Legal IT Insider speaks to Leason about his new role and plans for European growth at Agiloft
In a significant hire for contract lifecycle management vendor Agiloft, Jim Leason, formerly a VP at Thomson Reuters, has started as managing director of EMEA to grow the European business.
Leason, whose full title was VP customer propositions lead, legal professionals Europe, was one of the most visible of the senior TR leadership. With TR for over 15 years, he was ultimately responsible for driving growth across Elite 3E, HighQ, Contract Express, Westlaw and Practical Law.
Leason, who reports to US-based chief revenue officer Kevin Niblock, joins Andy Wishart, founder of Contract Express, who left Thomson Reuters for Agiloft in January 2021. Wishart reports to US-based CEO Eric Laughlin, who between 2012-19 was managing director of Thomson Reuters’ legal managed services arm.
Leason and Wishart are the only senior executives in Europe, and speaking about his new role to Legal IT Insider, Leason said: “My role is managing director for EMEA, working with Eric, Kevin and Andy to grow the business. Agiloft has been growing in Europe from North America, but now is the time to invest in the region and grow our presence here.”
In terms of his strategic objectives, Leason says: “We are going to hire sales people and build the partner community. Agiloft already has partnerships with large vendors like EY and Deloitte, but clearly the European market is different so we have to start building strong relationships locally here.”
Agiloft received $45m in funding in 2020 and had ambitious growth plans then but Leason says: “Agiloft has growing considerably and that is giving them the confidence to make investments like this.”
For Leason, who is a qualified lawyer, the California-headquartered company represents a new challenge without leaving the legal sector, and he says: “I didn’t really want to move away from my history of legal and contracts.”
That he knows Laughlin and Wishart from TR was no doubt a draw, and he says: “I’ve known Eric from his days at TR and he’s a great leader and is creating a great culture at Agiloft. He is someone I have a lot of confidence in. Kevin Niblock is a seasoned leader in the software space and someone who I can learn from and who gives me confidence that we know how to tackle this in Europe.”
He adds: “I worked with Andy in the past and the product is a massive part of me joining Agiloft, which has really established itself as a leader in this space. The maturity of its data model is important, as is having a platform that is flexible.”
Agiloft now integrates closely with Salesforce, Tableau and Microsoft Teams to enable corporate workforces to more easily adopt contract lifecycle management and Leason says: “I like the connected experience that Andy is pursuing. It’s important to make these tools available in Salesforce and Teams and Andy and I have talked about that a lot over the years. There is no better product leader than Andy and the chance to work alongside him again was a very big pull.”
Speaking about his new role on LinkedIn on 21 February, Leason said: “I’m delighted to share that today is my first day as Managing Director, EMEA at Agiloft – the recognised leader in contract lifecycle management software! I’m an unashamed geek when it comes to legal and contract tech and data, and cannot wait to get started engaging with customers and partners in this region to deliver transformational solutions with the Agiloft contract lifecycle management platform, and to help support the evolving discipline of contract operations.
“It’s great to be connecting up again with some old friends and to be meeting and learning from some new colleagues. Thank you Kevin Niblock, Eric Laughlin, Andy Wishart and the rest of the Agiloft team for a warm welcome. Let’s go!”
Leason says he’ll be announcing new roles shortly to join the Agiloft team in the UK and Europe.