Features

Larissa Ordoñez – Kantar 

She means business and data privacy at Kantar 

Specialized as her role might seem, Larissa Ordoñez still can be a generalist at the Latin American division of London-based marketing data behemoth Kantar. While her letterhead describes her as director of legal, privacy and compliance, she’s just as likely to weigh in on the commercial side. 

Larissa Ordoñez | Legal/Privacy/Compliance Director | Kantar 

Larissa Ordoñez | Legal Director Latam | Kantar

Such was the case when Kantar supported a client charged with regulating market competition in Brazil. During the meeting, Ordoñez identified that this regulatory body needed information from the client that another Kantar division could provide.  

She informed the client how it could purchase the data, thus opening another revenue stream for her employer while satisfying a sensitive area of customer service. It’s all part of what Ordoñez sees as the responsibility of an in-house legal department. 

“In my view, the legal department must help the company’s commercial interests, create trust among the sectors, be a trusted advisor and mitigate risk so projects can be carried out,” she tells Vanguard from Sao Paulo headquarters in January. “Also, it is extremely important that the legal department has a deep knowledge of the company’s business and products to identify growth opportunities.” 

Seamless transition 

Ordoñez has diligently focused on such initiatives since joining Kantar as a part of its acquisition of her former employer, IBOPE—the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics—in 2012. She participated in the change and transformation process, and though initially responsible for just the Brazilian operation, she undertook the standardization of legal matters for 17 Latin American countries in 2021. 

Larissa Ordoñez | Legal/Privacy/Compliance Director | Kantar 

High among her concerns is data privacy, with most of those countries adapting their version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect in 2018. Colombia and Mexico even beat the EU to the punch, its regulations taking effect in 2010. Her Brazilian homeland has joined Colombia in having the highest privacy standards while other countries play catch-up.  

Just last year, Kantar commenced operations in the Dominican Republic and is in growth mode. Though it would simplify matters if all of Latin America also signed on to a single set of EU-like rules, that’s not likely to happen, and thus, Ordoñez must mind volumes of cross-border details. 

“We do work with a very high degree of complexity, considering the need for adaptation and knowledge of the various legislation and legal requirements in all 17 countries,” she says. “For this reason, the company has a global compliance and data-protection program to ensure that all legal obligations are being complied with and observed.” 

Despite having a global program, Kantar has a decentralized approach, Ordoñez says, giving autonomy to local legal departments.  

“Those local departments have greater knowledge of local legislation,” she says.  

Data diligence 

Her diligence on data privacy complements Ordoñez‘s commercial role, a big part of it being the simplification of processes necessary to satisfy such big-ticket clientele as PepsiCo and Unilever. She’s implemented contract cycles and key performance indicators that enable optimal performance from her colleagues in other departments. 

An advantage stemming from this initiative is better flow for approval of claims. She explains that many clients create claims substantiated through Kantar’s data pool. 

Larissa Ordoñez | Legal/Privacy/Compliance Director | Kantar 

“For this reason,” Ordoñez says, “we understand the need to develop a flow for approval, avoiding disclosing incorrect information using Kantar as a source. This change generated a lot of security for the company in addition to providing peace of mind so our commercial team could continue with the approval of claims disclosed by our customers.” 

And there are other ways she’s stepping outside a just legal role in pushing Kantar forward. To her, DEI and ESG, as in diversity/equity/inclusion and environmental/social/governance, respectively, aren’t just ethically appropriate; they’re elements of a sound business model, and Ordonez is among Kantar’s leaders on these progressive fronts.  

She’s helped fashion a partnership with a Mexican packaging company for recycling as well as furthering Kantar’s sustainability credentials. She mentors Juridico de Saias, a program that prepares young women for leadership positions. 

“I see myself working increasingly on projects where I can demonstrate how to be resilient, adaptable and innovative,” Ordoñez says. “In my point of view, these are the most important soft skills today, enabling professionals to act as conciliators and equalize all areas for the same goal.” 

As to how she arrived in his position, Ordoñez attributes some of it to her father’s encouragement and, sometimes, pressure. She acknowledges not knowing which direction to go after high school, but her father pushed her toward law. One semester into Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, she was hooked on the subject and earned a master’s degree in civil procedure there as well as a postgraduate in contracting from Higher School of Law, also in Sao Paulo. She enjoyed the course so much that she taught at the college. 

Larissa Ordoñez | Legal/Privacy/Compliance Director | Kantar 

Ordoñez honed her skills at small and large firms before going in-house, which proved more to her long-term interests. Here, she must be more of a generalist and be ready to advise all departments. She’s learned how they all function, though legal, privacy and compliance are her chief responsibilities. 

It’s a heavy load to shoulder, but Ordoñez is nothing if not energetic. She enjoys dancing and martial arts. 

“I’m a very agitated person who needs to release my energy,” she says. 

That makes Kantar the right place to be, this being a company whose reach extends to a continent and the Caribbean.  

“I like the corporate world and seeing so many issues,” she says. “I see myself working with other countries, aiding our growth and creative processes with legal professionals everywhere.” 

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

Published on: February 26, 2024

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