Employee Interview: Sigrid Ackermann
Sigrid Ackermann is Head of Legal at the ARGO-HYTOS Group. She advises on legal issues and tasks throughout the company – a position that requires expertise, flexibility and negotiating skills.
MRS. ACKERMANN, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
As Head of Legal, I am the first point of contact for legal issues within the ARGO-HYTOS Group. My day-to-day work is essentially divided into two areas. On the one hand, I grapple with topics that can be summarized as “corporate housekeeping,” and on the other hand, I provide support when inquiries from our business or management arise. Reviewing and editing contracts or providing clarifications to authorities is part of that. Additionally, when external lawyers come into play, I take on the coordination. For example, during the due diligence process in the run-up to the takeover of the majority shares by the Voith Group, I served as a liaison between the ARGO-HYTOS companies and external lawyers.
LET’S STAY WITH THE VOITH GROUP FOR A MOMENT: HAVE YOUR TASKS CHANGED AS A RESULT?
Compliance in the sense of consistently observing legal regulations and applying high moral standards in everyday business is a lived principle of the corporate culture at Voith. With our belonging to the Voith Group, these guidelines laid down in the Code of Conduct also apply to us. As part of my responsibilities as Head of Legal, I also ensure that these guidelines are further implemented and anchored in the ARGO-HYTOS Group. Being part of the Voith Group also offers the opportunity to benefit from proven tools in numerous other areas, such as the electronic signing of legal documents.
CLIMATE CHANGE, SUPPLY CHAIN BOTTLENECKS, SHORTAGE OF SKILLED WORKERS, PANDEMIC: DOES THE PERMANENT CRISIS HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR WORK?
The crises also concern me personally – and of course have an impact on our business and my work. We have to talk to the customers if, for example, we want to increase the contractually agreed prices due to a general increase in raw material prices. Honest communication, flexibility and trust are crucial here. It is important to propose pragmatic solutions despite legal uncertainties.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU AS HEAD OF LEGAL?
My goal is to apply legal requirements and framework conditions in such a way that they are suitable for business. Clear formulations are important to me but also an appropriate balance between legal risks and business interests. If a business relationship is good, the contract stays in the filing cabinet. That is the ideal case. But the contract must provide clear and unambiguous answers if problems or questions arise.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR WORK?
When I can offer a value-added to the business. My internal “clients” can rely on me to provide them with competent and professional advice and support while I take responsibility for assessing the legal risks.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PASTIME?
I like to be on foot in nature or cities. And I am a passionate (train) commuter. Podcasts have been my latest discovery. I’ve become a real fan and especially enjoy listening to them when I am on a walk.