What will be general counsel’s main role in post-Covid scenario?

The pandemic is changing the way business relationship are being made in terms of interaction. Inevitably, company will have to deal with this transformation in the near future. That’s why general counsel role could be crucial in one particular aspect: reputational risk management. This is not about marketing. Instead, reputation is more the result of expectation costumers, employees and external stakeholders may have towards the company.In an article Nir Kossovsky, Chief Executive Officer of Steel City Re, underlines that «reputation risk can destroy years of stakeholder-built enterprise value in a heartbeat».

During this times company’s stakeholders’ priorities may change as well as their expectations. In this scenario reputation risk is essentially a strategy risk to be tackled with corporate resilience campaigns ensuring consistency and stability to the external actors. In this landscape, general counsel can coordinate all of this by reporting to their boards, working side by side with risk managers and collecting feedbacks among all company’s department. In fast-changing and delicate times, their lead would so become crucial.

Specifically, general counsel should not tell the story of how the company is surviving the pandemic, but leading the orchestra behind. Coordination is the vital path leading towards a new market where corporate behavior expectations will be changed. Indeed, having a strong governance, the company can still be trustful in stakeholders’ eyes. Reputation risk is in fact the gap between stakeholders’ expectations and company’s ability to meet them.

Therefore, only understanding those expectations, gathering intelligence from across the enterprise, and ensuring systems are in place is an enterprise-wide endeavor. As Kossovsky points out in another insight published on Bloomberg Law, Gcs would have a «unique role» and, in particular, they will need to «memorialize the organizational roles and responsibilities of the enterprise reputation risk management apparatus: governance, leadership, controls, and instruments; validate the charter of a board-level authority overseeing reputation and its risk and, finally, coordinate and moderate communications to harmonize expectation».