September 13, 2023 – Boutique search firm BarkerGilmore, which specializes in building corporate legal and compliance teams, has expanded with the addition of Laura J. Schumacher as a senior advisor. In this position, Ms. Schumacher will provide guidance and professional development to general counsels and other executives. She brings expertise in the healthcare industry to the firm’s healthcare and life sciences practice.
“We are thrilled to welcome Laura Schumacher to the BarkerGilmore team,” said Robert Barker is co-founder of BarkerGilmore. “With her unparalleled expertise in healthcare and life sciences, legal, compliance, and corporate governance, Laura’s vision and leadership promise to elevate our executive coaching and advisory services. Her track record speaks volumes, and we look forward to the immense value she will bring to our clients.”
Ms. Schumacher brings over 18 years of C-suite experience, having served as an executive leader and general counsel at two Fortune 100 companies. She most recently served as the vice chairman of external affairs and chief legal officer of AbbVie, from its creation in 2013 until her retirement in March of this year, where she guided a staff of more than 700 to fulfill AbbVie’s purpose-driven mission to drive continuous innovation, improve health outcomes and enhance people’s lives. She built and directed numerous high-impact functions, including legal and compliance, business development, government affairs, health economics outcomes research (HEOR), brand and communications, and corporate responsibility.
Her experience also includes serving as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Abbott Laboratories for many years, where she led a global legal and compliance organization of approximately 500 employees covering multiple operating business units, including pharmaceuticals (proprietary and established), diagnostics, devices, and nutritional products.
Currently, Ms. Schumacher is a director at General Dynamics, where she is the chair of the compensation committee and lead director, and at CrowdStrike, where she is a member of the nomination and governance committee. In addition, she has board experience from several prominent non-profit organizations, including Ronald McDonald House Charities and the AbbVie Foundation.
Legal Recruiting Professionals
BarkerGilmore is a boutique firm specializing in executive search and selection in law and compliance. With a network of advisors and recruiters spanning the U.S., BarkerGilmore consistently places talent at leading consumer, energy, financial, healthcare, industrial, and technology companies.
John Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner, has over 30 years of executive search experience. He has developed trusted relationships with general counsel and C-suite leaders across the country. With a profound institutional understanding of how in-house legal and compliance departments function most effectively, Mr. Gilmore has earned a reputation as one of the top executive search consultants for general counsel and chief compliance officer placements.
Inside the High Demand for General Counsel Leaders
The legal and compliance market is booming. The number of in-house lawyers and law firm partners with aspirations of becoming a general counsel is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, landing the position is a challenge. Every search has specific criteria established by the executive leadership team and board which must be met. Some of the criteria could include specific industry experience or business knowledge, a background in public company securities and governance, as well as expertise in regulatory, compliance, litigation, M&A, employment/labor law, intellectual property, government relations, leadership, career track record, law firm training, law school ranking, and the list goes on, according to Robert Barker, co-founder and managing partner of BarkerGilmore, which specializes in building corporate legal and compliance teams.
“Keep in mind cultural fit and soft skills which cannot be found on the resume are equally important,” he said. “And diversity can play a major factor in the CEO and board’s final decision. Most are using the general counsel position as a means of adding diversity to the executive leadership team,” he added. The demand for excellence is understandable as the general counsel plays such a critical role. One wrong answer or move during the interview process can lead to immediate disqualification. “Even after an offer is made, any red flag demonstrating a lack of judgment or ethics discovered during the background investigation will lead to a retraction,” said Mr. Barker.
Mr. Barker is co-founder, managing partner, and chair of the industrial practice at BarkerGilmore. He brings over three decades of executive search and international business experience to his clients. Mr. Barker has successfully managed general counsel and chief compliance officer engagements for mid-sized to Fortune 500 companies, including consumer, energy, financial, healthcare and life sciences, industrial, non-profit, technology, and private equity industries. Clients rely on Mr. Barker for advice and counseling both during and after the engagement.
BarkerGilmore recently assisted in the recruitment of Babatunde Awodiran as the new senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of XPEL, a global provider of protective films and coatings, in San Antonio, TX. The search was led by Stephen Bell, a managing director with the search firm.
“Partnering with and learning about Tunde’s impressive climb to becoming a general counsel was a stimulating journey,” said Mr. Bell. “Tunde’s humility and devotion to bettering himself and those around him has led to numerous promotions and opportunities to partner with executive teams and the business. Tunde does not take these opportunities for granted and is focused on helping those around him achieve their goals.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media