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2021 In-House Counsel Awards: David Narkiewicz

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

Nestlé Purina North America

David NarkiewiczAs a legal executive for the world’s largest consumer food company, David Narkiewicz leads and manages a high-performing legal team that provides agile and solution-focused counsel for the pet care business. St. Louis is the headquarters for Nestlé Purina’s U.S. and Canada business.

With more than 20 years of experience in several areas of corporate law, Narkiewicz chose to work for a corporation so that he could be a business partner instead of an outside business advisor. Today, all of his work is for the pet care industry.

“At Nestlé Purina, my team of six attorneys and three paralegals handles all things legal except intellectual property, employment, patents and trademarks,” Narkiewicz says. “Our Commercial Legal Group provides legal counsel and support for mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation, commercial transactions, research and development transactions, real estate transactions, antitrust compliance, advertising review and compliance, and food law and regulations.” He is also one of the co-founders of his company’s corporate venture program that invests in small start-ups in the pet care industry.

One of his favorite career achievements at Nestlé Purina are his contributions for the launch of a new cat food product, Purina Pro Plan® LiveClear — the world’s first allergen-reducing cat food. He led the legal and regulatory strategy globally for this product from research and development through regulations and commercialization strategy. His work even gave him the opportunity to live in Switzerland for three months.

Narkiewicz especially appreciates the personal connections he makes in his work. At a recent retirement party, the man being honored pulled Narkiewicz aside and thanked him for his help during a stressful time six years ago. “This co-worker told me that my reassurance and good service had taken all the stress away about that situation,” Narkiewicz says. “I was reminded once again that the people in my company are my clients.”

Continuing to provide good counsel and legal support for his employer — despite these days of limited travel, COVID challenges and off-site work settings due to the pandemic — is important to Narkiewicz. He is committed to maintaining the quality of Nestlé Purina’s business.

“Some of the best career advice I’ve ever received is to focus on building genuine relationships with as many people as possible in as many different areas as possible,” Narkiewicz says. “As in-house counsel, I know that those strong, trusted relationships with my colleagues build credibility for the services I’m providing and the partnerships I’m forming.”

Strong relationships are an important part of everything Narkiewicz does. He and his wife — who is also an attorney — are the parents of three children. They also have two cats and a dog. He is active in the life of St. Roch School, serving as volunteer athletic director, youth soccer and youth basketball coach there. In addition, he serves as co-founder and president of Cross City Kids, a nonprofit organization that promotes fitness through running for elementary school children. An avid runner himself, he has completed six marathons.