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Hicks Leads His Legal Team through Lincoln’s Digital Transformation
Kirkland L. Hicks holds an undergraduate degree in computer science from North Carolina A&T State University and a law degree from Duke University Law School. He’s on the board of visitors for both.
So when Hicks joined Radnor, PA-based Lincoln Financial Group as executive vice president and general counsel in 2015, his affinity for the law and for tech converged.
“Lincoln is in the midst of a digital transformation that will help us meet growing customer expectations,” indicates Hicks.
“From a legal standpoint we have to make sure that, among other things we’re undergoing, this transformation [takes place] without risking compliance or endangering customers’ information.”
His team’s role is “to help our colleagues navigate these challenges, by anticipating issues, finding compliant solutions, and also working with regulators to make sure they understand the changing environment and how it impacts our business and customers,” the legal executive details.
Hicks further oversees all activities for the legal, compliance, government relations and corporate secretary functions of the company.
Plus, he provides strategic counsel to the CEO, senior management team and board of directors as a member of the company’s senior management committee.
While this may be his first foray into the insurance industry, Hicks has built a foundation of broad experience that includes several successive senior counsel positions, as well as private practice work. His previous experience informs his current work at Lincoln Financial.
“Prior to joining Lincoln in 2015, I held a number of senior positions and ultimately served as vice president, general counsel and secretary at Towers Watson & Co. (now Willis Towers Watson),” elaborates the law executive.
“[And] prior to joining Watson Wyatt in 2000, I worked in private practice.”
Hicks has learned a lot about the industry via his current role. “It’s reinforced my belief that recruiting the right people can take a lot of work at the front end, but if you do it right, it’ll reap benefits over the long term.”
His experience has also taught him to be open and embrace change because it’s inevitable.
“It’s important to continually seek out new experiences, take advantage of training and accept challenging assignments so that you’re ready when the next opportunity comes along,” maintains Hicks, who’s also completed the Harvard Business School program for leadership development.
In addition, he advises young African-American professionals to not judge a book by its cover.
“In my career some of the people who’ve been most valuable in my development have been those who were most different than me,” Hicks adds.
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