’.