Evbodaghe’s career at GSK began nearly FOUR years ago in the company’s Nigeria office as a Legal/Compliance Services Manager & Assistant Company Secretary. After her first year, she moved to GSK’s office in the United Kingdom where she has been responsible for driving the company’s anti-counterfeiting agenda for its Consumer Healthcare, Pharmaceutical and Vaccines businesses across the EMEA region - 130 countries.
“My role requires extensive planning and developing strategic programmes for the markets I support. It also involves high level internal and external stakeholder engagements and capacity building for regulatory and law enforcement officers as well as the management of the external counsel we work with across these various countries,” says Evbodaghe.
Her legal career has been a very rewarding one. She began with private practice at two leading law firms in Nigeria – Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun (ACAS-Law); and George Etomi & Partners (GEP).
“But I knew from my first year as a Litigation Associate at ACAS-Law that my interest was in corporate law, which was why I moved to the commercial law firm of GEP (as I couldn’t easily switch between departments at ACAS-Law.”
“I have always been intrigued about understanding what drives commercial thinking and key business decisions of the firm’s clients. While at GEP, I acted as the Company Secretary to corporate clients including Transcorp Plc, so I knew I would thrive as an in-house counsel. I was pleased when I was offered an in-house role with the Silverbird Group, a leading mass media and entertainment company in Nigeria. This paved the way for my in-house career journey,” says Evbodaghe.
Joining the Silverbird Group in 2009, she set up the company’s legal department from scratch. Within a year, she was promoted to the role of Company Secretary in addition to her role as Head of Legal, making her the most senior female employee at that time. This role covered Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Within four years, Evbodaghe was again promoted to the role of General Manager, Corporate Services, overseeing the Legal, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs teams with a team of more than 50 employees.
“Having attained the highest employee position at the Silverbird Group, I knew I was ready for bigger challenges in a multinational, so when Guinness Nigeria Plc (a Diageo Company) approached me for the role of Senior Commercial Legal Manager, I accepted with a lot of expectations, which opened me up to bigger opportunities in the global business world.”
Her last role with Guinness was as Ag. Legal Counsel at Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, where she was part of the executive team overseeing the Legal and Brand Protection teams.
Evbodaghe says her current role at GSK involves much travel to different countries, which has been impossible since February 2020 when the pandemic heightened.
“But technology has bridged the gap and our new reality is that virtual is the new way of working. GSK is also very up-to-date with technology and necessary tools to aid our work.”
She considers herself very fortunate to have had a very rewarding and exciting legal career. “I have acquired diverse international experience in media, entertainment, real estate, retail/FMCG and now pharmaceuticals which gives me a global advantage as an all-rounder. Setting up a legal team from scratch and working across several jurisdictions remains a key highlight of my career. I have also represented my employers before different courts including Kenya and Mauritius, where I worked temporarily.”
Evbodaghe obtained her LL.B and LL.M from the University of Lagos. She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK). Outside of work, she enjoys travelling and documenting memories through pictures. She also runs an online fabrics business with her sister which was born out of her passion for style.
To young lawyers, she says, “Devote your first two years to learn the application of the law to situations and identify what area of law gives you joy. Take criticism openly and work hard. Never be afraid to speak and express your opinions, but be well prepared and speak intelligently. Always be a business enabler and not a business killer”.
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