Features

Diana Marietti – Daikin Applied Americas, Inc.

Imparting legal knowledge for global business success

Words can be beneficial—or, if used incorrectly, lead to catastrophic consequences. At Daikin Applied Americas, Diana Marietti ensures people understand the impact of actions and words.

She has firsthand knowledge of the power of words with over 26 years of legal experience as an associate, public defender and in-house counsel for various international companies like MoneyGram and Honeywell.

In 2014, she became Daikin Applied’s senior legal counsel and was promoted to director of legal and senior counsel in July 2022. Daikin is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

Diana Marietti | Director Legal, Senior Counsel | Daikin Applied Americas, Inc.

Diana Marietti | Director Legal, Senior Counsel | Daikin Applied Americas, Inc.

Based in Miami, Florida, Marietti guides the company through the minefield of legal documents and international transactions, such as complex international and transactional agreements, proposals, litigation pleadings, fraud and ethical investigations, and mergers and acquisition deals and integration.

She works closely with the C-Suite as well as with the sales team, counseling them on various legal matters and the mitigation of risk. She helps them understand the consequences of key legal clauses and how certain language may be problematic. For instance, if someone in the operations or sales team promises unfeasible equipment delivery dates, this may result in the company becoming liable for damages and costs of delays—even if the date was never specified in the contract.

“If we give a date, we could be agreeing to liquidated penalty damages each day the equipment is not delivered, which can lead to month- or year-long litigations,” she says.

She explains to those outside the legal department who deal directly with clients how the equipment is coming from the main headquarters located in Japan and other Asian countries, although it sometimes comes from the U.S. Even before supply and labor delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the equipment may have been on backorder or delayed due to transportation issues beyond the company’s control.

“I want every person to be empowered and independent, to understand exactly why they can or cannot offer a client something even if they have zero legal knowledge,” Marietti says. “That’s why they don’t feel they have to turn to legal for everything even though we’re always double-checking and reviewing things.”

Knowledge is legal and business power

Marietti imparts this knowledge through conversations but also through structured training sessions she develops with the input of her team—and when she identifies the gap in knowledge for Daikin Applied’s sales personnel.

Before the pandemic shutdowns and quarantines, she used to conduct the training in person, using a slide deck she developed. For the past few years, she’s created a virtual version of these trainings but is excited to return to in-person before the end of the year. Her favorite slide is of a sinking ship, which usually elicits laughter—while underscoring how one seemingly small error can rapidly escalate.

“It’s not a scare tactic, rather a way for them to understand the importance of attention to details, even in how they speak to clients,” Marietti says.

Diana Marietti | Director Legal, Senior Counsel | Daikin Applied Americas, Inc.

When she joined the company in 2014, it had just created three new entities in Chile, Peru and Colombia—and she created specific forms and contracts with certain terms and conditions relevant to each of these areas. Since then, she’s expanded the company’s contract template portfolio quite extensively with her knowledge of the Americas, to cover all the different services offered by Daikin Applied, which now operates in more than 40 countries in Latin America and owns more than 30 subsidiaries.

“I remind our executives and sales force that Daikin is the leading global company, and so I want to ensure they are empowered when negotiating with other companies, from the start of client conversations to the very end,” Marietti says. “We can and very much should start on equal footing, which is why best practices are so important to our success.”

The comfort of legal

These legal best practices will come into play daily, particularly this year, as Daikin Applied recently began offering Comfort-Loop, a new service in its quest to continue its strong market share as an HVAC commercial manufacturer and distributor in Latin America.

This service allows clients to, in a sense, rent equipment that Daikin Applied designs and manufactures as well as services and maintains for a monthly fee. Marietti explains it allows clients to replace obsolete equipment with Daikin Applied’s without investing much money upfront.

“There’s been a need for this in the Latin American market, something we’ve seen reflected in our increasing sales,” she says.

Diana Marietti | Director Legal, Senior Counsel | Daikin Applied Americas, Inc.

She adds the best part is that clients aren’t just saving time and money but also the planet, as every Daikin Applied product is built to be highly energy efficient. In fact, the company has discontinued using certain refrigerants and replaced them with those that have a lower impact on the climate and environment.

“We’re helping Latin American companies reduce energy consumption and their carbon footprint,” Marietti says.

This type of work is one of the reasons she’s stayed with the company for so many years. She also loved the challenge of entering a company as soon as it had created three new entities. She already had experience covering Latin American arms of companies, practicing international law and using her Spanish due to her second in-house counsel position as a senior legal counsel with MoneyGram International from 2006 to 2009 and her position with Honeywell.

“Daikin Applied brought me to Miami, and I loved my new residence—much warmer—and the work I get to do helping get our wonderful products to companies across Latin America—and I’m excited to help to keep growing,” Marietti says.

View this feature in the Vanguard Fall II 2023 Edition here.

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