New Seal Software CEO John O’Melia on what the management shake-up means for the business

Contract analysis specialist Seal Software has appointed a new chief executive and president, as well as introducing a new board-level position focused on accelerating strategic growth initiatives.
Having grown the business from a start-up in 2010, former CEO Ulf Zetterberg will now take on the newly formed role of executive vice-chairman where he will focus on key customer relationships such as DocuSign, UnitedLex, Accenture and Ariba, as well as providing strategic support.
Zetterberg will be succeeded as CEO by John O’Melia, who joined Seal as executive vice president of worldwide field operations in 2017. O’Melia previously worked at EMC.
Alongside O’Melia’s appointment, Jim Wagner has been named as president. Wagner has served as chief strategy officer for Seal since joining the company in July last year as part of the company’s acquisition of Apogee Legal, an organisation he co-founded.
In addition to continuing his role leading the overall strategy for the company, Wagner will take on responsibility for the company’s strategic alliances and marketing.
“Ulf is taking up a newly formed role, which has been established in order to focus on some key initiatives which we believe will accelerate the pace of growth for the company,” O’Melia told Legal IT Insider.
“My elevation to CEO is also focused on that growth. The legal AI market is maturing rapidly. Our Global 2000 customers are expanding their usage of the technology across departments, across use-cases and the outcomes they are achieving are contributing materially to their risk, cost-savings and revenue-enhancing goals.
“As we scale out our technology, we are scaling our company,” O’Melia added. “We are the largest contract analytics vendor in the market, and we believe that operationalising the business ahead of the market is wise.
“Ulf will focus on what he does best – driving the depth of relationships required to be substantive and takes his experience of building the global leader of contract analytics to the board level. My experience of general management within EMC, meanwhile, has given me the skills to grow Seal Software to the next level. My background in professional services as a partner at IBM and tenure at PwC will also prove invaluable.”
Seal Software provides contract discovery, data extraction and analytics solutions. With its machine learning and NLP technologies, it enables firms to find contracts of any file type across their networks, understand what risks or opportunities are hidden in those contracts and place them in a centralised repository. The company recently announced its relationship with UnitedLex, one of the major ALSPs, which has seen its ecosystem grow significantly.
“With deep relationships developing with similar organisations and with the big four, today’s leadership changes are predicated on the growth we have been seeing – we have generated record revenues in the first half of 2019 – as well as the growth we are expecting – both in our business and in the legal AI market as a whole,” O’Melia said.
Seal raised $30m from private equity firm Toba Capital last year in order to continue to expand its business reach. Toba is represented on the company’s board alongside three other independent directors and O’Melia insists the management changes were a board decision, rather than specifically being driven by the investors.
“The board fully understands that scaling the business requires focus and this move is designed to deliver that,” he said. “The board drove the selection of myself as the new CEO and the appointment of Ulf as the vice-chairman of the company.”
O’Melia added that it is business as usual following the management shake-up. “Our immediate plans are unchanged with these new appointments,” he said. “We will continue to focus on customer outcomes, continual enhancement of the Seal platform – version 7 was announced last month – and building a company that has a strong culture and sense of purpose. Obviously, we cannot share our technology plans at this stage, but suffice to say, we are in the vanguard when it comes to advancements in ML and model creation, training models and delivering insights from contract data which lead to quality answers.”