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In uncommon move, Hindustan Unilever appoints its GC Dev Bajpai into board directorship

General <designation></p><p>counsel</designation> <lawyername>Dev Bajpai </lawyername>joins HUL board of directors

counsel Dev Bajpai joins HUL board of directors

Dev Bajpai, executive director legal & corporate affairs at Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), and vice president legal for South Asia at Unilever, has been appointed as executive director at HUL’s board of eight members.

In a statement last month, HUL chairman Harish Manwani said: “Under Dev’s leadership of the legal function, the company has set new benchmarks on corporate governance and ethics.

“Dev has contributed significantly to industry led efforts on matters requiring advocacy and legislative changes.”

51-year-old Bajpai, who holds a Delhi University law degree and is a fellow member of the Institute of Company Secretaries, had joined HUL from ICICI Venture Funds Management Company Limited, where he was a senior director legal & compliance.

According to Bloomberg, Bajpai was on compensation of Rs 4.4 crore $652,000) in 2016, of which around half consisted of stock options.

His remuneration is comparable to other director board members at the company.

Bajpai will be one of a small handful of general counsel (GCs) in India with a board seat on their company, such as Tata Sons group GC Bharat Vasani is another, sitting on the boards of several. Abroad it is rather more commonplace.

The perceived advantage is that the legal function of a company will be more tightly integrated into the day-to-day business of the company, and the board will get the advantage of instant takes or action on legal issues facing a company.

However, at many Indian companies the legal department has traditionally operated semi-independently from the other business functions.

After joining HUL, in May 2010, Bajpai had become executive director legal, company secretary and a member of its management committee.

In 2012, he also began taking charge of the corporate affairs function.

He had previously also worked at Maruti Udyog Limited, Marico Limited and Indian Hotels Company Limited.

We have reached out to Bajpai for comment.

In 2015, HUL senior legal counsel Rajendra Misra had joined Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces as general counsel (GC).

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