Hector Garcia – Bayer (Andean)

Second time's a pharm

Say you’re a general counsel for a major corporation. A modest acquisition—something in the seven-to-nine-figure range—might take up a few months of bandwidth, not including the integration process that can stretch on for years. If the company’s really in growth mode, maybe you handle more than one.

And Bayer’s recent $62.5 billion acquisition of agribusiness giant Monsanto?

“This has been the most important project for our department by far,” says Hector Garcia, head of legal and compliance for Bayer’s Andean operations. “The coordination alone has really tested the department. But I feel we’ve handled it very well.”

Hector Garcia – Bayer (Andean)

The deal stands to reshape human health and wellness, addressing global hunger by combining cutting edge agricultural research and development with a truly global supply chain. Simply put, it’s a big deal, and Garcia’s team is right in the thick of it.

Positive contract

In 2016, Garcia’s Andean-based team began obtaining antitrust approval from authorities in Ecuador and Colombia, two of the four countries under the company’s regional purview. The other two, Peru and Venezuela, didn’t require antitrust compliance.

“We had to prove that the acquisition is feasible and viable in both of these countries, while at the same time, following all regulatory and legal requirements,” Garcia explains. “Different countries have different burdens of proof. So, for example, Ecuador adopted much stricter regulations in 2011. So we had to account for that.”

Because Monsanto also had business lines throughout the region, Garcia’s department had to create agreements for each acquisition, outlining everything from personnel retention to contracts with distributors and vendors. According to Garcia, each aspect of the contract had to be reviewed in tandem with the law firm coordinating the global transaction.

As part of the wider merger, Bayer was required—per the wider agreement—to divest from some of its existing holdings, a process that required a separate litany of contracts and agreements.

Same page

Daunting as the process has been, Garcia says the merger helped usher in a new era of efficiency for his 13-person department. That includes a new contract-management protocol which allows anyone in the company to request contracts and addendums through an easy-to-use digital platform.

Separately, Garcia’s department developed an integrated compliance management system designed to minimize risks across nine areas of business. Through an icon on their computer desktop, every Bayer employee can now access straightforward, up-to-date information regarding a variety of compliance issues, from anti-corruption to privacy protection.

Hector Garcia – Bayer (Andean)

“It can be very difficult to innovate within a legal department,” Garcia explains. “But by doing little things differently—that’s innovation. So we took the tools we have and simplified them, and that’s putting the department in a very positive light as a business partner.”

It’s that kind of forward-thinking approach that helped propel Garcia to head of legal for the entire Andean region in 2015, four years after joining Bayer’s Venezuela office. Getting that first foot in the door, however, took even longer—and more than a little career soul-searching.

Second chances

Even before graduating from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in his native Venezuela in 2002, Garcia had already launched his legal career as an assistant for the Caracas firm of Hoet, Pelaez, Castillo & Duque (HPCD).

Already set on a path in international business, Garcia bolstered his academic bona fides with a uniquely impactful postgrad sojourn: an MBA from Spain’s Pompeu Fabra University in 2005.

Upon returning to Venezuela, Garcia rejoined HPCD, this time as an associate. Focusing on corporate litigation, he did considerable work on behalf of Bayer’s growing regional operations. So when a position opened to essentially create the company’s legal department, Garcia jumped at the chance.

“I was one of three candidates they brought in to interview,” Garcia recalls. “I remember them telling me I had more of a profile of a law-firm lawyer. So I knew I needed to improve my experience.”

In 2009, Garcia’s firm arranged for him to spend a year at the Miami practice of Greenberg Traurig, a longtime partner of HPCD, that helped give Garcia the international business experience he so desired.

Eager for a move in-house, Garcia returned to Venezuela and was immediately contacted by Laboratorios Vargas, a “big but family-owned” pharmaceutical company that was likewise looking to fine-tune its legal function. Despite warnings that the firm’s growth opportunities were modest at best, Garcia forged ahead, determined to further strengthen his credentials.

By 2011, Bayer was once again looking for someone to head its legal department. This time, the company called Garcia. Within five years, he had made Colombia’s Legal 500, an annually-published list of top lawyers and law firms.

“You can be disappointed, so long as you’re determined,” Garcia says. “This is very much what I envisioned myself doing.”

Just the outlook for a newly merged company with a big bottom line—and even bigger ambitions.

Published on: June 19, 2018


categories: , ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.


Fall II 2021



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.