Features

Christian A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra – Telefónica del Perú

Telefónica del Perú legal leader makes company transformation the destination

Christian A. Hudtwalcker has a passion for motorcycles that has imbued his legal work as general counsel and vice president of legal, regulatory and public affairs for Telefónica del Perú.

Although he began riding his BMW 800 motorcycle some years after he joined the Peruvian telecom, he has logged more than 50,000 kilometers, or 31,000 miles, riding throughout the country since learning to ride.

For Hudtwalcker, it’s all about the journey—getting up early on a weekend to explore and experience new and old favorite roads.

Christiann A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra | General Counsel, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs | Telefónica del Perú

Christiann A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra | General Counsel, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs | Telefónica del Perú

The destination for Telefónica del Perú is more important, of course, and Hudtwalcker is enjoying a guiding role in a digital transformation for a department that was accustomed to endless paperwork.

He says the company and its legal, regulatory and public affairs team’s transformation requires committed and clear leadership from the company’s C-suite to communicate what’s needed. But for him, getting there is half the fun, if not more.

“It’s not the final destination but rather enjoying the journey; that’s what the motorcycle has taught me,” Hudtwalcker says. “I try to enjoy every second of the way.”

Paring the processes

Telefónica del Perú will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary. It currently provides mobile and fixed broadband connectivity services, including high-speed fiber optics, to more than 15 million residential and commercial customers while operating as part of the Movistar brand.

“We are the main player in the sector and provide internet—broadband, TV and mobile telephony services,” Hudtwalcker says.

He’s been part of the company’s legal team since August 2006; he joined Telefónica del Perú after working as a litigator in a private practice.

At that time, Telefonica’s legal department had a staff of more than 30 who dealt deal with approximately 11,000 legal proceedings throughout Peru’s court systems as claimants or defendants.

Christiann A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra | General Counsel, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs | Telefónica del Perú

Hudtwalcker began evaluating how the litigation was being managed, including data administration and the use of external counsel. He and his team reviewed all the processes, which involved some other company areas and third parties.

Outdated and inefficient processes were eliminated, the external counsel policy and compensation model was reorganized and cases were reassigned among outside counsel to give the firms a wider perspective of the different problems and issues Telefonica faced.

Eventually, legal proceedings were cut by more than half. Additionally, updated and more collaborative processes improved efficiency by providing prompt documentation needed internally and by external counsels, Hudtwalcker says.

“When we began looking, we saw things with a more integrated view, and we were able to use the information to prevent litigation in the future because we knew what to do better inside the company, too,” he adds.

Time to transform

Hudtwalcker says the improvements in managing litigation signaled a larger transformation at Telefónica del Perú that’s been underway since about 2019. His professional transformation from private practice litigation included becoming general counsel and then leading the regulatory and public affairs departments has accompanied those processes.

He and his team members were part of an internal transformation department that began by creating a transformation committee. The committee identified and accounted for all the processes within the department and the transformation objectives and continues to monitor those objectives.

A part of the transformation has included skill building within teams and training in new methodologies and ways of working, including digital solutions, Hudtwalcker says.

For instance, his team has implemented tools including Checkbox, a workflow automation platform powered by artificial intelligence, and LegalEx for contract management.

Christiann A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra | General Counsel, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs | Telefónica del Perú

The transformation has also included eliminating some employee office spaces while adding flexible workspaces to promote a more collaborative environment.

“We were part of the collaborative work pilot project with other areas, which meant that we had to work differently, and it was necessary to transform ourselves,” Hudtwalcker says.

However, the people are the most important component in the transformation, and accepting and guiding change begins with leadership, Hudtwalcker says.

“We define premises and work to which resources and time must be dedicated,” he adds. “It must be sustained and involve leaders to be clear about the goals and objectives we want to achieve when transforming.”

Making relationships count

Hudtwalcker, born and raised in Perú’s capital of Lima, says he always enjoyed discussing issues and solving conflicts as he grew up—a good path for a legal career. He earned his law degree from Universidad de Lima in 1998 while also serving at the firm of Benites, Forno & Ugaz, Abogados.

In private practice, Hudtwalcker was a litigator and worked with corporate restructuring. After becoming a senior associate, he journeyed to Belgium to earn his Master of Law in International Business degree from KU Lueven in 2005.

Christiann A. Hudtwalcker Zegarra | General Counsel, Vice President Legal, Regulatory and Public Affairs | Telefónica del Perú

Hudtwalcker, who’s also raising three children with his wife, says moving from litigator to general counsel has been rewarding because it gave him a broader perspective on the value of his in-house team’s contribution to the company.

“We’re seeking to improve our relationship with the client, and to improve attention and service and for them,” Hudtwalcker says. “We’re focused on a digital transformation to provide better service to our clients and promote the development through our tools.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Winter I 2024 Edition here.

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