International law firm Mayer Brown has appointed Annette Sheridan to the newly-created position of global chief human resources officer.
The creation of this role, and further integration of firm-wide HR processes and organisation, is designed to support a new phase of knitting together the Mayer Brown global family.
The firm has been involved in a number of mergers in recent years, including a 2001 merge with Lambert & Lee in France and Gaedertz Rechtanswalte in Germany, 2008’s merge with Asian law firm JSM, and the forging of a partnership in 2009 with Brazilian law firm Tauil & Chequer.
Sheridan said that a key focus in her new role would be balancing creating a more unified Mayer Brown global identity, with respecting the importance of regional cultural difference.
“The global element is that to be successful globally you do need a global culture where you take best practice around the world and embed it there,” she said, adding: “I think we are very good at identifying good and trying to grow that across the organisation.”
“I think a global culture matters but at the same time countries have got to be allowed to create their own unique culture if you want to engage and attract people,” she said. “Everyone has a very unique style; it’s about bringing those together. I think our culture is evolving; we are trying to do that to accommodate our growing family.”
Sheridan added that secondments were a good way of creating a unified global culture. But warned that these should only be short term to ensure ex-pats weren’t in danger of subsuming a particular global branch’s specific culture.
“Secondments are absolutely key to building the culture and values of the organisation. But they do need to be short term to ensure it’s about sharing skills and knowledge without overwhelming the values of the local business.”
Sheridan moves to her new role from chief operating officer for the London office. She joined Mayer Brown in 2006 as director of human resources and has held a number of senior HR management roles in the financial services, legal and healthcare sectors.