There are many corporate positions that may be double hatted (depending on the company size): company secretary/general counsel, general counsel/chief compliance officer, CFO/risk officer, internal auditor/compliance officer.
But how practical is it for an employee to wear two hats at once?
The issue is whether the person can effectively carry out both functions.
For example, for ADIs, insurers and superannuation funds, APRA requires that a Chief Risk Officer be independent from business lines, the finance function and other revenue-generating capabilities.
Other positions may require direct access to the board (not just to report to the board) without a conflict of interest.
The issue is whether the double-hatted role will result in serious problems being overlooked or whether the dual roles interact well together.
For lawyers there are issues relating to liability and legal professional privilege:
In Shafron v Australian Securities and Investments Commission  HCA 18 the High Court decided that Mr Shafron's responsibilities with James Hardie as company secretary and general counsel were indivisible and must be viewed as a composite whole.
In Telstra Corporation Limited v Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (No. 2)  FCA 1445, the Federal Court decided that it must not be assumed that all advice given by a lawyer employed in both legal and management positions in a company has the benefit of legal professional privilege if it cannot be proved they were acting in a legal (rather than a management) capacity when they gave the advice.
It should not be assumed that 2 positions which may appear to "fit" will work together in practice.
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Posted 18th November 2013 by David Jacobson in Compliance, Corporations Act, Financial Services, Insurance, Risk Management, Superannuation