Philip Gu is a member of China Business Law Journal’s editorial board and General Counsel for Danone China, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers. From his office in Shanghai, Mr. Gu spoke to Donald Gasper.

Philip Gu, General counsel, Danone China
Philip Gu
General counsel
Danone China

CBLJ: What attracted you to the legal profession?

PG: My grandfather used to work in the East China High Court. Later he taught in Fudan University, becoming dean of the Law School. My father also started working in the court and later became a lawyer – so I’m the third generation. I took a master’s degree in law from the East China Institute of Politics and Law and subsequently worked there as a lecturer. After passing the Chinese bar examination in 1988, I became a lawyer in the Shanghai No. 7 Law Office and worked simultaneously as the director of the international department of Shanghai Foreign Economic and Law Consultancy Centre during the 1990s.

CBLJ: When did you join Danone? What have been your responsibilities there?

PG: I joined Danone in 1999. Besides handling all its legal issues,I was also the board secretary for Danone-invested companies in China and participated in all board meetings of each Danone company in China. So I became quite involved in the business and learned how the top-level management shaped the company, set the targets, and adjusted the structure and strategy for doing business in China. I also worked with many of the local business partners – we started with joint ventures, so we had local partners to deal with. Like all legal counsel, we have daily work like checking contracts, helping companies solve disputes with business partners, going through arbitration procedures, negotiations, settlements – all these things.

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