- In this episode of The Abstract, Tyler Finn interviews Gary Spiegel, former SVP and General Counsel at Anaplan. The podcast delves into Gary's early career and highlights his achievements as a legal leader in the industry.
Gary’s start with regulatory law and shift to the business side: 01:32
- Gary had a unique career start at the Federal Reserve Bank.
- His shift from the regulatory environment to the fast-paced tech world in Silicon Valley.
The journey from MySQL to Sun Microsystems to Oracle through multiple acquisitions: 06:58
- Shifting from a stable company like Adobe to MySQL to pursue growth opportunities like participating in an IPO.
- Essentially being part of the sales team as a lawyer at MySQL.
- Fostering unity, encouraging open discussions and collaboration within the team.
- Learning from uncertainty and business ups and downs, and being part of transformative events in companies’ history.
Supporting a company as its first GC and taking over the legal function from the CFO: 15:54
- Career progression from the role as a cloud attorney at LiveOps to first legal hire at Anaplan.
- Importance of personal connections leading to new job opportunities.
- Growing the legal function at Anaplan, from a single hire to a team of 20.
- Communicating Legal’s value in a start-up environment.
The right time to join a company as the first legal hire or GC: 22:22
- Evaluating one’s own career trajectory, goals, skills, and interests and aligning that with the company's needs and stage of growth.
- Choosing from a spectrum of roles for legal leaders, ranging from being an executive strategic advisor to a hands-on contract closer, to determine one's own fit.
- Coaching the leadership team, especially when it comes to start-ups, about what Legal’s role should look like in a company.
Behind the scenes to Anaplan's successful IPO: 27:18
- Motivation, dedication, and preparation are required to achieve a significant milestone like an IPO.
- What the prep stage looks like before planning an IPO, and where legal fits in.
- The importance of understanding the business and building strong relationships with key individuals and executives to ensure successful transactions.
- Having a project management mentality in your approach to IPO planning.
Thoma Bravo's acquisition of Anaplan and Legal’s role in ensuring success: 33:50
- Navigating take-private transactions and acquisitions, and the strategic thought that goes into it.
- Shifting focus from mass public investors to a single buyer.
- Secure the best deal for the company and investors through an accurate depiction of the company and comprehensive due diligence.
- Thinking about life after the transaction, once the previous investors are out of the picture.
Building a team of 20+ people and setting them up for success: 37:18
- Gary’s initial focus was on relieving his workload and addressing specific needs within the organization – “keeping himself sane”, as he puts it.
- When to hire flexible, multipurpose players who can react quickly to unknown scenarios vs people with specific skill sets.
- Building a strong culture around closeness, learning, and growth.
- The difference between hiring for public vs private companies.
Communicating the value of legal within the business: 43:00
- Nailing traditional legal work to build key relationships, then addressing the business's strategic needs and gaps.
- Taking on expanded roles such as compliance, HR, ESG, corporate governance, etc.
- Connecting different aspects of the organization through superpowers unique to lawyers, such as attorney-client privilege.
- Measuring the intangible aspects of Legal through relationship-building.
Leveraging legal expertise as a springboard into other roles: 49:18
- Fostering a culture of support and investing in the professional development of your team.
- Bringing your expertise into something adjacent.
- Seeking opportunities for cross-functional collaboration to align individual aspirations with corporate needs.
Strategies for managing stakeholder relationships and balancing legal support: 52:00
- Striking a balance between providing legal support vs handholding to ensure efficiency, using rules of engagement and service level agreements.
- Understanding business needs and differentiating where you need to act as a connective tissue vs take a step back.
- Being open to discussions at the executive level.
The future of in-house legal roles: 56:56
- The opportunity to extend beyond traditional legal work into strategic leadership positions through functional literacy.
- Balancing the expansion into other functions depends on individual career goals and the trust built within the organization.
- What’s next for Gary?