Features

Vince Castiglione – Tata Consumer Products US 

The whole legal package at Tata 

There’s something ironic about how lawyers can passionately advocate on everyone’s behalf except their own. So noted Vince Castiglione after yet another reminder, this one at a bar association get-together last year in New York City. 

Vince Castiglione | Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary | Tata Consumer Products US 

Vince Castiglione | Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary | Tata Consumer Products US

Now in the backstretch of his distinguished career, the bulk of it in-house with corporations that understood the need for work/life balance, Castiglione says he didn’t hear too much about progressive employers at this event, especially not from his younger counterparts, who either were pressured into racking up 2,000 annual billable hours as private lawyers or expected to be on call 24/7 as in-house counsel.  

“This young guy is telling us how he was up at 2 a.m., nursing a baby while being pinged with e-mails about what awaited him a few hours later at the office,” Castiglione recalls. “He seemed in crisis. It was almost a cry for help. Something’s gone wrong with a profession when you’re not allowed “downtime” to be with your family. Your mental well-being is at stake.” 

Given his view, one might wonder how Castiglione keeps his bearings as a regional general counsel and legal team of one for India-headquartered Tata Consumer Products—part of the TATA conglomerate– which is home to such popular brands as Tata Tea, Tetley, Tata Salt, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Himalayan Water, Tata Sampann, Tata Soulfull, and others.  

It’s some regions Castiglione oversees from the legal end: the United States, Canada, and Australia. But as he emphasizes during a Vanguard interview, the company operates with farsighted, ethical protocols, and is respectful of not demanding more than he can give. 

Packaging and privacy 

That said, Castiglione’s is still a demanding role, given that consumer goods is a fast-moving, competitive, and constantly evolving industry.  

“We all eat and drink, and while this may make consumer goods recession-proof, we’re not immune to cost pressures,” he says in May from the central New Jersey home he shares with his wife and three cats. “The claims on the packaging also are quite important. If you say it’s natural flavoring, it better be.” 

Vince Castiglione | Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary | Tata Consumer Products US 

So Castiglione minds product labeling as well as other details, with data privacy among his priorities. According to him, it’s always a work in progress, particularly in the United States, where rules and regulations differ by state. Though the European Union is outside his work jurisdiction, he applauds it for the General Data Protection Regulation that took effect in 2018. It has since served as a role model elsewhere and in some states (like California). 

“The industry’s clamoring for a uniform Federal law, but it’s tough getting it through the legislative process,” he says. “We work towards compliance with the highest US-side standard, California’s CPRA (California’s  Consumer Privacy Rights Act).” 

While Tata primarily manufactures and wholesales, it does have online stores managed by a third party. Should a consumer share demographic details and product preferences—which many companies use to give better insight into consumer trends– Castiglione points out that the data will be retained according to the consumer’s specific consents. 

Consumer confidentiality  

Keeping tabs on those trends is of utmost importance for Tata, where much has changed since Castiglione joined in 2020 after a couple of years spent with legal engagements and caring for his aging parents following his departure from VF Corp., the Colorado-based former parent of Nautica. 

Vince Castiglione | Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary | Tata Consumer Products US 

The previous year, Tata Chemicals Limited—part of the umbrella TATA group– had “de-merged” its consumer products businesses into another group company,  Tata Global Beverages Limited, and the combined entity was rebranded as Tata Consumer Products Limited (“TCPL”). TCPL has since bought other companies in the food and beverage space, including its most recent acquiree, Capital Foods, owner of the Ching’s Secret and Smith & Jones brands. The company’s mandate is to significantly grow and diversify the business. 

“We were coffee, tea, water and spices, and now we’re in cereals, noodles, supplements and growing,” Castiglione says. 

While Castiglione’s main focus is not on mergers and acquisitions, he is the go-to for ensuring compliance with rules and regulations applicable to the consumer products space. He has also been heavily involved in a corporate simplification plan whereby TCPL is reducing its U.S. legal entity footprint to two legal entities for tax savings and overall efficiency. It’s a years-long, cross-function project that has called for his years of legal and business acumen—but well within his wheelhouse–and it’s all part of an in-house legal role at a multinational. 

Meaning business 

It’s also a role he seemed progressing to, even if not meticulously planned. A son of Italian immigrants to New York, his initial interest was mechanical engineering, and he earned a degree in it from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Yet, as an undergrad, Castiglione decided he didn’t want to be an engineer.  

“Good, put yourself in business,” his father advised. 

Father might have known best, but Castiglione’s path into business was through law. He stayed in Atlanta, earning his law degree at Emory University in 1989. He applied his engineering background as a patent attorney for five years at the New York office of a well-known intellectual property boutique, Morgan & Finnegan. That prepared the then 30-year-old for his first in-house role, the medical device company Becton, Dickinson and Co (“BD”), with broadening responsibilities he found more satisfying than “prosecuting”  IP itself.  

“What I loved about medical devices is that your work made a real difference,” he says. “Money is irrelevant when a parent thanks the company for a device that saved a baby.” 

Castiglione stayed in the life sciences industry after leaving BD in 1997, becoming head of IP at C.R. Bard in New Jersey for seven and a half years and then around one more year with Acusphere in Massachusetts. He then branched out into general law practice, with stretches as General Counsel for Coby Electronics Corp. and at the Nautica and Kipling brands of VF Corp. Interspersed were six years of volunteer service with the New York City chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, serving as President and Board Member. He also won ACC’s 2013 Member of the Year award. 

Castiglione was among many executives who weren’t retained when VF divested Nautica in 2018, but he considers it a blessing. He feels indebted to his parents, who sacrificed so much while positioning their son and daughter for a better life than they had before immigrating to the U.S. With a broad legal skillset gained across multiple industries, he could afford to be selective about his next role. 

He chose Tata because of the company’s progressive, highly inclusive culture and relatable business. He thanks and credits the company for interesting work that allows him to use the legal skills he’s acquired over 35 years of practice to help build the business. But even with a demanding job, he has a strong sense of work/life balance—one that encourages him and his wife to take time to pursue hobbies such as wine-making. 

“I wouldn’t call myself a gentleman farmer,” the “seasoned” Castiglione says. “But I’ve got four 120-gallon barrels in my basement. I mostly play with reds, which are more forgiving to a home winemaker than white varietals. And oh yes, I bottle and recycle!” 

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

Published on: June 12, 2024

regions:

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.

Testimonials

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.
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.
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.

LATEST EDITION

Summer I 2024

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

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