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Seth Fier doesn’t get flustered. In fact, he thrives in moments of crisis and finds comfort in high-stress situations. Perhaps that’s what makes him most qualified to lead at Revlon.
The vice president of law and litigation joined the cosmetics giant in June 2021 as the company continued to navigate uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pressures on the global supply chain. In early 2022, the general counsel who hired Fier left the company. Fier remained unfazed, even as Revlon filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which occurred, coincidentally, on his one-year anniversary with the company.
“The changing dynamics in the market and the macroeconomic challenges we are navigating have provided a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge-base, responsibilities and undoubtedly accelerated my growth as an in-house attorney,” says Fier. “Everything we are currently working through has helped me better understand the big picture and the world beyond just disputes and see the company in terms of overall strategy and finances.”
The VP isn’t new to intense situations. Fier came to Revlon following a fifteen-year stint at Proskauer Rose LLP, where he practiced white collar defense, commercial litigation, internal and regulatory investigations, and sports-related matters. During his tenure, Fier represented corporate and individual clients in matters related to accountant and auditor liability, complex commercial and M&A disputes, bank fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud, embezzlement, mortgage fraud, insider trading, grand larceny, and antitrust allegations.
“As a young associate, I sat at the table with the NHL Commissioner helping debrief him on our findings in a high-profile investigation, sat at the table with a senior Marsh executive facing serious criminal allegations, and a little while later found myself sitting at the table with a former CFO of Lehman Brothers facing scrutiny arising out of the 2008 financial crisis,” Fier remembers.
The seasoned legal professional was ready for just about anything once he got to Revlon. His diverse experience has already helped Revlon navigate its bankruptcy filing. “I quarterbacked a lot of the prep and filing for Chapter 11 partly because I had experience through my client work at Proskauer,” Fier says. “I’ve worked on bankruptcy matters from the litigation side. I obviously have dealt with courts and filings before, I counseled clients through crises, and my experience was a valuable tool—along with our outside advisors—to help get us to the place where we needed to be.”
Technical knowledge isn’t the only asset Fier brings to Revlon’s lean legal team. His knack for breaking down issues and thoroughly explaining legal processes has served the entire organization well. “It all comes down to the messaging and communications,” he explains. “When I talk with internal clients, whether they be on the business, accounting, or IT side, I put things into non-legal terms.”
The VP adds, “To build trust and confidence with clients, it’s important to provide them practical explanations and guidance so that they feel empowered in situations that may very well be foreign to them.”
In addition to his private practice experience, Fier credits his mentors, as well as his own commitment to seeking them out, with helping him develop into the lawyer he is today. “I always believed that calling someone a mentor or being a mentee by name doesn’t necessarily mean a lot, unless you really invest in a relationship and you are willing to take in the advice and seek out the opportunity,” he says. “As a mentee, I absorbed what made sense to me and what I could take in terms of what fit into my professional development as a lawyer.”
Fier, who deferred law school for several years to work in the accounting and financial industries, also advises young attorneys to develop themselves as professionals and get as much real-world experience as possible. “Understand what goes into being a professional,” he recommends. “At the end of the day, you have to be well rounded and practical, but you also need to develop the emotional intelligence to enable you to anticipate, understand, and respond to your clients’ needs and concerns.”
Calmness and pragmatism are perhaps Fier’s greatest assets as he helps Revlon navigate current challenges. The seasoned attorney is proud to work for the ninety-year-old cosmetics giant. “Revlon is a great name, and we have a portfolio of iconic brands,” he says.