Mondelēz International (NASDAQ: MDLZ) on June 19 announced its legal department and legal services firm Axiom were named 2013 “ACC Value Champions” by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). The company and the firm were recognized for designing and executing a sophisticated process to collect, assess and interact with counterparties related to nearly 40,000 contract documents prior to Mondelēz International’s spin-off of its North American grocery business. The entire spin-off was a significant undertaking, and together, Mondelēz International and Axiom found an efficient way to solve the contract challenge that also ensured a diligent and comprehensive solution.
The ACC Value Challenge promotes reconnecting the cost and value of legal services and recognizes Mondelēz International and Axiom as one of 12 corporate legal departments and law department/law firm collaborations to deliver substantial value to their client organizations by cutting spending, improving predictability and achieving better legal outcomes.
“Executing the spin-off of our North American grocery business was an unprecedented challenge,” said Gerd Pleuhs, executive vice president and general counsel at Mondelēz International. “Thanks to our collaboration with Axiom, we set up a cost-effective system to separate, organize and perform due diligence on about 40,000 contracts in 10 months on time, with flawless execution and with a substantial cost savings. Our spin-off was the first opportunity to work with a firm like Axiom, which offered us the scale and expertise to tackle this project.”
“We commend Mondelēz International and Axiom for being champions of change in the legal industry,” said Veta T. Richardson, president & CEO of ACC. “By implementing innovative management practices and value-based fee arrangements, they show how strong partnerships can lead to lower costs along with high-quality results.”
Together, Mondelēz International and Axiom created a custom contract management system and a project plan. In addition, Axiom used manufacturing tactics - including a time and motion study - to assess a sample of contracts, enabling Mondelēz International and Axiom to determine a precise budget and a fixed-fee-per-agreement pricing model for a significant portion of the project. The company and Axiom collaborated to review tens of thousands of documents and negotiate duplication of more than 6,000 contracts. Mondelēz International’s legal department, its employees in charge of contracts and Axiom’s team of more than 60 lawyers and five project managers completed the assessment in less than 35 days, and then negotiated all affected contracts while keeping the project on budget and on schedule with daily progress reports. Today, the contract management system Mondelēz International and Axiom created continues to provide long-term efficiency for in-house counsel.
“The per-agreement pricing model during the assessment phase provided Mondelez International with budget certainty and shifted the burden of efficiency to Axiom. Our jointly developed processes and disciplined project management enabled us to stay on budget and hit deadlines,” said Thomas Finke, general manager of Axiom’s Chicago office.
ACC received 75 nominations from law departments and law firms from December 2012 through February 2013. The complete list of the 2013 ACC Value Champions, along with additional details related to the Mondelēz International with Axiom Law submission can be viewed online at: www.acc.com/valuechampions.