Canadian Lawyer InHouse

November/December 2019

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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40 GC PROFILE lion-dollar restructuring meant that around 2,000 jobs were eliminated globally, including his own. Maharaj had to participate in the closure of the Kellogg cereal plant in London, Ont., which he found very challenging. "That was a very difficult project, but we tried to deal with it in a very compassionate way," he says. Following the restructuring at Kellogg, Maharaj returned to Fasken Martineau in 2014 to undertake a variety of client develop- ment and transaction management responsi- bilities. Drawing on his global contacts, the role involved sourcing mergers and acquisitions for clients of the firm and developing the business. In 2016, Maharaj accepted the general counsel role at Kraft Heinz where he currently runs a legal team of three lawyers and one paralegal. His multi-faceted role covers areas including M&A, crisis management, government relations, corporate social responsibility, adver- tising and marketing law and labour and human resource matters. Among his many achievements at Kraft Heinz, Maharaj recently led the company's efforts to sell its Canadian natural cheese business to Parmalat in a $1.62-billion deal, which enabled the organization to pay down debt. As part of the deal, which closed this year and was aided by partner Fasken Martineau, Kraft sold its production facility in Ingleside, Ont. and transferred some 400 employees from that facility to Parmalat. "That was a very exciting deal for the team here because it was such a large transaction for the food industry," says Maharaj, who also spearheaded Kraft Heinz's acquisition of "In essence, we have two great partners that enable us to expand our legal advice without the worry of cost because we have a fair degree of cost certainty over more than 70 per cent of our legal spend." AV MAHARAJ CAREER HIGHLIGHTS Name: Av Maharaj Company: Kraft Heinz Canada Title: VP, legal, corporate affairs and human resources Age: 49 Years in the industry: 21 Career highlights: Being chairman of Legal Leaders for Diversity and being named as in-house counsel of the year by the South Asian Bar Association Career lowlight: Participating in the closure of the Kellogg cereal plant in London, Ont. Ethical Bean Coffee last year. The future looks bright for Maharaj, and he anticipates many more opportunities at Kraft Heinz. "The great thing about this organization is they don't care about your background," he says. "They care that you are smart,pas- sionate about your business and ambitious to take on more. The opportunities here are unlimited." GC PROFILE

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