We speak to Aderant’s president and CEO, Chris Cartrett, about the new roles and what they mean for the direction of the company.
Aderant last week announced that it has bolstered its C-Suite with the hire of a new chief product officer (CPO) and a chief technology officer (CTO), plus promoted a VP of global marketing and communications from within the organisation, in a triple whammy of board level appointments.
Doug Matthews joins as CPO from Veritas Technologies, where he was general manager and senior vice president of the data protection business. He replaces Jairam Padmanabhan, who was appointed to the inaugural CPO role in February 2021. Andrew Hoyt joins as CTO from NCR Corporation, where he implemented an API-first strategy and led the enterprise technology company’s initiative to migrate clients from their legacy platforms to cloud-native applications. He takes over from Steve Buko, who in October last year left the legal sector to join Ministry Brands. And last but not least, Jessica Kattman has been promoted to the new VP role. She was previously a senior director for global marketing.
The new appointments follow the hire last year of chief people officer Shira Aharoni, who has worked closely with president and CEO Chris Cartrett on building a talent strategy for the growing business, which last year acquired American Legal Net (ALN) and viGlobal.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Cartrett said: “We’ve got a really strong dynamic leadership team and for me personally, having the smartest and the brightest sitting around the table can only help us be better.”
With regard to the CPO role, Cartrett says that it became clear that what is required is a knowledge of portfolio management, commenting: “What’s happened as we’re trying to transition to these other things, it was just a different world.”
He observed: “This has been an ongoing search for who the right person would be. We have a very strong VP of cloud products, who is Josiah Chaves. And then the gentleman who runs expert has been with our company for years, Manny Kyrinis. So, this was truly about finding the right person. When I say it was a painstakingly detailed search, it was.”
Matthews has worked in a large setting in the Veritas world and Cartrett says: “We’re bringing somebody who has really been there, done that, and had great success, into an organisation where we have grown so much, with so many different products, and we keep expanding. We’re so much more than just experts in practice management now; we’ve moved into all these other areas, and we really needed someone who is really good at strategy and portfolio management strategy, so that’s a new skillset.”
Cartrett says that where Matthews will focus on Aderant’s growing portfolio of SaaS applications, new CTO Hoyt is coming onboard to better leverage more modern technology, including AI. “We’re bringing in Andy as we’re doing more with what I’ll just classify as much more modern tech, more AI, more machine learning, and one of the goals from the chief technology officer side was that we wanted somebody who really can lead us in a more advanced technological stance as a business,” Cartrett said.
Before NCR, Hoyt was VP of developer experience, API management and gateways at IBM, and Cartrett adds that Hoyt is, “more on the front end of what’s happening with software and technology than traditionally has been out there in the legal tech space.”
Asked what this appointment means for Aderant’s practice management system offering, Cartrett says: “It’s about the entire Aderant platform – all aspects of it. If you think of all the products and services that we sell, the goal is to advance those products and services. There are things available with the technology and tools that we have at our disposal that I would argue nobody else has and I want us to advance quickly. To do that, I needed a strong lead in the product world to help set that direction, and I need somebody to run our technology teams who really understands how to get us to where we want to be.”
As to what that means for product development, Cartrett says: “One of the strategies we have is to try to set things up so that people don’t pay for something twice. If you buy something in the Aderant world, as we come out with new products in that world, you get those and that’s part of why you subscribe and buy into the Aderant world. But we’re also always bringing out new products and we had two major acquisitions last year.”
Following its acquisition of American LegalNet (ALN), Aderant last year began rolling out calendering and docketing solution Milana in North America (combining its incumbent CompuLaw solution with ALN functionality), which Cartrett describes as “the major cloud initiative in the docketing space.” With the acquisition of viGlobal, Aderant has added people management to its portfolio. “To bring all those products to where they are capable of getting to, you want to have a great technologist leading the charge,” he says.
Moving on to Kattman’s new role, Cartrett comments: “Jess has been a voice behind all the big things that we’ve been doing, but now as we’re progressing into these kinds of new products and new areas, it’s a more heightened role that she plays.”
Kattman joined Aderant in 2020 and while this is not the first time a marketing executive has been promoted to the board at Aderant, it has been several years since that last happened. Cartrett says: “She has grown the marketing team into a much more strategic function throughout the business and moving her onto our executive team was a recognition that I have somebody really sharp here who deserves a seat at the table. Having her involved in all our executive conversations just brings value to our executive team.”
It is interesting to revisit the fact that underpinning the hires, promotions and growth is Aharoni’s role, working in conjunction with COO Raphael Shure. Cartrett says: “We have a major development center in Auckland. We’ve always had large places in Los Angeles and London and then our home office in Atlanta, another one in Tallahassee. But then we added another place in Los Angeles in early 2022. We now have a really large or a decent size development center in Toronto. And then we’ve basically tripled our team in Hyderabad, India. So, this idea of having a true workforce strategy for what Aderant looks like today to what it will be five years from now is a very strategic role. Having people on the people side, who are really able to help you work on your organisation, develop the right skills and start looking ahead of you is really, really important.”
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