Since joining search-powered solutions provider Elastic in May, Chief Legal Officer Carolyn Herzog has recruited and hired for several significant new positions.
These have included a government affairs leader; a vice president of business integrity and privacy; and a director of legal operations.
Herzog, an experienced legal department leader, said her approach to organizational design begins with determining where the business needs are being met and where there are opportunities to make improvements.
She also considers the professional development needs of her team members and “where there are gaps to enhance the team to support key company priorities.”
Overall, Herzog said when determining what new positions to create, she has been guided by not only what roles are needed to better support the legal department but which ones would also effectively aid the company as a whole. This approach is part of her belief in the legal department having a “one team mentality.”
“We really have to be business partners, and we have to think about what are the company objectives and how do we fit into those,” Herzog told Legal Dive. “I also think it is just much more satisfying for both our internal clients and for the team when we think about how we fit in and how we add value.”
Elastic is dual headquartered in the U.S. and The Netherlands, while also being listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The government affairs leader position is one that did not exist at Elastic until its recent creation, according to Herzog, and the person she has hired will start next month.
She said the role is an important one for Elastic because the company sells its products to governments around the world, including in the U.S.
The new leader will be expected to engage with government officials so they know who Elastic is and what the company prioritizes.
The new hire will also be charged with monitoring proposed legislation and regulations to determine how they would impact the company’s licensing, data privacy profile and business operations, Herzog said.
“Having worked with great government affairs professionals in the past — and knowing the priority that we were setting on our government business — this seemed like something that would add great value to the company,” Herzog said. “So when I suggested it, it was met with a great deal of enthusiasm.”
Business integrity and privacy
The vice president of business integrity and privacy is also a new position under Herzog’s umbrella.
Herzog said she thought it was important to have an elevated position overseeing both compliance and privacy activities.
She envisions the new leader, who recently started, supporting the broader business by helping ensure employees comply with key rules and regulations.
“You add value to the organization in creative ways by ensuring that people have the information that they need to know what the company expects of them for behavioral reasons,” Herzog said.
This clarity around expectations frees employees up to focus on important tasks, she said, such as making “our work in data privacy a business advantage for us because we're helping customers manage their data in really important ways.”
When it comes to legal operations, Elastic had some personnel focused on the function before Herzog arrived, but the company did not have a leader solely devoted to legal ops work.
Given the importance of legal operations, Herzog said she hired a new director of legal operations who joined the company earlier this month.
She expects the ops team to help the legal department function more like a business, including by identifying opportunities for efficiencies and helping implement a new contract lifecycle management (CLM) system.
The legal operations team is also developing a dashboard, with input from Herzog, to track the legal team’s progress on its objectives and key results (OKRs).
The legal team’s three business-focused OKRs are aimed at driving efficiency, business partnering and innovation, according to Herzog. An additional OKR calls for investing in the legal team’s professional development, as well as promoting DEI and the team's wellness.
The OKRs dashboard will be shared across the business as a new layer of transparency.
“Much of what we're doing is going to rely on resources from the rest of the company, so I want people to be on board with what we're doing,” Herzog said.