Venezuelan by origin, Diolimar García is the Corporate Legal Director of the Alarms and Corporate Affairs business of Prosegur for 26 countries, reporting directly to the Group General Counsel. With her, Iberian Lawyer was able to talk about innovation and how they apply technology to the company’s services, the recent agreement with Microsoft, or the daily challenges for professionals in the Legal department. This lawyer and mother of two, whose name links deity and sea, has a professional career worth knowing. She believes in meritocracy and equal opportunities for all those who, with effort, talent and passion, seek to achieve their professional goals.
Diolimar, how is Prosegur’s Legal department composed and structured? What business units do you lead from a Legal perspective?
Currently, Prosegur is present, with some of its business lines (Prosegur Security, Prosegur Alarms, Prosegur Cash, Cipher and Prosegur AVOS), in 26 countries on five continents. The group had a turnover of 3,463 million euros in 2020, has a team of more than 150,000 people and, together with Prosegur Cash, is the only listed Spanish security company, with all the rigour and Compliance with high standards of corporate governance.
The Legal area is structured in a Corporate Legal department managed by the group general counsel and deputy secretary of the Board of our parent company, Prosegur Compañía de Seguridad. The directors of each of the business lines are integrated into the Corporate Legal department together with the M&A Legal team. In addition, we have Legal counsels specialised in Corporate Governance, Private Security, Intellectual Property and other areas. Finally, in each of the countries in which we are present, we have a local Legal area that manages the country’s legal affairs and reports to the Corporate Legal Department.
In my case, I am the Corporate Legal director of Prosegur Alarms as a global business Legal partner, and to this responsibility, I add other cross-cutting projects such as Digital Transformation or Group Intellectual Property. I also lead the Causas Trabalhistas project in Brazil, which involves the direction and management of labour disputes in the country, where Prosegur has more than 60,000 employees.
You have been at Prosegur for four years, and before that, you worked for nearly ten years at Indra, the last five or so years being a global Legal manager. A priori they seem different sectors, although technology unites them, can you apply everything you have learned there?
Prosegur is a leading company in its sector, among other things, because it is a pioneer in the development and transformation of its services through the incorporation of technology. This way of acting of the company has notably intensified in recent years and, since 2018, Prosegur has taken a huge leap forward in everything that has to do with digital transformation, applying an intensive use of technology in all its lines of business, improving innovation, sustainability and excellence. Prosegur’s evolution ranges from our internal processes where we seek more agility, flexibility and scalability. For this, migration to cloud environments, the creation of our robotisation centre, which is a pioneer in the development of RPA in Spain, or the strengthening of our logical security processes is essential.
When we look at business, at Prosegur Security, the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things is transforming our operations. At Prosegur Cash, our developments in the automation of cash management with services such as Cash Today or the launch of a digital asset custody service such as Prosegur Crypto make the difference. Similarly, Prosegur Alarms is transforming its services since we consider that security will be a fundamental aspect in the new Connected Home. I would highlight services such as ContiGo, for the protection of people also outside the home. The Intelligent Alarm system -created on an artificial intelligence platform- learns the user’s habits and reminds him to set the alarm if he has not done so, thus avoiding being unprotected against forgetfulness and carelessness. Or Digital Security that provides its clients with the protection of the WiFi network at home.
This transformation process requires the accompaniment of lawyers who are experts in Information Technology and Intellectual Property.
For companies, it is essential to have professionals who are experts in the Legal aspects that are implicit in a change of this magnitude, since Digital Transformation requires adaptation to digital processes of the key areas of the company, ensuring Legal Compliance and protection of the interests of the company.
The implementation of all these changes and the incorporation of new digital projects in the company must be carried out under a planned, strict and supervised work methodology, but also taking care of all the legal details implicit in the selection of solutions or development providers, technology, software and equipment acquisition (contract negotiation, deliverables, penalties, risk analysis, contingency plans and information security) so that the Digital Transformation is safe, scalable, in the established times and adds true value to the company, increasing its competitiveness and avoiding putting the continuity of the business and its operations at risk.
Your company is characterised by being very innovative and always looking for new formulas to adapt to the client. Does this mean that they also have to be continuously updated in the Legal department? Do you like to face these new challenges?
No doubts. Prosegur wants to be an open company, in constant exploration, and with enough creativity to always have a new look at its sector and adapt to the needs of its customers. Also, ethical behaviour and responsible management in economic, social and environmental matters play a fundamental role in our business strategy. In fact, we have integrated the 17 United Nations Development Goals into this strategy, and we work directly on ten of them.
To accompany Prosegur in this ambitious challenge, the Legal area needs to be in continuous knowledge and training on the regulation of the sector, the use of new technologies such as Big Data and Machine Learning, Data Protection, Intellectual Property, Corporate Governance, among other areas. We are characterised by working under the Agile methodology for the development of projects that require speed and flexibility, ensuring that those responsible for the affected areas are involved in each of the tasks and processes, promoting the integration and development of the team spirit, participation and decision making.
I would also like to highlight the work of Human Resources that puts at our disposal various training tools in order to ensure the success of this transformation process that requires an evolution of our corporate culture. The Prosegur Corporate University has a fundamental role here, where we have training in these new work methodologies. In addition, the Prosegur Innovation Area, through the Prosegur Corporate University, offers us courses and webinars on the use of new technologies taught by professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
How do you handle Compliance? Do you have specialised Compliance officers dedicated to it – exclusively – in the company?
At Prosegur, we have an internal Compliance unit, independent from the Legal area and led by Prosegur’s chief Compliance officer, who has the support of the Compliance officers of each of the countries in which we are present, all of them specialised and with enormous experience.
Has the Alarms Business Unit, of which you are a global business Legal partner, led strategic projects worldwide? How was the impact of the pandemic on the business?
Prosegur Alarms recorded a reduction in sales of 29.6% compared to the previous year. The reduction in turnover volume was mainly due to the deconsolidation of Spain and the negative exchange rate in Latin America. In any case, the unit has reported positive organic growth of 15.9%, despite the slowdown in commercial activity in various geographies.
In this sense, I would like to highlight that the demand and the growth potential in the alarm business has been maintained. In fact, it is observed that the recovery of activity is very fast as soon as restrictions on mobility are lifted in the countries in which we operate. In the particular case of Spain, Movistar Prosegur Alarmas has quadrupled the historical growth rate in this market. And, in the set of geographies where this business unit operates, the Total Base of Connections at the end of the year exceeded 604,000.
In addition, you are the Legal director responsible for the management of Labor Litigation in Brazil, leading a local team of 30 people. Has the project success there?
The Causas Trabalhistas project in Brazil is recognised as a success story at Prosegur and is a good example of how, through technology, we are able to generate much more productive and efficient work structures.
When I assumed responsibility for this project, there were a high number of processes. We raised several Digital Transformation initiatives that involved both the optimisation of the team of lawyers and analysts; the development of a system that would allow managing, through a workflow, the entire life of work processes from registration to closure; the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the analysis and intelligent decision making to define if it is convenient to agree or litigate; the digitisation of the documentation of the entire working life of the employee; the robotisation of processes such as the registration of the litigation itself up to the payment process thereof; among others. Following the execution of these initiatives, we have managed to reduce the number of processes by more than half and have generated significant savings for the company.
As an expert in Legal/Corporate matters, you are responsible for managing and protecting the Intellectual and Industrial Property rights of the Prosegur Group. What are the most frequent issues that you have to lead from these specialities?
Intellectual and Industrial Property (IP) is one of the most valued assets of a company. However, in some cases, because we are unaware of the advantages of their protection, we ignore activating said protection and establishing policies that guarantee the ownership of rights against the competition. To this end, companies should have an internal comprehensive management model that promotes innovation and optimisation of internal processes.
In the process of innovation and Digital Transformation of Prosegur, it is essential to always keep in mind its intangible assets, legally protected under the form of Intellectual or Industrial Property. Ensure the exclusive rights over its inventions, designs, developments, integrated circuits, brands, signs badges, logos, commercial slogans and other elements related to the market, industry and commerce. In this sense, also the new developments and technological solutions in which Prosegur invests during its Digital Transformation must be protected under the same criteria, and the action of the expert lawyer in this matter will be decisive.
We have a Corporate Policy for IP Management as a fundamental pillar of such management. We have created an IP Committee to oversee the application and evolution of the Corporate IP Policy, and we have an IP Management Office, whose function is to help Prosegur manage its IP in a way that more effectively encourages its use and development for the sake of economic and social benefit.
We know that Prosegur’s Legal area is in the midst of Digital Transformation and is looking for innovative applications that help in document automation (RPA), among others. In what other phases or services is Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence being applied?
The Legal Area relies on the use of these tools to be more agile and efficient in the support services we offer to our internal clients. An example of this is the management of litigation in Brazil, which, as I have already mentioned, we have incorporated an algorithm that determines the probability of winning the process of reaching an agreement. In addition, we have robotisation tools to send Legal requirements, search for possible infringements of trademark rights or identity theft, among others.
We are fully aligned with the Digital Transformation of the company, and we are constantly looking for improvements in the development of our department. For example, one of the latest initiatives that we have promoted has been to join the Open Innovation program -Come In- of Prosegur, to search the entrepreneurial ecosystem for start-ups to help us implement a tool that automates the review and analysis of contracts. We are convinced of the benefits of using these technologies, although we ensure proper supervision of them, ensuring ethics, avoiding discriminatory biases in algorithms and invasion of privacy.
Prosegur also takes care of Security and Cybersecurity; proof of this is their recent agreement with Microsoft. How will this alliance impact the Legal area?
From the Legal area, I led the negotiation of the terms of this agreement with Microsoft. The alliance between the two entities will focus on accelerating the digital transformation programs in which Prosegur is immersed. We will add the Microsoft Azure platform and its Artificial Intelligence capabilities to our current technological architecture. With this, we want to accelerate the automation of processes, increase our connectivity, gain flexibility, optimise operations and, finally, achieve a more productive structure.
Always with the maximum guarantees in terms of Security, Information Privacy and Regulatory Compliance, aspects on which we work, from the Legal area.
The alliance will also establish working groups with the aim of promoting current Prosegur products and developing new services. As a result of these innovation initiatives, we hope to generate new intellectual property on which a totally differential value proposition will be built.
When it comes to external hiring in any matter, do you have “leading firms” or panels of usual firms, or are they open to change to try new options?
We rely on our Purchasing area in the selection of our external advisers. We opted for recognised firms depending on the matter and country in question, always open to trying new options.
A successful professional woman in the Legal field, has it been easy for you to combine your personal life with professional success? Do you think that real equality in the workplace is closer?
Being a lawyer is not easy for any of us who dedicate ourselves to this profession. Regulatory changes and the competitiveness of the sector, which is becoming more and more specialised, push us to be in constant training and growth.
In this sense, I am looking forward to two new projects. We started the first at the beginning of the year when Prosegur launched the #EmpoweredWomen Program. An initiative in which the company has identified a group of women with high potential and with which the company hopes to reinforce the presence of women in positions of responsibility. For this, we have an individualised career plan. In addition, we have internal networking sessions and group sessions with Promising Women every two months for two years.
In September, I will start a second project, and it is an Executive Program in Business Management and Administration by the EAE Business School to which I have accessed through a scholarship within its program for the development of female talent.
Finally, in the most personal aspects, I would like to highlight the importance of optimising the time to combine personal and professional life, knowing how to distinguish between what is urgent and what is important. I believe in meritocracy and equal opportunities for all those who, with effort, talent and passion, seek to achieve their professional goals. I trust in constant training, in knowing how to face difficulties with effort and a fighting spirit, in believing in ourselves, in learning to listen and consider the opinion of others. In this way, to be better every day to achieve leadership roles in strategic decision-making in the face of the challenges that the future holds for us.
By Desiré Vidal.
To read the full article on issue number 106 click here