A. Shanmuga Sundaram is the General Counsel at ITC Limited. He heads a 60-member strong team, including about 45 lawyers, at the organisation which is a successful conglomerate with a strong presence in about a dozen business verticals. Besides advising the company and handling a variety of legal issues, he assists in resolving complex deals across all its businesses. In addition, he trains and leads his team, ensuring that it is fully capable of delivering end-to-end legal services to the company.
He cut his teeth on writs and other litigation – civil and criminal – at the Madras High Court, before moving in-house. After his foray into the real-estate and petrochemical sectors, Shanmugam joined ITC in 1997. He was soon noticed for his versatile legal knowledge and matchless skills for deftly handling sensitive legal issues.
Shanmugam played a crucial role in closing several acquisition and divestment deals of vital importance to the company. With his nuanced understanding of facts and law, he has been a key factor in the successful closure of disputes in several areas of law, including trademarks, corporate law, taxation, labour and commercial disputes.
He has written numerous scholarly articles published in renowned journals including the Supreme Court Journal, Labour Law Journal, Andhra Law Times, Karnataka GST Law Journal and the Current Tamil Nadu Cases.
Enjoyment of my role stems from two aspects - first, the recognition and trust reposed by a multi-business organisation of the size and stature of ITC Ltd., in one’s ability to advise on all legal matters, and protection of the organisation’s interests; and living up to the organisation’s expectations. Second, being able to groom the next generation, and watching them grow in leaps and bounds
Sundaram “is an astute lawyer with a good mind for legal strategy. He has a good understanding of the legal system and is also very pragmatic in his approach to legal matters. Being the head of the legal department of a large diversified corporation, he has to weigh in on a variety of issues from patents, anti-counterfeiting, protecting our brands, taxation matters, jurisdictional matters, as well as handling all legal challenges which he has done with ease"
Director, ITC Ltd.