Georgina Mollick – apexanalytix
- Written by: Neil Cote
- Produced by: Victor Martins & Kirk Dyson
- Est. reading time: 4 mins
The fine print might have some eyes glazing over, but not Georgina Mollick’s. Bring on the devil-ridden details in the 50- to 100-page contracts she and her legal team negotiate, review and draft at apexanalytix.
The company provides global supply chain risk management software and services to Fortune 500 and Global 2000 clientele to manage suppliers, prevent fraud and identify overpayments to suppliers.
apexanalytix enters into thousands of complex and often-times long-term agreements to ensure business as usual for its clients. And each client—be it The Hershey Company, JetBlue, Northwestern Medicine or another large corporation—has its unique needs which apexanalytix strives to satisfy through its services, proprietary software and partnerships with companies that include Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce.
But first there’s getting the contracts inked with customers and partners, which has been Mollick’s primary responsibility as general counsel since October 2015. In working on SaaS agreements, services agreements, confidentiality agreements, procurement deals, or other contracts, she tries to make it a collaborative rather than contentious process.
“My philosophy is ‘a contract isn’t something for which you become prideful,’” she tells Vanguard in March from her office in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It’s not a novel or a poem or some work of art. It’s a business agreement that must be mutually agreeable and we look at each as the framework for a lengthy relationship.”
That changes the perspective, Mollick goes on to say. How can both sides come up with a resolution that neither may love but both can abide by?
A one-woman legal team when she came to apexanalytix, Mollick now oversees two lawyers and a paralegal, and the extra personnel is necessary. She expects to close around 2,000 contracts this year with almost all no match for the untrained eye.
Only her eyes—and ears—are keen. Negotiating, as she explains, is more art than science.
“We can’t just listen to what someone says. I tell my attorneys and interns to find the meaning behind it,” Mollick says. “Maybe they’ve been sued over an issue and don’t want to reveal the details. So, you notice in the course of negotiating that they’re sensitive about something. That’s where you peel back the issue in a way that doesn’t risk losing the contract.”
Many of the contracts she works on are for apexanalytix’s specialty services. One such service is recovery audit in which apexanalytix collects its fee for delving into a client’s payables data to find and rectify mix-ups in big-ticket billings.
And the company is only getting more sophisticated, with the global investment firm KKR acquiring a majority interest in it last year and apexanalytix recently purchasing ESG Enterprise.
As ESG’s name suggests, it’s a provider of environmental, social and governance management data, software and services. Modern investors often as concerned about climate change and carbon footprint as they are about returns, Mollick reckons her workload will increase as more companies harness apexanalytix’s broader variety of services.
Which, of course, is fine with her.
Doesn’t miss court
Only she didn’t begin her career as a negotiator. An Oral Roberts University undergrad who earned her juris doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law, Mollick honed her early skills as a litigator. Though that never was her primary interest, she’s glad for those years racking up billable hours at the firms.
“Having litigation experience makes you a better negotiator,” she says. “Pre-emptively, you think of what might end up in a dispute.”
After nine years in private practice, Mollick turned to contract administration for Computer Sciences Corp., in 2000. Around 18 months later, she began a two-year stretch as a senior supply chain business agent at Progress Energy, also in North Carolina’s Golden Triangle.
Then came the job she held for the longest time, managing brands, contracts and compliance for Scandinavian Child, a high-end distributor of juvenile products, from 2004 to 2014. Afterward she ran her own firm for one year and then applied for an in-house position at apexanalytix.
“The then-CFO said, ‘I like your business sense and you know how to read and negotiate contracts.’ They hired me the next day.”
Though the company wasn’t nearly as big as it is today—there’s now an India subsidiary and a Hong Kong office—Mollick still had her hands full with contracting as well as with immersion in the company’s other functions. Complex as the subject matter has become, she’s taken pains to understand it and expects those under her wing to do the same.
“We’ve got to know our services and offerings as well as any of the salespeople,” she says. “We’ve got to know how it works, what the legal issues are and what the other parties think about it. We’ve got to take it a step beyond the salespeople.”
Demanding as her position might be, she says it’s more family-friendly than private practice and what a learning experience apexanalytix continues to be. While she came to it reasonably well-versed about the tech world, she’s only grown more astute about the subject and finds it exhilarating to seal deals with some of the world’s largest companies.
“I don’t work any less than I did but for the past eight years I’ve had just one client and that’s Apex Analytix,” Mollick says. “I’ve really gotten to know the business and contribute to its development. I can’t wait to see where the company goes from here. I’m proud to play a part.”
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