Zachary Raimi – HH Global
Before going to a big box store, maybe you learned of a sale ahead of time by reading an advertising circular. The store’s strength being inventory, not marketing, it must rely on other entities to promote its wares.
That’s where HH Global comes in, the London-headquartered international marketing services specialist with its Americas base in Chicago. The company is growing, and it’s built up its legal staff to further the cause.
“It’s a very dynamic company,” says Zachary Raimi, who’s soon to celebrate his sixth anniversary on the legal team and his first as general counsel for operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America. “Very entrepreneurial and with a fast-paced work environment.”
Formerly one of over 500 lawyers at Allstate Insurance Co. —100-plus just at its suburban Chicago headquarters—Raimi sought a role at a smaller company where he could make a more obvious difference, and he found it here.
A one-man Americas legal team for his first few years, he nurtured relationships within HH Global, established processes to have legal work reviewed, and identified regulatory compliant business strategies. As the company grew, the next step was introducing more efficient legal management, which he’s done through templates for contracts and, more recently and in partnership with his European colleagues, software that allows colleagues to submit requests for counsel.
“A fairly simple process,” he tells Vanguard in August. “Just fill an online ticket and, depending on which part of the world [you’re in], our team answers.”
Answering many calls
The calls do come, leaving Raimi with many details in which to contend. He oversees company lawyers in Chicago, Mexico and Brazil, and works with HH Global’s general counsel of Europe and Asia-Pacific in analyzing legislation as it pertains to the company’s interests.
Much of it is routine—each U.S. state, for instance, having its own rules on how a company must alert employees of their rights. Latin American countries and Canada have their own payment and workplace laws. While a British-based infotech team oversees cybersecurity, it’s up to Raimi to ensure HH Global’s compliance with evolving rules throughout the Americas.
He’s also had much integration to oversee, his employer acquiring several companies in the past year, including marketing execution specialist InnerWorkings Inc., which had been HH Global’s larger competitor as well as a NASDAQ-listed company that’s been taken private. “An incredibly intense process,” Raimi says of the months it took to seal the deal with assistance from the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis.
After years of Raimi being a legal department of one for the Americas, he appreciates having three lawyers—one each in Chicago, Brazil and Mexico—reporting to him to help integrate the newcomers. The extra staff has also kept busy integrating other recent acquisitions that include British-headquartered Adare International.
So the company is growing, albeit the legal staff will never be as gargantuan as the one he left at Allstate in October 2015 after an eight-year run.
Was in good hands
Career-wise, that long stretch was pivotal, marking Raimi’s move in-house after he had honed his skills in private practice and as a Cook County prosecutor following his 2000 graduation from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. But Allstate being such a massive operation, he often felt more bureaucrat than lawyer. A smaller company, one that offered autonomy, seemed more to his liking.
Not that HH Global is a small operation, per se, and with the autonomy came much learning, Raimi having to brush up on corporate law and international dealings as well as apply skills garnered from his Allstate tenure. In 2019 his position was upgraded from legal director of the Americas to Americas vice president and one year later to regional general counsel.
“It’s a faster pace than insurance and I was looking for that,” he says. “I also liked there being an international component though the bulk of work generated is in the U.S. There’s still exposure to legal issues in Latin America and Europe. It’s a good way to broaden horizons. I never did mergers at Allstate, and here we’ve acquired one of our largest competitors and taken it private.”
A personable type, he’s looking forward to knowing his direct reports better. COVID-19 travel restrictions have prevented Raimi from meeting with the Brazilian lawyer. He met the Mexican lawyer long-ago, but all the HH Global interaction has been virtual.
Still, he’s not one to micromanage. Hire those you trust and give them the support they need. It’s a collaborative mindset that’s welcome at HH Global as well as one of Raimi’s favorite extracurricular activities, the Association of Corporate Counsel.
A member of the Chicago chapter since 2008 and board member for part of that time, Raimi says it’s an ideal organization for networking, sharing ideas and scouting for talent. He chaired its pro bono and membership committees for several years.
Raimi was also recently named to the Community Relations Commission in his hometown of Deerfield, Illinois, and he assists in fundraising for the Deerfield Park Foundation.
One must manage time judiciously to juggle that load, says the married father of two children. His wife committed to healthy living and exercise, Raimi follows suit.
“But no real adventurous hobbies for me,” Raimi says. “I’m not a skydiver or scuba diver. Mainly, I’m helping HH Global grow, especially through mergers, and also focused on helping fledgling in-house lawyers expand their knowledge and presence through mentorship and providing legal resources.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Fall IV 2021 Edition here.
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