To track Desiree Peri’s life and career, you need a globe.
Peri, who serves as Vice President and General Counsel for Charter Communications, is originally from California. When she was 12, her father accepted a job with his company in South Africa. The family lived in a rural town for two years.
“It’s a really beautiful country,” she said.
Peri did the majority of her undergraduate work at UCLA as a pre-med student. She wanted to be in the medical field, but gradually had a change of heart.
“I worked in health care and decided it was not quite for me,” she said.
Following graduation from UCLA in 1990 she worked as a unit secretary in a labor and delivery unit at a hospital for a couple of years while she was saving for law school.
Peri left California for the Midwest, where she completed her law degree at Northern Illinois University.
After law school she stayed in Illinois, working in the state attorney general’s office as a civil prosecutor.
“It was a great way to get my litigation chops,” she said.
After two years with the AG’s office, she moved again, both her residence and her area of practice.
Peri moved back to California, to do defense work for Ventura County, handling general advisory work.
She was with Ventura County for about a year before she made another move. She got married and she and her husband, Vince, an aerospace engineer, relocated to Utah.
Peri started her work “inside” with the Utah Transit Authority, where she handled general litigation again, as well as some employment work.
Peri soon left Utah, and the transit authority, when her husband got a job in Missouri.
“It was clear to me when I left there that I wanted to be in-house,” Peri said. “I really enjoyed the focus that an in-house counsel role presents.”
Peri said the appeal was understanding the needs of the company, her single client, and thereby being able to give even better representation.
She started with Charter in 2006. The St. Louis-based company is currently in the midst of one the largest telecom mergers the United States has ever seen.
In May of 2016, the FCC approved Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. and its acquisition of Bright House Networks. According to Peri, the merger more than tripled the volume of employees, and as an employment attorney, she said she had a “great opportunity to be engaged,” in putting the three companies together.
“Going through these transactions has probably been the most professionally rewarding thing that I’ve done,” she said.
The transition is not remotely close to being finished, though, but Peri keeps a bright outlook, saying she looks forward to continuing to support the company.
Outside of work, Peri enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, playing games and, of course, taking road trips.