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For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The GC Powerlist is the latest publication from The Legal 500, turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognising those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. The latest edition is the GC Powerlist: Brazil, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region...read more
We have canvassed opinions from law firm partners and in-house counsel across Brazil, to identify corporate counsel that have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; developing brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; creating innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; or providing a business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Our team of experienced researchers assessed the nominations, speaking both to general counsel and nominating lawyers to finalise each list. The GC Powerlist: Brazil features not just information on why that individual has made the list, but also comment from those in-house lawyers about how they have helped shape innovation in the legal industry.
If you have feedback on the GC Powerlist: Brazil, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Brazil or global), please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that this listing will stimulate debate around the role of the in-house lawyer and help corporate counsel with possible improvements and efficiencies in running their departments.
GC Powerlist: Brazil
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Alexandre Aguiar de Brito
Santo Antonio Energia
Legal and Compliance Director
Bridgestone do Brasil
Janssen Cilag Pharmaceutical
Executive General Counsel and Legal Superintendent
Global General Counsel - commercial banking and regional General Counsel Latin America
Luciano Araújo Ferraz
Legal and Regulatory Director
Whirlpool Latin America
Júlio Cesar Beltrão
Legal Director – Latin America
Head of Legal
Legal and compliance manager
Sura Insurance Brazil
Vivian de Bocchio
Andre Brickmann Areno
Chief Legal Counsel
Legal and Corporate Affairs, Brazil and Southern Cone
Fabio Calpacci Leone
Legal and Tax Director
Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA)
Joao Vicente Camarota
Managing Director - head of legal South America
Maria Izabel Cardozo
Philip Morris Brazil
Wilson Carlos Pereira Ivo
Executive Legal Director and Compliance Officer
Merck Sharp & Dohme
Senior Counsel and Compliance officer
Evonik Degussa Brasil
Nike do Brasil
Executive Legal Director and compliance officer
Chief Counsel for Global Mining
Legal, compliance, security and corporate affairs director - Latin America
Maria da Graça Montalvão
Legal Director, General Legal Counsel
Yamana Gold Brazil
Antonio Pedro da Silva Machado
Banco do Brasil
Sulnorte Serviços Marítimos
Executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs and General Counsel
Ernesto Antunes de Carvalho
Superintendent of the legal department
Rolls Royce Brazil
Luis dos Santos Martins
Head of Legal, compliance and institutional relations for Central and South Americas
Legal Director, compliance, regulatory and sustainability
Reinaldo Morais Filho
Augusto Cesar Fortuna
The Coca-Cola Company
Vice President Legal
Arcos Dourados Comércio de Alimentos (McDonald's)
General Counsel for Latin America
Katia Valverde Junqueira
Director of Legal Affairs Brazil
Gas Natural Fenosa Brasil
Sandra Lopez Gorbe
Head of Legal
Raul Lycurgo Leite
Rafael Magalhães Martins
Legal Specialist -corporate affairs
Renato Maia Lopes
Pedro De Abreu Mariani
Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM)
Group General Counsel
Grupo Pão de Açucar (GPA)
Managing director and associate General Counsel - contracting Latin America
General Counsel - Brazil
Luiz Eduardo F. do Amaral Osorio
Vice president, chief legal and institutional relations officer
CPFL Energia Group
Legal Director Latin America
Breno Rodrigo Pacheco de Oliveira
Secretary general and General Counsel
General Counsel Americas
Tetra Pak Americas
Vice president legal and business affairs
Fox Latin American Channels
José Roberto Pernomian Rodrigues
Vice president - legal and corporate affairs
Legal Director Brazil
Grupo Águas do Brasil
Mauricio Joffily Pinheiro
Head counsel Latin America
Vice president legal
Executive vice president legal and corporate affairs
Johnson & Johnson
Rede D'Or São Luiz
Luis Fernando Radulov Queiroz
Vice president, general counsel and integrity officer - South America
Antonio Rabelo Filho
Fernando Rascov Lodi
Legal director - Latin America
Legal coordinator - corporate executive
Johan Albino Ribeiro
Fernanda Rocha C. Pogliese
Executive vice president and general counsel
Guido Rogerio Macedo Silveira Filho
Legal general manager
Luiz Rodolfo Ryff
General counsel for the presidency
Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games
Vanessa Santos Magalhães
Legal and government relations manager
Ajinomoto do Brasil
Legal and compliance
Global general counsel
Leandro Miana Telles
Deputy general counsel and head of legal investment banking
Executive officer, general counsel and chairman of the board of directors
General counsel and corporate relations director - Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil
Leonardo Viveiros de Castro
Chief legal officer
Legal director Brazil
Legal and compliance director
Santo Antonio Energia operate one of the largest hydroelectric plants in Brazil, which has the capacity to supply energy for 45 million people across the country through the Madeira transmission line, ultimately increasing the energy security of the North and Southeast of Brazil. Santo Antonio Energia’s legal representation is led by General Counsel Alexandre Aguiar de Brito who has been praised by a private practice source for having the ability to directly handle ‘complex matters on several fronts’, which is necessary owing to the company’s diverse range of challenges that span regulatory, labour, contractual and corporate affairs. Utilising a mixture of approaches to develop the best possible solution in the face of several arbitrations the company is part of, de Brito delegates and works with external counsel on a regular basis to ensure risk is mitigated as much as possible.
Alderiza Agustini has built her legal career on experiences of large multinational corporations such as Adidas, Philips and Claro. Using past experiences to demonstrate her proficiency, Agustini was made legal and compliance director at Bridgestone Brazil at the start of 2016. Overseeing legal and compliance matters for the manufacturing company, which is globally known for its automobile tire production, Agustini has played a pivotal role recent expansion plans. As the Japanese-headquartered company continues to build its operations across the globe, running almost 150 production facilities in 25 countries, business executives need to be sure that their approach is complaint with international regulation and legislation. The legal team, led by Agustini, has supported the business’s creation of a new tire manufacturing facility, as well as negotiating contracts on a number of high-profile sponsorship deals, for example with the International Olympic Committee and the International Golf Federation. Further demonstrating her industry recognition, in 2015 the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association named Agustini as one of the best in-house compliance counsel in the region. Agustini previously graduated in Law from Universidade Paulista (UNIP), and received an MBA in Business Law from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). She continues to pass on her legal and business knowledge as a guest teach of a Mass Litigation Management course.
José Alvarenga is the legal manager at Icatu Seguros, an independent Brazilian life insurer, pension provider and financial planner for 5.5 million customers. Alvarenga has been central to the development of numerous strategies throughout the company. Via close cooperation with various other departments, Alvarenga has provided a significant contribution to the implementation of Icatu’s corporate governance policy, a process which has ensured that management is optimised to accommodate the requirements of shareholders and customers. The corporate governance procedure also maximised efficiency throughout the organistion in addition to mitigating potential risks. Alvarenga’s in-depth understanding of the legal market has seen him demonstrate his expertise in Icatu’s code of ethics program. He ensures the establishment is in compliance with the industry’s ethical conducts and that all departments demonstrate a high standard and quality across the board. Having spent over 15 years with Icatu, Alvarenga is a respected, informed voice that is able to steer company strategy not just through theoretical knowledge, but practical experience and application.
Felipe Alves is the current legal director of the Brazilian arm of Janssen Cilag Pharmaceutical, who operate as a subsidiary of American pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Alves has held his current position since February 2014 and has amassed almost two decades of experience within the Johnson & Johnson group. Thanks to this experience, Alves is well-versed in several areas of the business, most notably having dispensed legal advice across tax and consumer business departments and defining the strategy and implementation of Janssen Cilag’s activities related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In his current position Alves is able to put his multi-faceted experience to good use, being responsible for all legal areas related to the Janssen Cilag business, which include intellectual property, regulatory, competition and others. Utilising his legal nous and corporate experience, Alves assists his business partners in numerous ways. He meets regularly with the managing director, engages with the entire board in matters related to competition law and communication skills, and is recognised as a ‘business partner and not just a legal advisor’ through this process. Alves states that his advice entails ‘more than just the legal perspective, with the understanding of the business impact of decisions’, but still ensuring judgements are always made ‘according to the law and in compliance with company policy’. In terms of individual career highlights, Alves cites procedural improvements of contracts and the divestiture of important brands, such as Jontex and Shower to Shower. A leader with strong ethical considerations, Alves is keen on building a ‘high-performance’ team that is also ‘transparent, with a diversity of people and opinions’. His philosophy is further illustrated with his concern to keep the team ‘motivated, engaged, accountable and with a high level in terms of deliverables’.
Executive General Counsel Susana Silveira oversees the legal department for Camargo Corrêa, one of Brazil’s largest private conglomerates that has operations domestically and internationally for products spanning real estate, construction, crude oil and natural gas. A lawyer with technical excellence, Silveira is also keen to ensure that complete planning and involvement of staff with complimentary expertise. She describes her management focus as: ‘questioning the purpose of the job to be done; making members engaged as team players; inspiring team members to have a broader view and act accordingly’. Covering the legal support for Camargo Corrêa’s diverse range of businesses, Silveira has attained a wide-ranging knowledge of the different practice areas she oversees. Showing the closeness with which she works with her business partners, she is involved in projects from ‘the very start’. Open to the need for external advice, Silveira believes that designing ‘different fronts of action’ when instructing law firms and giving feedback once the work has been received is an important part of internal legal processes. Silveira cites three main features as being crucial to in-house success: controlled delegation and supervision of quality external counsel; risk management including identification and prioritisation, and dealing with external lawyers in a collaborative way to make ‘them partners, not simply service providers, as this has a huge impact on furthering the client-lawyer relationship and adding to the quality of work they perform’. Silveira expertly combines knowledge obtained from a Ph.D. from the University of São Paulo Law School and a LL.M. from University of Oxford, with technical know-how brought from previous jobs at law firms. Using this combination, she is able to excel in a high-pressure commercial environment.
Eduardo Andretto is the General Counsel at Fibria Celulose, a pulp and paper company, specialising in the cultivation of forests as renewable and sustainable sources of life. Andretto originally joined Votorantim Celulose (VCP) in 2009, but following a merger between Aracruz Celulose and VCP in 2010, Fibria Celulose was formed as part of the wider Votorantim Group and Andretto was asked upon to oversee all legal matters at the combined entity. He has since worked vigorously in order establish the company as a market leader following the merger. Andretto now leads a team of 34 highly skilled and versatile personnel, a group which he was tasked with the responsibility of assembling from scratch. The department is organised as a law office and demonstrate a best-in-class understanding of industry requirements. With Andretto at the helm, the Fibria Celulose legal division continues to assist the company with innovative and progressive solutions in addition to having an influence in regards to major projects and litigation; most notably the recent settlement agreement of a class action, following the Aracruz Celulose decline.
Marco Araújo’s global and regional remit reflects the high level of operational and legal expertise he brings to HSBC, experience gained from an in-house career that extends to over 20 years in the banking sector. In his current role at HSBC, Araújo is responsible for global legal support to HSBC’s commercial banking arm, which covers approximately 55 countries and generates around $15bn of revenue for the HSBC Group. Additionally, Araújo holds a regional General Counsel role, which covers advisory and litigation support across HSBC’s Latin America business; covering Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay. Araújo has overseen two main changes during his time in his role; bringing a 'more financial' view to the management of litigation, and optimising the structure surrounding transactional lawyers’ work, making them more efficient and closer to the business. Viewed very positively both within HSBC and externally, Araújo has developed ‘excellent levels of trust and communication with the legal team’s internal clients’ with a focus on providing ‘fast, forward-looking and high quality advice’. A lawyer with keen commercial instincts, Araújo claims the most enjoyable aspects of his role is through his ‘direct contact with the business’ and ‘coordinating people and building high performance teams’. Araújo believes that the interaction between in-house legal teams and business counterparts has ‘been increasing tremendously’ regardless of the company, and that ‘legal functions everywhere can be a strong determining factor in making any business more successful’. Licenced by the São Paulo Bar Association, Araújo also reached the New York State Bar in 1993 and has had numerous roles in industry bodies such as The Financial System Self-regulatory Council, Brazil’s Financial System Administrative Court of Appeal (CRSFN) and is currently the executive director of The Brazilian Banking Association (Febraban).
Luciano Araújo Ferraz is the legal and regulatory director for TAESA (The Transmitting Electricity Alliance SA), one of the largest private electricity transmission groups by revenue in Brazil. With approximately 9,800km of transmission lines in operation, Ferraz and the legal team at TAESA are required to cover a wide range of legal needs. Said to have an ‘exceptional knowledge of corporate law’, Ferraz has supported the company during an array of ingoing and outgoing merger and acquisition work. During his time with TAESA he has had a significant impact on the strategic direction of the business, helping achieve milestone goals for the company such as early debt payments and the issuance of R$600m in promissory notes. One source praised Ferraz’ management skills and the operational changes that he has bought to TAESA: ‘He is a brilliant, high-performance lawyer with rare leadership qualities. He has implemented important changes in the legal department resulting in significant achievements for the company. His distinctive knowledge of the company´s field of activity provides outstanding and innovative support to legal strategies’.
Legal director Erica Barbagalo leads a team of 23 employees at Monsanto Brasil, an agriculture and biotechnology company. Barbagalo has been praised for her role in revolutionising the legal department and ensuring that integration within the business has increased. As Barbagalo states, she has helped ‘position the legal department as part of the business, working closer to the overall organisation and helped the department to work as a team, without silos’. In this way, she has instilled a strong ethos of teamwork throughout the establishment, which has led to the success of ‘several M&A transactions and joint ventures’. Barbagalo has additionally provided significant support for the company as it navigates new regulations and government actions. The growing influence of the legal division at Monsanto Brasil has seen the department demonstrate its intrinsic value to the organisation on a daily basis; this stems from the communicative and collaborative approach that Barbagalo has engendered. She is known to have a passion for the development of personnel within Monsanto, assisting with their continued learning and setting the tone for integrity and inclusion. Barbagalo believes that the most enjoyable feature about her role is having the ‘opportunity to actually make the difference in people's lives’.
Seasoned lawyer Patricia Barbelli is the legal director at Whirlpool Latin America, an international home appliances provide. She is proficient in a wide range of areas including contracts, litigation, tax, M&A, compliance and antitrust, assisting the company across the board as it expands in Latin America. Fluent in four languages (Portuguese, Spanish, English and Italian), Barbelli accumulated her experience from major international companies such as Bayer and Pepsi, both of which instilled in her an enhanced knowledge of international markets. Barbelli has additionally been integral in the handling of Whirlpool Latin America’s ethics and compliance issues, she has overseen the implementation of the organisation’s compliance programs and policies in addition to mitigating all possible risks that the establishment may be subjected to. Barbelli is cited by one nominator as possessing ‘consolidated competence in leading and managing legal teams, reporting to the headquarters and the local CEO’, she is a versatile individual at the very top of her trade and is viewed as an exceedingly valuable asset to the business.
Fernanda Bardi, legal director for Wal-Mart in Brazil, has won praise for keeping a cool head in difficult times. The retailer has reportedly closed around 10% of its Brazilian outlets recently but the country remains one of its key markets and Bardi has been at the forefront of ensuring its operations are adapted to the challenging realities of Brazil’s legal structures. A rare breed amongst in-house counsel, Bardi is known for both her operational and managerial skills and for her legal expertise and strategic advice. She oversees a range of matters, including intellectual property and brand protection, tax, cross-border contracts, M&A, international compliance and environmental affairs. Before joining Wal-Mart, Bardi was legal director at Fox Brazil, where she established its legal function in the country, and legal manager for Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay at Diageo, where she implemented a systematic review of its market entry strategy. At Diageo she also introduced the “Glass is Good” sustainability and recycling initiative, for which she has received several awards.
Legal director Júlio Cesar Beltrão is responsible for the labour and litigation matters for Unilever across Latin America. Beltrão has been praised for his ability to deliver clear and concise solutions in a timely manner. Via the simplification of internal processes and technological solutions Beltrão has successfully implemented several changes to the company’s infrastructure and manner in which the legal function operates, despite the ‘several actions required to build the infrastructure we need to manage all areas of litigation’. He has demonstrated an in-depth understanding and focus in regards to the management of litigation; Beltrão and his legal department are responsible for the organisation of the litigation database and its analysis in order to generate business intelligence prior to any decision making. Dealing with the immediate problems present as well as root causes, Beltrão oversees a ‘world class department’ with regards to litigation management. They have effectively reduced the litigation portfolio by 40% with a substantial release of financial provision, an achievement that directly affects the bottom line of Unilever. The overall expenditure of the legal division has also been reduced, helping to ensure that the legal department is viewed as a business partner. Because of this legal is now involved in significant company projects from the very beginning of the process, a feat which Beltrão describes as ‘driving the business forward’. Beltrão additionally explains that ‘knowledge is the best way to enable the business to drive growth in compliance with the law’. The legal team’s leverage of knowledge following the development of the company’s infrastructure, has ensured that they now demonstrate an active role in all strategic decisions at Unilever, an act which ensures the business is well protected against several liabilities. Beltrão spent 10 years working as a private practice lawyer at TozziniFreire Advogados, where he dealt with ‘numerous different issues’ allowing him to develop the technical knowledge required to ‘apply simpler solutions to complex issues’ in a commercial context.
Mauricio Bezerra is General Counsel of Odebrecht Ambiental, the water and wastewater business of the historic Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Joining Odebrecht in 2007, Bezerra initially led the tax and finance team of Braskem and became their deputy counsel in 2010. Bezerra’s ability was recognised through his contribution to positive results and subsequent promotion to the General Counsel position. Bezerra leads a team containing 17 lawyers and non-lawyers, and has overseen significant restructuring efforts during his time in charge. Recognising the need to improve the breadth of experience within the legal function, Bezerra sought to divide the department into three main areas; corporate, litigation and business development. A valued business partner within Odebrecht Ambiental’s company structure, Bezerra reports directly to the CEO and is a member of the company’s executive committee, spending time ‘advising the CEO on his strategic agenda, focussed mainly on governance, M&A and the relationship with the shareholders’. During his earlier in-house career, including stints at Arthur Andersen, Standard Bank and Merrill Lynch Accruing, Bezerra gained a wealth of experience in capital markets, M&A deals, strategic litigations and institutional relationships.
As one source stated, Louangela Bianchini is a ‘stellar lawyer, putting into practice her long experience of finance law’ as head of legal at Cielo, the largest Brazilian credit and debit card operator and the largest payment system company operating in Latin America. Cielo is a listed company that recently came under the regulatory frameworks of the Central Bank of Brazil. This has added an extra layer of complexity to the work of Bianchini and the legal team, needing ‘strength and intelligence to deal with the challenge’, according to one nomination. The regulatory change has needed even more attention from Bianchini herself as she acts as secretary to the board as well as head of the legal department. Drawing on previous experience in the finance sector, having worked in-house at Citibank and Banco Safra, Bianchini was able to smoothly guide Cielo through the changes in regulatory attention. Cielo has become the leader in its sector through innovation and the launch of new products. Bianchini and her legal team, are integral to the success of the company’s goals, ensuring that they are compliant as well as calculated-risks. Bianchini has been involved in the negotiations with new and existing merchants, to ensure that they receive the solutions, differentiated products and quality services that they expect. The legal team will also be important during Cielo’s investment in the expansion of new service segments, such as taxis, soccer stadiums, street fairs and markets and delivery services. In recognition of her work throughout her career, in 2012 Bianchini received the “Latin America Finance Lawyer of the Year” award from the International Law Office and Association of Corporate Counsel Latin America.
Following Grupo Sura’s acquisition of RSA Insurance’s Latin American assets, Sura Insurance (Brazil) was formed early in 2016. Legal and compliance manager Fabiana Bianchini was a key part of this transition, having been part of RSA ahead of the transaction; her competence and dedication to the deal has led one partner to highlight her ability as ‘outstanding’. Bianchini is additionally praised by peers for her in-depth knowledge of corporate law and insurance regulation, with her market expertise enabling the company to operate above the standards set out by regulatory bodies. Bianchini is additionally responsible for the management of company processes regarding the prevention of money laundering as well as contractual issues. She has been instrumental in the mitigation of possible risks for the organisation, and will continue to be integral to the company as it finds its feet as a new entity. Sources highlight Bianchini’s ‘patient’ persona to be one of her main attributes, which goes some way to explain her ability to handle some of the most complex regulations in the financial sector. Bianchini has gained a wealth of experience in the insurance sector, having held in-house roles at Itau, Real, Liberty, Zurich Brasil, Chubb and RSA.
Described by one nominator as a ‘very capable lawyer, with a talent to handle several complex issues simultaneously without losing efficiency’, Vivian de Moraes Simoes Bocchio leads Olympus Optical do Brasil’s legal affairs as their legal director, a position she has held since June 2009. Bocchio delivered a substantial contribution in her previous role at Tyco, which saw her implement and integrate the company’s legal division; this is a feat which she has now repeated at Olympus Optical. Bocchio has ensured that the legal department is close to all layers of Olympus Optical, and her own enhanced understanding of the business has ensured that the legal division is better equipped to assist in matters ranging from negotiations of simple contracts to strategic movements of the company. Bocchio explains how she desired to ‘spend much more time understanding and being with the business than inside the office working alone’ where they can assist ‘beyond the law, with business, commercial, ethical and other point of views too’. According to Bocchio this is essential as ‘the leadership team of the company needs to perceive the members of the legal department as good counsellors for any kind of matter’, proving her dedication to integrity and efficiency. Bocchio is consistently praised by her contemporaries for her rounded ‘legal and organisational skills’ which are constantly put to test due to the volatile market scenario, Bocchio explaining that in Brazil ‘we’ve seen important growth in the economy recently but are currently experiencing a very difficult time, the economic situation influences a lot on the expenses of a company’ requiring the important decision-making and leadership Bocchio is known for.
With operations in 14 countries across three continents, Porto Alegre-based Gerdau is one of the largest steel producers in Latin America and among the largest producers of specialty and long steel globally. Andre Brickmann Areno was appointed as Gerdau’s chief legal counsel in May 2016 following nearly a decade working in the company’s legal team. Areno’s appointment was announced shortly after a period of intense pressure descended on Gerdau, with negative headlines, falling stock and corruption investigations circling around the company. His ability to keep a cool head under these unfortunate circumstances led nominators to tip him as one of the country’s rising legal stars. In particular, he is praised for trying to inject a dose of pragmatism into the company’s operations by following a ‘business-as-usual’ approach, bringing much needed comfort to those around him.
Taking a legal leadership position across a large geographic region at one of the world’s most recognisable brands, Fernando Calia oversees legal and corporate affairs across the Brazil and Southern Cone region at PepsiCo. Starting in 1992 at Pinheiro Neto Advogados, Calia worked in private practice for almost eight years and worked to become a senior associate at the firm. Calia then left private practice to take a position at Philip Morris, working his way up to become legal director of Philip Morris Brazil and then assistant General Counsel for litigation across the entire group, before joining PepsiCo in 2013. This pattern demonstrates Calia’s diligence and the trust he acquires within organisations. Calia is noted for numerous legal skills, but his specialities in competition law, corporate law, litigation and corporate governance are particularly called-upon in his current role. One source stated that Calia’s ‘strong ethical principles and innate leadership qualities’ make him stand out in the in-house legal world.
Praised by several external sources as being ‘a leading GC in Brazil’, and an ‘outstanding legal and tax director with very accurate legal and business skills’, Fabio Leone is legal and tax director of Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), one of the largest companies in Brazil. In charge of a team of 85 qualified lawyers and paralegals, Leone’s team are a crucial component to the success of Brazil’s leading retail company, helping it gross more than R$77bn and employ more than 146,000 people as of the 2015 financial year. During his tenure at the group, Leone has led the implementation of a complex corporate reorganisation, aimed at eliminating GPA’s subsidiaries and concentrating all of its retail stores within a single company. In addition, he has led an effort to concentrate and streamline the group’s litigation practices. Despite his relatively young age, Leone has been given credit for ‘successfully leading big tax and legal teams for a long time’ in the greatest private employer in Brazil, who are also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Utilising his broad skills, in terms of tax affairs Leone was praised for his ability to make GPA to be more competitive in the sales market due to ‘always looking for new opportunities on tax matters that can decrease the taxation burden on companies’. An outcome of these organisational changes and proactive approach has seen a dramatic reduction in GPA’s legal costs, particularly important considering Brazil’s recent economic slump.
Joao Vicente Camarota is currently managing director and head of legal in South America for Morgan Stanley, covering Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay. Camarota started his legal career at Mattos Filho, one of the biggest law firms in Brazil, specialising in corporate and capital markets law. After a brief stint at Sherman & Sterling in New York, he took up a position as executive director with Morgan Stanley. In his time with the international banking giant, Camarota has adapted his legal acumen to fit the needs of the business world. In fact, he believes that his biggest contribution has been ‘to bring the legal team closer to our business units’, and enable the legal team to ‘provide better service by getting closer to the front office’. As there is no official CEO in the South American region, Camarota sits on a committee with the heads of business units and the CFO, so that all functions are involved in the creation of strategic direction in the region. Having the voice of the legal team at this level in the bank is essential considering the growing importance of regulation in the Brazilian, and global, market. Financial institutions in particular have received extra scrutiny from regulators, and it is becoming ever more important for lawyers to be at the heart of any changes in order to advise their business peers of the risks of non-compliance. To the benefit of Morgan Stanley, Camarota is well known in the market and is able to predict or adapt to regulations as they change.
Maria Izabel Cardozo is legal director at American tobacco company Philip Morris’ Brazilian affiliate, a role in which she provides full legal support to the company and manages the department with a view to developing her people and encouraging a culture of high-performance. Closely involved with the formation and implementation of company plans, Cardozo is included during every strategic matter affecting the business, especially with respect to the regulatory and competitive landscape and tax regime, which affects the tobacco industry in a major way. An important part of her role is reviewing policies and agreements according to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) rules and local anti-bribery laws, delivering training and producing risk assessments for colleagues. Cardozo also manages the legal budget, attempting to use outside counsel in an efficient, cost-effective manner whilst remaining on top of any relevant litigation. Utilising an unorthodox approach to go above and beyond the expected, Cardozo has used multifunctional tools, economics and statistics to assess risk and address business needs. The reduction of bureaucracy and developing an online contracts management system also proves Cardozo’s willingness to remodel and improve processes when necessary. Coming to Philip Morris after a long stint in private practice at Pinheiro Neto Advogados, Cardozo’s career has been filled with a rich mixture of in-house and law firm experience that spans over 20 years and contributes to her ability to provide wise legal guidance and strategically-minded thinking to the organisation.
Executive legal director and compliance officer Wilson Carlos Pereira Ivo describes working in a challenging environment and in multidisciplinary areas of the law as ‘very exciting’. Ivo currently leads the legal and compliance department at Merck Sharp & Dohme, the non-US operating name of global pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Ivo has displayed an ability to simultaneously manage a series of alternative business ventures at an exceptionally high standard. Ivo states that it is incredibly motivating to operate in a ‘high-tech dynamic pharmaceutical organisation, with a clear mission to save people’s lives and improve life quality’. Ivo is part of the Merck Sharp & Dohme executive committee and has been at the forefront of various strategic decisions for the organisation, particularly in regards to joint ventures, M&A transactions and partnerships in private and public markets. His previous experience includes a legal director role at Becton, Dickinson & Company, and a private practice stint at Pinheiro Neto Advogados.
With over 15 years of in-house experience, Katia Caruso has proven her legal ability and commercial nous in her current role as senior counsel and compliance officer at Evonik Degussa Brasil, which is the German chemical company’s Brazilian outpost located in São Paulo. Caruso is praised by external sources for her expertise across several areas of the law including antitrust, anti-bribery, tax, labour and contracts. As recently as 2015 Evonik started a large EU investment in its Brazilian subsidy to invest in a new, high-quality silica plant, the first of its kind in South America. The legalities of projects such as the silica plant are overseen by Caruso and her legal department, making sure that everything is completed, and continues to run, in an efficient and compliant manner. An in-house source also highlighted Caruso’s ability to be ‘easy to work with’ and the way she operates as ‘part of the business’; a testament to her commitment to achieving results for the company.
Roberta Carvalho has more than 20 years’ experience as an in-house lawyer across a variety of sectors, including technology, telecommunications and sports. Currently holding the position of legal director for Nike do Brasil, Carvalho oversees the legal work across Latin America for the sports and apparel company. Her main work covers the analysis, review and preparation of agreements, legal support to new businesses, answers to request for proposals (RFPs), and the management of financial and tax matters. Nike is known globally for its innovation in sports products and has been at the cutting edge of performance-enhancing designs for athletes across a range of sports. The protection of intellectual property behind these innovations need constant management and vigilance. Carvalho has played an important role in the negotiation and contract drafting for sponsorship in Latin America; for example Nike partnered with Team Brasil during the Olympic Games in Rio. The competitive nature of the sports goods market makes the negotiation phase critical to obtain sponsorship rights, meaning that the legal team has an important role to play. In the past, colleagues have described Carvalho as ‘a very talented business lawyer, who has a deep sensibility to analyse and manage risks and approach other areas of the company’.
Amira Chammas oversees a team of mixed professionals including seven lawyers, two interns and one legal assistant for Formitex, a Brazilian company with operations in several areas including papers, laminates, chemicals, infrastructure and logistics. A firm believer that lawyers should be part of the core business, Chammas and her team are tasked with tackling the challenges related to both legal matters and market forces that affect doing business in Brazil, which Chammas describes as having a ‘litigation culture’. In order to combat these issues she has introduced and developed methods to provide guidelines for the wider business and outside counsel in anticipating the company’s legal defences. These guidelines help bring a more efficient and faster flow of information to the outside counsel who work on the relevant case, meaning that legal response can be quicker. A capable and proactive planner, Chammas has been in charge of implementing technical forums to discuss the company’s goals and what kind of adjustments are in place to avoid future legal issues. In her previous in-house role at Walmart Brazil, Chammas was responsible for the implementation of the legal management system in the department, which was created for 100 lawyers and paralegals, and with an enormous number of open cases, both judicial and administrative procedures. Chammas appreciates her external suppliers having a ‘deep knowledge’ of the business and this extends to relationships with outside counsel, stating; they should try to ‘have a good understanding of the core business of the companies and the market’. A results-focussed in-house lawyer with abilities extending beyond the legal realm, Chammas’ main priority is to support the business and is entrusted to take part in all important strategic decisions, including launching new products and marketing campaigns.
Noted for being ‘open to the search for practical and innovative solutions’, current executive legal director and compliance officer Gustavo Costa has almost two decades of experience within the White Martins business, which trades as the Brazilian subsidiary of Praxair Inc., a worldwide industrial gases company. Private practice sources also indicate that Costa is ‘extremely disciplined and determined to solve legal or regulatory conflicts imposed on the company’, crucial when dealing with the legal and operational requirements of White Martins, who are the leading industrial gases producers and distributing company in South America and supply atmospheric, process, medical and specialty gases within the Brazilian and international markets. Known for his deep involvement in litigation strategies and being always open ‘to the search for practical and innovative solutions’, Costa has been highlighted as a ‘decisive helper’ in the attainment of White Martins’ excellent results in the recent past. A specialist in compliance, tax and economics law, Costa holds respect internally and by external counsel partners alike, Costa’s in-depth legal knowledge is compliment by his operational expertise, which has been described as ‘extensive’ and spanning ‘all key areas of the company’.
Solange Costa, chief counsel for global mining, contracting for Latin America leads a team of three at Vale, the largest mining company in Brazil. Costa has been integral to the development and reformation of the organisation’s internal mining legal team. The modifications resulted in vast improvements to response time, efficiency, and additionally, contractual and consultative matters. The legal department’s participation in significant mining negotiations were additionally enhanced. Costa is a key part of Vale’s strategic decisions, her insights and market expertise make her a valuable partner to the corporation. She explains that it has been a major achievement to be able to ‘participate in strategic businesses for the company with focus on contractual and consultative point of view’. Costa describes her biggest challenge during her tenure at Vale as monitoring the new regulatory framework for mining law in Brazil; despite the challenge she has successfully ensured that Vale’s key activities are aligned with these changes. Having spent 16 years in the mining sector, having previously held jobs at companies such as AngloGold Ashanti and Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), Costa is part of a number of associations aimed at the continued development of the industry in South America. She continues to be known in the industry as an expert in mining, environmental and civil law, and won the 2016 Latin American Counsel Award for Regulatory (Non-Financial Services) Individual of the Year. One source has stated that ‘Solange is a member of a select group of mining lawyers in Brazil that inspire me’.
As an individual who prides herself on ‘making a difference in people’s lives’ through her work, Priscila Cruz is currently in charge of RB’s (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) legal, compliance, corporate affairs and corporate security for Latin America. Her diverse skill set has been widely acclaimed by peers and clients and this is reflected in her various responsibilities. At the age of just 28 Cruz became head of legal at RB, a multinational consumer goods company, an experience which she describes as a ‘great opportunity rather than a challenge’. Cruz currently heads a team of 22, which consists of 12 lawyers, four interns and six employees who specialise in corporate affairs and corporate security. Cruz has overseen the transformation of the legal department during her time at RB; her stewardship has seen stark improvements in relation to legal matters, management and leadership background. Additionally, Cruz has also played a key role in major acquisitions for the company, the most notable being the first Danone water business in Brazil, and, recently, the acquisition of condoms and lubricants company Hypermarcas.
Yamana Gold, is a Canadian-based gold producer with significant gold and copper production, exploration properties, and land positions in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia. Maria da Graça Montalvão is the legal director for the Brazilian portion of the company, overseeing the operation of six mines. Since joining the company in 2006, Montalvão has taken on considerable responsibility and covered major work in M&A projects, health and safety legislation and adherence to environment regulation; she has also worked to incorporate all elements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, to ensure full financial compliance. Montalvão’s commercial and legal advice has been crucial in 2016, when Yamana Gold announced that it is creating a new subsidiary that will group its “less favoured” mines together. According to a statement, the new company, Brio Gold Inc., will initially be a fully owned subsidiary. Montalvão had important input into this corporate restructure, advising business counterparts of possible approaches to achieve their goals. Indeed, Montalvão is well-respected as leading voice in the mining industry, having previously had experience as an in-house lawyer at Fosfertil Ultrafertil and Vale.
Antonio Pedro da Silva Machado has served as legal director of Banco do Brasil since 2012, having first joined the state-owned bank in 2005. Having completed a postgraduate degree in Economic Law and Business, with a specialisation in public law and civil litigation, has given Machado the necessary foundations to approach his legal advice in the most commercial manner possible. This has proven to be essential during his time with Banco do Brasil, the largest Brazilian and Latin American bank by assets. As Banco do Brasil is majority owned by the Brazilian government, it makes the bank’s operations even more complex than some of its competitors. Machado oversees the legal work associated with both consumer banking services (such as savings, investments, debit cards, credit cards and loans), as well as commercial and government services. Banco do Brasil has a monopoly on a number of government funding programs, and also acts as the bank for most state governments in the country. A recent government announcement to fund a variety of infrastructure projects, will see approximately R$30bn (US$9.3bn) put towards motorways, railways, ports, airports, and mining, petrol, gas and electric energy facilities. Banco do Brasil, along with public banks and the FGTS (Unemployment Guarantee Fund) will subsidise the financing. Machado’s knowledge of the bank’s unique operations and his ability to see the commercial importance of legal advice, has both proven essential for over a decade.
Bruno Damasceno, legal manager at Sulnorte Serviços Marítimos, is referred to by one source as ‘an excellent professional, with business-oriented vision and exceptional knowledge on tax litigation’. Across his career in private practice and in-house, Damasceno has been known as a lawyer able to get to the heart of issues, instead of getting caught up in legal technicality. Damasceno was hired to create the legal department for Sulnorte Serviços Marítimos, a tugboat company that is part of H. Dantos Group, the oldest Brazilian private shipping group. ‘My first act coordinating the legal department was to developed all the contracts, legal actions and regular expenses controls, before that they didn't exist. We used to hire external lawyers for our legal actions, now we are starting to assume the legal accompaniment, reducing costs’, says Damasceno. The legal team that Damasceno has built has become responsible for an array of work, with particular achievements in ‘licencing, and all the negative certificates of federal, labour and social security debts, which were essential’ for key contracts. Having started his career as a private practice lawyer at Gouvea Vieira Advogados, when Damasceno moved in-house he quickly ‘developed a new sense of how a company runs, learned the real expectations of the CEO and the partners, revising my former impressions’ of the work that is done in-house. The Sulnorte Serviços Marítimos legal team now cover contracts, labour law, taxes, civil procedures, regulatory and environment law, supporting the company across a broad range of practice areas.
Last year, the UK overtook Brazil as Santander’s most profitable global market. Nonetheless, with Brazilian operations accounting for 20% of the group’s profits – and its largest division in Latin America – the results have remained strong in the face of a harsh recession. Last year Sergio Rial was named as Santander Brasil’s new CEO as part of a change of senior management. In May 2016 Alexandre D'Ambrosio joined the bank as executive vice president, legal and corporate affairs and General Counsel. He arrives at the bank as one of the most experienced and respected General Counsel in Brazil, with expertise in a wide range of sectors and practice areas. He is, in the words of one nominator, ‘a guaranteed first port of call when you need first-rate advice’. D'Ambrosio was previously managing director and General Counsel at the holding company of the Votorantim Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Latin America. He has previously held a number of senior in-house roles in Brazil and is an advisory board member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). D'Ambrosio started his career in the US at law firm Bishop, Cook, Purcell & Reynolds (which has since merged with Winston & Strawn).
Cited as a key figure in the legal and banking industry, Ernesto Antunes de Carvalho is regarded by nominators as an ‘extremely technical lawyer, with deep knowledge on litigation’. The legal superintendent began his tenure at Banco Safra, a full service commercial bank and Brazil’s 10th largest private sector financial institution in terms of total assets, in November 2014. Carvalho leads a team of two lawyers and one administrative employee, who together manage significant litigation for the bank. Carvalho has been praised for his role in the early diagnosis of legal problems in the judicial processes of high value and creation of appropriate strategies to generate solutions, his emphasis on ‘implementation of the results of advocacy’ ensure a close relationship with the business. In the recent past, the legal division has endured external challenges, such as the current political and economic crisis experienced by Brazil, which have had an impact on the business; they were however able to overcome these challenges via the application of interim measures such as appropriate wording of contracts, correct application of the new Brazilian Civil Code, and direct contact with the commercial department of the bank.
Newman Debs is the legal director at Unilever, the global consumer goods company, where he leads 10 lawyers and specialists in critical areas including competition, litigation, labour, commercial, marketing support and supply chains. Debs has overseen the extensive reorganisation of the Unilever legal department in Brazil, altering the roles of in-house counsel and external partners. The in-house department now operate in a more strategic manner, in what Debs says is ‘taking advantage of the proximity with the business’ and delivering a ‘consistent approach and a more holistic view’. Operational work is now outsourced to external parties enabling a heightened degree of productivity on all fronts. Debs and his legal division have additionally implemented an increased use of technology in order to enable the team be more agile, expediting their work flow. In terms of compliance, which is described as “Business Integrity” within the Unilever business, Debs successfully oversaw its integration into the legal department alongside a systematic measurement program of KPIs, both of which serve to push towards the fulfilment of Unilever sustainability mission. Debs describes the most enjoyable feature of his role as being able to ‘produce change for the best, encompassing processes, controls, culture, people, all aspects of the corporate life’. Bringing legal to the forefront of the business and maintain close relationships with senior management, Debs has is in constant contact with both the Brazil and LatAm CEOs, he states ‘I'm a member of their Boards, where we discuss the major aspects of our company, projects where I feel valued and supported by them, even when tougher decisions need to be taken.’ Debs has spent over 20 years working in various divisions of Unilever, a dedication to the company that has seen him earn the trust of peers and gain the perfect position to comment on the strategic direction of the company. He is known for his ability to manage change and to react calmly in a crisis; two qualities that only the best in-house lawyers possess.
Rolls Royce’s first in-house lawyer in Brazil, Ivan Dilly has over 15 years of experience to draw from in the world famous engineering company’s Brazilian outpost. Currently its legal director and reporting directly into the country CEO, Dilly leads a compact function of three lawyers whilst also being an integrated part of the Rolls Royce worldwide legal structure. The team, which Dilly helped build, cover all aspects of Rolls Royce’s operations in Brazil including marine, energy, international, corporate and aerospace business units. Describing his work as ‘constantly evolving’, Dilly has influenced major changes in the make-up of the company structure, relocating to Rio in 2008 to accommodate a merger of several different companies into a single entity. Claiming this was a ‘big challenge’ where ‘all operations had to be changed and revamped’, Dilly displayed his organisational skill and versatility by helping merge ‘different cultures and different aspects into one single entity’. A diligent and motivated lawyer, Dilly cites his ability to ‘transition between and understand different products the business offers’ and being able to ‘speak the internal client language’ as being key achievements of his career to date. Aware that in-house legal teams can often be perceived only as “cost centres”, Dilly’s approach is one of asking how legal can define themselves as a ‘profit centre’ for the business instead. Covering ethics and compliance alongside legal support, Dilly maintains an open-door approach to his clients at all times, solving conflicts, providing support and consultation ensuring that the team always ‘think one step ahead’. Dedicated to serving and upholding the Rolls Royce brand, Dilly enjoys ‘a good relationship’ across the company and despite their successes are able to be ‘very humble, behaving in a good manner following company principles’.
Luis dos Santos Martins currently leads a team of 75 lawyers, paralegals and corporate security experts in his role as General Counsel for IBM Brazil. Martins is an expert in the information technology (IT) sector, having worked with IBM for over 12 years in a number of countries: his first role after private practice covered IBM’s operations in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel based out of Madrid; he then worked at the IBM headquarters in New York covering software M&A work and East Coast Insurance accounts; returning to Madrid he covered the Central and Eastern Europe region, and subsequently Middle East and Africa. Martins eventually relocated to São Paulo in 2015 to become the General Counsel of IBM Brazil. Having gained a wealth of experience in how the company operates, and the key role that legal can play in company strategy, Martins now provides practical advice to the senior management on corporate and business matters. The legal team supports approximately 20,000 employees, generating annual revenues of $3bn, across the 17 subsidiaries that fall under the IBM Brazil umbrella. In his time with IBM Brazil, Martins has utilised his sharp business acumen to develop relationships with public institutions and supervisory authorities, making sure the company is fully up-to-date on important industry matters. IBM is known globally for its innovation within the technology sector, and Martins fits that corporate mould well. He is the executive sponsor of Watson’s Cognitive technology development program for the legal industry, and is a co-founder of the IBM Brazil Entrepreneurial Program to accelerate innovative startups.
ArcelorMittal, the Luxembourg-headquartered company that is the largest steel producer in the world, has expanded its operations in Latin America significantly in the past decade. ArcelorMittal Brasil is comprised of 27 facilities and a distribution network with more than 110 units, which have a steel production capacity of over 11 million tonnes and iron ore production capacity of over 7 million tonnes. Supporting the 11,000 employees in the country is a legal team led by Suzana Fagundes, head of legal, compliance and institutional relations for Central and South Americas. Fagundes is known as an excellent competition lawyer; for example, last year she was awarded “Competition Lawyer of the Year” at the 2016 Latin American Corporate Counsel Awards. Having first joined ArcelorMittal in 2005, Fagundes has been a key part of the business’ development in Latin America. The legal team has had considerable input into a robust sustainability programme, which focusses on stakeholder engagement and environmental conscientiousness, and have encouraged ArcelorMittal’s involvement in a number of industry bodies that serve in the public interest and safety. On a personal level, Fagundes plays a critical role in the development of the role of in-house lawyers in Brazil. She has been chairwoman of the In-house Lawyer Commission, a professor at a number of educational institutions, and is currently a director of the Brazilian Bar Association. Her expertise within her company and her passion outside of it, make Fagundes one of the leading lights in the Brazilian in-house market. Fagundes recognises the collaboration with her team being crucial to achieving this; she describes them as being ‘so enthusiastic, dedicated and competent and the current and prior top management have all combined to inspire and support me and the entire legal function’.
Luciana Ferreira has been described by sources as a ‘dedicated and knowledgeable lawyer with an eye for business’. Ferreira currently leads a team of 10 at Rio Energy, an investment platform focusing on the development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets in Brazil. She is widely acknowledged for her ability to concurrently ‘control a series of different matters in different fields’, embracing the need for an in-house lawyer to be truly flexible. Ferreira has additionally mitigated risks and managed legal fees in order to reduce company costs. She has ensured that the legal division at Rio Energy is now recognised as a business partner; helping Rio Energy develop business in a sustainable and compliant manner. Ferreira has previously gained in-house experience from Lafarge and Vale, in a number of different positions. During her position at the former, she successfully implemented the Brazilian legal aspects of the global merger between Lafarge and Holcim, including antitrust approval and divestment of assets. This merger created the most advanced group in the building materials industry and was described by Ferreira as ‘the biggest highlight of my in-house career to date’. Before moving in-house, she was a foreign lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.
Since 1994, Ana Fidalgo has worked in the legal department of Lojas Americanas, a Brazilian retail chain with approximately 860 stores in all 26 states. The company, which employees approximately 19,000 people, was traditionally known as a discount store. However, in Fidalgo’s 22 years with Lojas Americanas, she has overseen rapid expansion, changed in management and investors, corporate reorganisation, and the adaptation to the rise of e-commerce. As one source states, Fidalgo has had to be ‘a skilled and experienced lawyer’ in order to support the business operations that have changed significantly over the last two decades. Perhaps demanding the most legal advice was Lojas Americanas’ foray into the world of e-commerce, which required not only expert corporate advice, but also a heightened ability to give legal opinion at the speed of the internet. ‘Her exceptional knowledge of the company’s field of activity provides outstanding and innovative support to legal strategies’, according to one private practice source.
Cetip is one of the biggest companies within Brazil's financial system, and despite a relatively rocky period for the sector in the country, Reinaldo Morais Filho continues to prove his worth as an excellent leader with a high level of operational expertise. In his current role as legal, compliance and institutional relations executive officer, Filho has responsibility for all matters that affect Cetip’s day-to-day business over these three intertwined functions. One private practice source illustrates the strength of his strategic thinking, claiming that Filho and his team have ‘spared Cetip hundreds of millions of US dollars through their work’. This strength is also acknowledged within Cetip’s business, who recognise the importance of a legal voice and Filho’s own know-how, as he takes a role on Cetip’s board of officers who guide and implement company strategy. Able to prove his worth to the business in objective terms, a source explains how his considered approach recently paid off in a case of extremely high-value: ‘Filho has been very helpful and cooperative in defining the models and strategies of a multi-case litigation involving values in excess of $500m’. Before taking his current role, Filho held legal director roles at GRV Solutions and then Sascar Tecnologia e Segurança Automotiva. He was also previously a partner at Meirelles Rosa Advogados.
Augusto Fortuna currently leads three employees as legal manager for Almap BBDO. Fortuna describes Almap BBDO as ‘actively contributing to the advertising industry, one of the most engaging and creative industries in the world’. During his tenure, Fortuna has managed to consolidate and affirm the importance of having a legal department in an advertising agency. He has ensured that the legal department has become more integrated with the business rather than just being consultants on relevant legal matters. This success was described by Fortuna as effectively seeing his work be considered ‘part of the whole’ and not just seen when a legal matter appears. Fortuna and his team are deemed to be key speaking partners at Almap BBDO and demonstrate an active role in the establishment’s significant strategic developments. Fortuna assisted the company in providing legal support to the global campaign of a key sponsor to the FIFA World Cup 2014, in which all the advertising campaigns of said sponsor were created by Almap BBDO involving hundreds of pieces of legal advice, legal approvals and contracts executed worldwide. Fortuna highlights this as an ‘amazing professional experience’.
Netshoes is a fast growing sporting goods e-commerce company that operate with a relatively compact legal department led by legal director Flávio Franco. Taking overall responsibility for all legal matters across the company’s Brazil, Argentina and Mexico operations, Franco leads a legal team of seven employees, five of whom are licenced attorneys. Franco describes Netshoes as a ‘dynamic company full of initiatives related to new technologies, new service features, innovative partnerships among other activities focused on a unique customer experience and sustainable corporate growth’. Franco and the rest of the legal team – which he built from scratch upon his arrival at the company – play an important role in delivering these projects, and are constantly battling what Franco calls a ‘disruptive and fast moving environment’. The most crucial element of Franco’s work is connected with ‘closeness to the business’, owing to the aforementioned peculiarities of the digital industry; the e-commerce world is ‘constantly changing and developing’, requiring flexible and timely advice. Having a career that is extremely varied in terms of in-house roles, Franco can point to experience in ‘software technology, international logistics, retail and, most recently, sports and fashion e-commerce’. Over the years, Franco has developed a personal mantra that defines legal as being a ‘rich source of information, acting as a valuable business partner in any given corporate organisation’. Stressing the importance of trust and value-adding, Franco is also keen that those two attributes are not ‘nice to have’ skills, but rather essential requirements for all employees within his team. Heavily involved in the industry outside his legal director role, Franco is the course coordinator and a visiting professor on Insper’s post-graduate qualification course for in-house lawyers looking to boost their business skills and better manage their legal departments, covering a wide range of interconnected topics.
Luciana Freire is legal manager at Brazilian financial institution Banco BMG, who benefit from what one nominator calls Freire’s ‘extremely professional, business-oriented and responsive’ approach. With a remit that includes several aspects of corporate management and legal expertise, Freire is oversees management of Banco BMG’s advisory legal department where she deals with issues related to the bank’s products, commercial activities, treasury, corporate and non-financial contracts. In addition she deals with management of the litigation department, which covers massive and strategic civil litigation, mass litigation and labour law for all of Banco BMG and its subsidiaries. Freire has a litany of experience in the sector, having previous in-house roles extending to directorships and the head of legal functions at Banco Fibra in São Paulo, Banco Rabobank International Brazil and Banco Santos. Freire began her career in private practice spending over four years at Noronha Advogados, also in São Paulo.
Eduardo Frota has been working within in-house legal teams of multinational corporations for over 15 years, gaining experience in the energy and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. Currently the legal director for The Coca-Cola Company in Brazil, Frota leads a team of four lawyers, one paralegal and two interns who oversee M&A, marketing, product launch, supply chain, environmental, antitrust, contracting and regulatory proceedings. Frota has a particularly strong background in civil and commercial law, especially in the analysis, development, revision and renewal of commercial contracts and agreements, and actively participating in negotiations with strategic customers and suppliers. The Coca-Cola Company has been growing across South America in recent years, and this is no different in the Brazilian market. As the business has expanded into new product ranges and increased production, Frota’s work has become more complex. Their larger footprint in the country brings with it additional scrutiny of their operations and the effect that it has on the environment and society. Frota gives legal support to the Instituto Coca-Cola Brasil, a not-for-profit entity that acts in partnership with NGOs in education, environmental sustainability and garbage recycling activities. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is something that Coca-Cola takes seriously on a global level, so it is important that Frota can support the work CSR work in Brazil. Beverage companies have been criticised in South America for the perceived effect of their products on the rate of child obesity: it was with this in mind that The Coca-Cola Company in Brazil decided to stop selling their drinks to schools with pupils under the age of 12. Frota has been at the heart of this decision, advising on potential regulatory and tax changes that the government might consider. Frota also played a central role in the launch of a new product line, Café Leão, a high-quality, locally sourced and produced coffee that will be sold exclusively in Brazil. Having already expanded in to juice, tea and mineral water in recent years, this move was strategically important for the company as it seeks to expand into the breakfast beverage market. Before joining The Coca-Cola Company, Frota was managing counsel for the retail and business-to-business divisions of Shell Brasil.
The Brazilian operations of French multinational supermarket and retail chain Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer by sales, have played an increasingly significant role in the group’s activities over recent years, most recently through the increased stake taken by investor and tycoon Abilio Diniz. In spite of Brazil’s recession, the company’s sales grew by nearly 10% in the country last year. Sandra Gebara, Carrefour’s legal director for Brazil, plays an important strategic role in the company’s local operation and is recognised as one of the leading legal counsel in Latin America. An expert in consumer law, Gebara has done much to ensure that the legal function works as a critical part of the business and her ability to work as trusted counsel and strategic advisor to senior business figures is well-known in the Brazilian legal community. Gebara has been with Carrefour for two years and was previously legal director of Grupo Pão de Açúcar (now known as Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição), Brazil’s largest food distributor and a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, at the time run by Abilio Diniz.
Since 2006 Heraldo Geres has been at multinational food company Marfrig Group, where he currently assumes the role of vice president overseeing legal affairs from the company’s base in São Paulo. Marfrig has several operations in the food service sector and a presence in 16 countries across the globe including, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, France, USA, United Kingdom and China. Geres provides legal advice across all matters relating to the three separate operating subsidiaries: Marfrig Beef, Moy Park and Keystone Foods. Geres’ decade of work at the company has seen numerous changes to create a solid legal and compliance base. This stability has enabled Marfrig’s global beef division to ship the first container of natural beef to the United States in September 2016. This has opened up a potentially lucrative market in the wake of the implementation of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which should provide unlimited access to the US market from 2020 onwards. Geres came to Marfrig from private practice, where he was a partner at Benicio Advogados between 2001 and 2006 and is a consultant member of the Commission of Corporate Law in Brazil.
Cited by nominators as an ‘extremely high-skilled and very efficient’ lawyer, Boris Gris leads a proficient and knowledgeable legal department at Arcos Dourados Comércio de Alimentos, the Brazilian part of Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald's franchisee in the world in terms of sales and restaurants. Gris, as General Counsel, is proficient in several alternative fields including capital markets, corporate law, M&A, litigation, franchising and real estate. This versatility coupled with an enriched business acumen has ensured that the seasoned lawyer remains at the top of his trade. Sources describe Gris as a ‘powerful ally and outstanding adviser in all cases involving the company’. Gris continues to operate at an exceedingly high standard, a trait which he has managed to successfully instill into his highly rated legal team. As Arcos Dourados continues to grow in employee number, revenue and restaurant number across Brazil, it will need Gris to continue to improve internal process, manage compliance burdens and support the overall business expansion. Gris has an in-house career that spans almost 30 years, having held positions with Votorantim, Petrochemical Union and Quattor.
Josie Jardim, General Counsel for Latin America at GE, is defined by one source as a ‘well trained legal professional with in-depth business expertise’. The industry renowned Jardim supports GE, a multinational industrials company, across a diverse range of operations, and holds particular skill in corporate governance, M&A, intellectual property and corporate law. She works closely and collaboratively with all key departments within the organisation and maintains a good relationship with senior management. Jardim recently provided a substantial contribution to the organisation’s partnership with the Olympic Games in Rio, a relationship they have shared since 2006. In August this year, GE announced that it had exceeded $1.5bn in infrastructure sales related to the Olympic Games; a feat that could not have been achieved without the assistance of Jardim and the legal team. Jardim’s previous experience includes tenures at Motorola, Amazon, Splice Telecom and Promon. To disseminate her hard-earned knowledge, Jardim has spoken at a number of conferences and forums on the topic of diversity in the legal profession. Indeed, she founded Jurídico de Saias (Legal in Skirts), a group created for female in-house counsel that wish to develop their careers in the legal sector. Jardim has written a number of articles on the role of an in-house lawyer, a “typical” career path and how to successfully manage legal teams.
Katia Valverde Junqueira is director of legal affairs in Brazil for Gas Natural Fenosa, a Spanish multinational specialising in distribution, supply and transportation of natural gas. The Brazilian part of Gas Natural Fenosa operates under a number of subsidiaries: Distribuidora de Gás do RJ (CEG), CEG RIO, São Paulo Sul and Gas Natural Serviços. Junqueira currently oversees legal matters for all subsidiaries, which collectively supply some of the largest states in Brazil with natural gas. Her ability to manage multiple entities requires a considerable talent for multitasking and a proficiency for prioritising a significant workload. Outside of her day-to-day work, Junqueira has become a widely-known and highly-respected lawyer across the country. She is member of numerous committees, councils and groups, promoting progression in the gas sector, or aiming to support women entering the legal profession. Junqueira’s market influence has been recognised in the form of numerous accolades and industry awards for her work. For example, in 2013, she was awarded a trophy by Justiça & Cidadania Law Magazine in recognition of her achievements upholding ethics and justice in the country. One source summed up her ‘various skills and competences’ by drawing attention to her selection as a Justice to the Rio de Janeiro court of appeals; an honour that will see her at the heart of some of the most important decisions in the state. Junqueira has taught at a number of universities, helping to promote the continued learning of young people in the profession, covering topics such as regulation, environmental law and oil and gas legislation. For those that she has not been able to directly teach, Junqueira has co-authored three books on environmental law, and has written numerous articles for magazines.
Khalil Kaddissi is legal director at JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world, overseeing the corporate law department. Upon joining JBS in 2014, Kaddissi gained responsibility for contracts, general corporate issues, capital markets, shareholder structure and tax litigation. His fellow legal director, Renata Quartim, covers general and civil litigation. Described by one nominator as having ‘significant corporate law experience’, Kaddissi is known in the industry for his work in M&A, joint ventures and international law. Prior to his appointment at JBS, the seasoned lawyer previously worked at various other large companies and law firms such as TOTVS, lhoa Canto Souza Cescon and Anhanguera Educacional. Kaddissi, along with a few other renowned legal experts, has provided a substantial contribution in the restructuring of JBS’ legal department: an act which is expected to increase employee efficiency, speed up legal processes and provide the group with an enhanced focus on regional activities. The extensive legal expertise of Kaddissi has solidified his status as a highly respected figure throughout the industry.
Before joining Ultrapar in 2008, Sandra Lopez Gorbe accumulated experience from various other large listed companies including two years in Merrill Lynch São Paulo, as well as law firms across Brazil. In her current role as head of legal at Ultrapar, a conglomerate with subsidiaries in a range of industries, Gorbe leads the legal department of eight staff at the company’s holding level. She has been instrumental in revolutionising the legal department of Brazil’s fourth largest company, and describes that ‘part of the maturation of the legal team has seen improvements in how we play and this means we are closer to the decision-making process and to management’. The legal division at Ultrapar, considered a ‘very good company with a good reputation’ in the market, has refocused its scope and outlined what steps are required in order to progress over the next few years. According to Gorbe, there has been an advance towards a new model of department where the legal team has a say on relevant matters in subsidiaries, a process which Gorbe highlights as her biggest achievement to date. With a mind to providing support that is ‘straight and very careful and conscious with our businesses’ Gorbe explains how their department’s high standards require ‘very good rules and internal controls in place’, in this regard they ‘work closely with the internal audit department and compliance department and have also created committees internally’. Such measures have come about due to several different market influences, which have seen an increase in the importance of legal and compliance departments against the backdrop of a volatile market setting. Appreciating the fact that change is impossible to provide individually, Gorbe is determined to make the legal department ‘more engaged and with a very high level of skills and motivations, you cannot ignore people when creating and implementing change’.
Cemig is a well-established power company that operates in 23 Brazilian states, the company has a 25% market share in the region, and is responsible for the operation of 120 power plants across the country, making the company one of the largest power generation groups. Being such a large and reputable organisation requires a highly competent and deeply experienced legal team; Cemig has a figurehead to rely on in the form of chief counsel Raul Lycurgo Leite. Leite has provided a significant contribution to several key developments at Cemig, and he has worked closely with various other departments in order to ensure that ethical conduct throughout the company is a primary concern. Internal policies have been realigned to ensure all activities and relationships comply with ethical and moral concepts. Leite has additionally been involved in the mitigation of risks for the company and the improvement of company processes and efficiency. The group has expectedly endured difficulties from regulatory reformations that are being passed across the energy sector, Leite has assisted in ensuring that the organisation remains well prepared and equipped to be able to adjust to various modifications. Before joining Cemig, Leite held a number of attorney roles with federal agencies.
Rafael Magalhães Martins is the senior counsel in charge of corporate affairs for Invepar, the infrastructure holding company that owns stakes in São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, Linha Amarela and the subway system of Rio de Janeiro. According to one source, it is Martins’ ‘ability to managing a series of different matters in different fields of law at the same time’, which allows him to stand out from the crowd. Using his ‘solid technical and academic background’, Martins has had considerable input into the success of Invepar by creating ‘a framework of rules that would facilitate the work clients’. In Martins’ own words: ‘[the legal team] has created standard drafts for recurring contracts and an in-company website, which allows users to download contractual drafts and obtain information regarding the steps necessary to complete the legal analysis of their contracts’. Bringing legal analysis into the equation more easily has allowed the business to continue to expand while being sure of the risk that it is taking on. Martins is particularly proud of his work on the purchase of SULACAP, a company engaged in the commercialisation of capitalisation bonds, by the insurance conglomerate SulAmérica, and the issuance of R$750m in debentures by SulAmérica. Martins’ expert corporate work has allowed Invepar to realise its goals, and has impressed outside counsel who have encountered his work.
The talented Renato Maia Lopes has almost two decades of experience in the legal sector. Cited by one source as ‘diligent and articulate’, the knowledgeable lawyer has been integral to various strategic developments at Votorantim Group’s subsidiaries: Votorantim Metais and Votorantim Steel. Currently occupying the role of General Counsel at Votorantim Metais, Lopes is responsible for the group’s affairs in Brazil, Peru and the USA. Lopes’ years of legal service have seen him accumulate a wealth of in-depth skills in areas such as M&A processes, contract negotiations, corporate law, trading and corporate governance. Lopes has assisted Votorantim Metais in a number of these activities on both a national and transnational basis. Sources describe Lopes as ‘an outstanding professional who combines technical, managerial and leadership capabilities to successfully handle business challenges’. Lopes featured in The Legal 500’s ranking of 100 influential corporate counsel in Latin America in 2014.
Pedro De Abreu Mariani has been with AmBev since 2004, and currently holds the position of General Counsel and corporate affairs officer. In this joint role Mariani oversees the legal security of AmBev, the Brazilian-headquartered and largest brewing company in Latin America, in 18 countries throughout the Americas; producing globally-known brands of beer such as Brahma, Skol and Antarctica. In 2012, AmBev expanded its operations in the Caribbean through a strategic alliance with E. León Jimenes, a transaction that Mariani and the team successfully negotiated. As AmBev is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, another global brewer, Mariani and the legal team have been caught up in the antitrust approvals needed for the acquisition of SABMiller. Considering the size of the mega-merger, approval has been needed from antitrust regulators across the world – and AmBev had to be found to not overlap with SABMiller’s market share in Latin American countries. Mariani was praised by one nominator for his ability to be calm under pressure, and to offer security to business peers when they need it most – whether for corporate matters or new product launches. Mariani has been internationally educated holding a law degree from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Brazilian mining company Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) are specialists in the mining and processing of niobium, which is used to create a steel-strengthening alloy. CBMM is the world’s leading supplier of niobium and niobium technology, which are produced in its facilities based near the city of Araxá in the Western Minas Gerais state. Fabiana Medeiros’ knowledge of and experience in the mining sector has been called ‘vast’ by one source, who also highlights her ‘important role conducting the litigation cases involving the company, as she has a great business view and practice of law’. The process of creating the unique niobium alloy is closely guarded by the company; in fact, when CBMM took on Asian investors, they refused to allow technical due diligence in order to keep their manufacturing process a secret. This level of privacy has posed interesting questions for Medeiros and the legal team, who are tasked with intellectual property protection and risk management.
With a long history of leading legal departments in some of the most important companies in Brazil, Fernando Merino can point to a distinguished career across the banking, mining and retail industries in addition to solid private practice experience. Particularly noted for his knowledge in M&A, cross-border transactions, corporate law and corporate governance, these skills all combine with his career path to ensure Grupo Pão de Açucar (GPA) is given wise, dependable and business-savvy counsel across all group functions. GPA is Brazil’s largest retail and distribution group, with 2,113 stores across 21 Brazilian states and federal districts, and employing 137,000 people making it Brazil’s largest private employer in the retail industry. Operating a variety of different retail operations including several well-known supermarket brand names in both physical and e-commerce stores, the flexibility and specialism needed to counsel the group are evident. After stints as an associate in various top law firms in London and New York, Merino’s in-house career started in 1997 at CSFB Garantia (Credit Suisse), after which he took roles as Brazil General Counsel at JPMorgan and then Merrill Lynch. He then left the banking sector to become group General Counsel of mining and metals company Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN), staying there for almost six years before moving to GPA in April 2014. Providing the bedrock for his vast subsequent corporate and law firm experience, Merino is a graduate of Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro and achieved an LL.M. in Law from Columbia University School of Law in 1994.
Shirley Meschke joined Pfizer, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, in 2006. Having led mergers, acquisitions, divestments, business transactions and corporate reorganisations that were crucial to the region, she was promoted to director of legal affairs for Brazil in 2013. Now Meschke is responsible for risk analysis, mitigation strategies and compliance integration that allow her business counterparts to further the company’s goals. It is reported that Pfizer is looking to exit the Brazilian generic drug market, and there are a number of possible acquirers or partners as possibilities. If this comes to fruition, Meschke’s advice will be critical for the successful and smooth transition. Before moving to Pfizer, Meschke was legal manager at Brazilian electronic company Itaúsa Group for five years, and gained private practice experience as a senior associate at Trench, Rossi and Watanabe. At the start of her career she had experience in the tax space at Unilever and Arthur Anderson. Meschke was described by one private practice partner as an ‘incredibly gifted lawyer, who has gained experience across a number of sectors’.
Professional services firm Accenture has operations across the world, and Jose Moscati operates as one of the most senior figures in its Latin America business working out of São Paulo. As managing director for Latin America, Moscati takes responsibility of a regional department that houses a large amount of people including approximately 60 contract staff, 180 off-shore and service centre professionals and around 25 lawyers. In his associate General Counsel role, Moscati directly supervises the contracting team of 10 executives, who oversee the smooth operation of ‘the most complex operations in the region’. With almost two decades within Accenture’s business, Moscati has held several different roles, moving around the business both geographically and organisationally. Citing his greatest achievements, Moscati explains how he has created, implemented and reshaped various aspects of Accenture’s business in different locations. During his time as director of legal services for China and India, Moscati created a compliance process in China, and implemented a process of segmentation of contracting work globally; dividing up work according to its complexity, geography and cost to serve. Moscati also has previous experience structuring and reshaping whole teams that fall under his remit to ensure they are in line with Accenture’s global guidelines. Moscati is aware of the differences in challenges between the different regions and business units he’s responsible for, stating ‘different geographies have different challenges’ and that in Latin America’s technology sector there is a need to keep law firms engaged to help them support cutting-edge digital and cloud operations. Receiving his legal qualifications from Universidade de São Paulo, The University of London and Fundação Getulio Vargas, Moscati is also a part of Accenture’s Brazilian board and of the Brazilian Ethics Committee.
Two events over the past decade have seen Goldman Sachs play an important symbolic role in Brazil’s economic fortunes. In 2006, the firm launched its US-domiciled “BRIC" fund, targeting growth equity investments in Brazil, Russia, India and China (the acronym itself was coined by former-Goldman Sachs chairman Jim O’Neill). Last year, after seeing increasingly poor returns, the fund was closed and, following a sharp fall in equity deals in the Latin America region, the last of the firm’s remaining Brazil-based partners departed. In spite of the pressures the local market has been under, Ricardo Mourao, Goldman Sachs’ General Counsel for Brazil, has stood out as a key adviser to the business, helping it to protect its investments and offering critical advice on how to mitigate legal risks in its banking, securities and M&A practices. Last year, Mourao was one of over 400 key members of staff globally to be made managing director at Goldman Sachs - a prestigious award in investment banking circles, especially for a lawyer - in the firm’s largest ever round of promotions. Mourao started his career in-house at Goldman Sachs five years ago and had previously been a partner at specialist tax firm Velloza, Girotto e Lindenbojm Advogados.
Currently serving as the chief legal and institutional relations officer at CPFL Energia, Brazil's largest private company in the power sector, operating in generation, transmission and distribution, Luiz Eduardo F. do Amaral Osorio is one of the most experienced and respected in-house lawyers in the country. Osorio’s role sees him acting in both a legal and commercial role; he is accountable not just for the management of the legal team, but also the ‘corporate internal and external communications, handling complex themes on branding, external relations with key stakeholders, especially government and regulators, sustainability and social investment’. In a career that has spanned multinational companies such as AmBev, Shell and Diageo, Osorio has built up an impressive talent for the management of legal and government affairs, truly understanding the commercial role that an in-house lawyer has to play in today’s business world. As Osorio says: ‘The General Counsel position has generally undergone a significant expansion of responsibilities in the last years, encompassing areas far beyond legal. I envisage the GC becoming more and more strategic and close to the CEO, the boards and its committees. The GC will increasingly dive into corporate governance and executive remuneration matters, and “softer” issues such as corporate reputation, ethics, sustainability, social performance and stakeholder relations’. This growth of roles has already happened for Osorio, who is a board member of CPFL Energias Renováveis S.A., the country’s largest renewable energies generation company, as well as vice-chairman of Instituto CPFL, the group’s investment arm for social, cultural and sports programs. Although his wide remit could have drawn his attention away from the legal team, which consists of 39 lawyers and 23 employees in a non-legal function, this has definitely not been the case. Since joining CPFL Energia in 2014, Osorio has undertaken a large-scale restructure of the department, which he terms the “Zero Base” legal transformation project (JBZ - “Jurídico Base Zero”). Restructuring of team members’ roles was needed for this, and the first iteration of it has ‘delivered savings in the order of millions of dollars through an ample restructuring of the legal organisation and processes and a focused settlement program. The “second wave”, strongly based on the identification of root causes, is already delivering on the reduction of incoming lawsuits; to the order of 33% case reduction since 2014’. In this time of change, Osorio was careful to maintain a focus on people development, ‘especially in the areas of leadership and management skills. It is rewarding to see the tangible improvement of staff morale in a relatively short period’. Even though the ‘highly regulated power sector has been through a very difficult business environment, pressed by various, critical regulatory issues in addition to an unstable socio-economic and political framework, which has led to a strongly legalistic landscape’, Osorio has managed to motivate his team as well as bring important operational changes to the company while also overseeing some landmark judgements and crucial M&A activity.
Praised by one nominator for his advanced and ‘proactive approach’, seasoned legal director Pedro Pace is renowned throughout the technology sector for his in-depth expertise and enhanced business acumen. Pace oversees Apple’s Latin American legal practices in addition to all compliance issues that the subsidiary experiences. Operating in an exceedingly fast paced international technology company has required Pace to demonstrate a wide array of expertise in various different fields. Pace is highly proficient in contract negotiations, corporate, consumer and tax law and corporate governance. He is additionally a member of the organisation’s leadership team and a well-respected voice on the ethics council. Sources identify the established legal director’s ‘personal skills’ to be a driving factor behind his longevity and his ability to build cohesive legal teams. Pace has spent almost 15 years developing his skills in the technology industry; he previously held in-house roles with Sun Microsystems do Brasil and Hewlett Packard Brasil. He has also spent a number of years in private practice both in Brazil and Germany.
Breno Rodrigo Pacheco de Oliveira has spent over 16 years with telecommunications giant Vivo – which is Spanish multinational Telefônica’s presence in Brazil. Leading Vivo’s legal team, a function comprising of over 200 staff (both lawyers and non-lawyers), Pacheco de Oliveira utilises both managerial and legal expertise in his role, navigating the Brazilian branch of the international telecoms company through a minefield of competition, regulation and shareholder demands. With regards to his relationship with senior management, Pacheco de Oliveira is able to use his position as secretary general and General Counsel to take part in decisions important to the strategic direction of Vivo. He reports to the CEO as well as the chairman of the company, displaying the closeness and trust he has with the upper echelons of the business. Highlighting what he considers to be the most important of his in-house achievements, Pacheco de Oliveira cites earning the respect of all of his stakeholders, whilst being able to discern between what is important and what is not when dealing with in-house work. He has endeavoured to ‘apply skills to work with simplicity, efficiency and being respected by all my stakeholders’.
As regional general counsel for Tetra Pak in the Americas, Roberto Paes oversees the legal affairs for Tetra Pak’s operations throughout North, Central and South American countries. In-line with this wide geographical area, Paes has a large practice area remit in his role, including matters related to growth transactions, alliances, commercial sales, local strategic sourcing arrangements and dispute resolutions. Paes also deals with general commercial law, corporate law and compliance matters wherever they arise for the multinational food packaging and processing group. A key change from an organisational standpoint was Paes’ effort to ‘eliminate geographical barriers to allow teamwork through a global network’, greatly improving communication lines between countries. In his day-to-day work Paes draws from more than 20 years of legal experience both as in-house lawyer and external counsel, advising local and foreign clients in many different industries. Paes was first employed by Tetra Pak in 2011 when he was appointed legal director of the Central and South American regions. He started his in-house career as GE’s Latin America regional general counsel, building on a private practice experience at law firms including Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr.e Quiroga Advogados and Mayer Brown across various practice areas. As private practice lawyer he participated in several cross border M&A and financing transactions, including bond offerings, consent solicitations, tender offers, exchange offers and bank financings. After the conclusion of the research phase, Paes left Tetra Pak to start an MBA at MIT to further his already impressive corporate and commercial knowledge.
Lucia Paolini, vice president legal and business affairs at Fox Latin American Channels, has accumulated a wealth of experience during her illustrious career. Her current tenure at Fox Latin American Channels has seen her advising the commercial broadcast television network in Brazil as well as creating interface with both local and international legal service providers. Paolini is highly competent in litigation, M&A, contract negotiation, management of lawsuits and legal consultation. During her time with Fox, she has also provided a significant contribution to the development of legal solutions, which have resulted in a positive increase to the organisation’s results, Paolini describes the legal function at Fox Latin America as ‘working proactively rather than reactively’. Paolini is a seasoned in-house lawyer with over 13 years in positions of responsibility within legal departments of multinational companies, such as Lenovo, Grupo de Soluções em Alimentação, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Schneider Electric. Her experience with industrial, entertainment and services companies has encourage Paolini to embrace the commercial impacts of legal advice. Paolini describes herself as ‘much more than a lawyer’, she is considered to be a key decision maker and a vital asset to the organisation.
BRF is a large Brazilian food company that has been in business for over 82 years, creating products under several brand names including Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy. Sadia was recently been named Brazil’s most valuable food brand and is worth $2bn across its multiple segments, including ham, pizza and frozen meals. José Roberto Pernomian Rodrigues is BRF’s current vice president for legal and corporate affairs, which encompasses legal and corporate oversight for a company with approximately 105,000 employees, 35 industrial units, 13 international plants and 40 distribution centres. BRF currently exports its products to over 120 countries and posted a net revenue figure of R$8.1bn in the first quarter of 2016. Despite market-related challenges, the first quarter of 2016 saw important advances in BRF’s international expansion process, as the company concluded the acquisitions of Golden Foods Siamin Thailand, Universal Meats in the United Kingdom and Qatar National Import and Export Co. It also was able to gain access to new markets in Asia and Latin America, namely Malaysia and Mexico, requiring broad and extensive legal support. Rodrigues has a wealth of experience from which to provide such counsel, with extensive experience in the field of business law; before joining BRF he was a professor of general theory of law, financial law and tax law at various educational institutions. For a period of time he acted as a Judge at Court of Taxes and Duties of the Secretary of the São Paulo State Finance. Rodrigues is an active member of industry bodies that promote the development of the legal industry in São Paulo and Brazil as a whole: he is part of both the AASP (Associação dos Advogados de São Paulo) and IASP (Instituto dos Advogados de São Paulo).
‘I’m contributing, through my work, to make a better world. Each partnership on the vaccines field represents more people protected against some diseases’, says Fatima Picoto legal director for Brazil at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global healthcare company. Picoto currently leads a team of six, which helps to support the company’s mantra of ‘improving the quality of human life’. During her tenure, Picoto has developed a team which is able to maintain what she describes as the ‘right balance between business partner and governance’ and has added value to GSK by ensuring that clients receive high ethical standards that allow the business to grow in sustainable way. Picoto has been influential the development of GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘Anti-bribery and corruption’ framework (ABAC), an act which has ensured the organisation’s compliance with the highest ethical standards and all anti-corruption laws applicable. The implementation of the ABAC has guaranteed internal personnel and third parties acting on behalf of the business adhere to the organisations zero tolerance approach to all forms of corruption and the maintenance if accurate records in relation to all business dealings.
Legal director Glaucus Pimenta is cited by sources as a ‘first-rate and quality legal expert’. Pimenta is responsible for legal affairs at Grupo Águas do Brasil, a provider of solutions for water treatment, sewage and industrial waste. Pimenta has worked tirelessly to ensure the organisation adheres to the strict regulatory requirements of the water management industry. Pimenta is rated very highly throughout Grupo Águas do Brasil, and this is reflected in the influence that Pimenta displays regarding key strategic developments of the organisation and the implementation of the company’s social and environmental responsibility programs. These programs have successfully enabled Grupo Águas do Brasil to provide a wide array of benefits to the societies in which they operate via extensive planning, education and close partnerships with various sectors. Pimenta and the legal team have helped the company overcome the challenges of expanding systems, regularisation and enhancement of existing networks across Brazil.
Based in São Paulo, but with a continent-wide remit, Mauricio Joffily Pinheiro is Shire’s head counsel for the Latin America region, a position he has held since February 2015. Arriving at the global pharmaceutical company in the face of a difficult situation – Shire had passed through an unsuccessful acquisition process with Abbvie and much of the legal team left the company – required Pinheiro to ‘lead a full restructuring of the legal team and perform a legal risk assessment in many areas of the company’. Common legal work at Latin American business of Shire involves specific regional aspects; Pinheiro oversaw the implementation of new, standardised distribution agreements in the Latin America region, implementation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-bribery and Anti-corruption (ABAC) regulations, and new contracting policies. With a huge amount of experience in-house in the pharmaceutical industry, Pinheiro previously worked at BioMarin for three years where he took charge of the start-up of the legal and compliance departments for Latin America, along with a seven year stint at AstraZeneca as legal director for Brazil. Pinheiro believes that the biggest challenges he has faced in his career were the price negotiations with the Ministries of Health in Brazil and Argentina, and dealing with a high turnover of people in a short amount of time. Despite the geopolitical situation in parts of the region being unstable – economic and political crises in Brazil and Venezuela being two examples – he states his motto is to ‘read the environment appropriately and identify partners to operate in these markets under a strong compliance framework’. Alongside external counsel and the local team, Pinheiro was instrumental in winning a favourable decision in a $60m litigation involving clinical trials in Brazil. According to Pinheiro this represented ‘a landmark for the pharmaceutical industry in Brazil and for the post-trial obligations’. Currently supporting Shire’s integration with Baxalta in Latin America, Pinheiro can continue to influence company success via his excellent work and his seat at the regional leadership team. Pinheiro also has a relationship with Shire’s regional head and local general managers in different countries, a relationship he describes as being a ‘pure business partnership’.
Formerly trading under the brand name Endesa, Enel Brazil is one of the largest electricity companies in the country, with over 15 million clients and almost 18,000 employees. Headquartered in Niterói, Enel Brazil also operate across their additional regional offices in Bahia, São Paulo, Mato Grosso and Tocantins. With over a decade of experience within the company, general counsel Antonio Basilio has overseen legal matters related to the steady growth of the company, which, despite predecessor Endesa Brazil being established in 2005, can trace its operations in Brazil back to 1996. Utilising what one nominator calls ‘very broad knowledge and skills’, Basilio has been instrumental to the successful development of the company during this time, accruing ‘extensive contacts and knowledge of the market’ in doing so. Before his appointment as head of Enel Brazil’s legal counsel in April 2003, Basilio became a partner of what is now Gouvêa Vieira Advogados in 1991. During the 1990s he supported several privatisation operations in the electricity sector, including the acquisition of distribution companies Ampla (formerly CERJ) and Coelce by Enel Brazil. Basilio has also had an active participation in the establishment of CIEN, which is also under the Enel Group in Brazil, in a complex international tendering process to build the energy interconnection system between Brazil and Argentina. He also played a leading role in the creation of Endesa Fortaleza (CGTF), under the Thermoelectricity Priority Programme (PPT).
Claudia Politanski has been integral in the building of Itaú Unibanco’s legal department; a team of 721 professionals, which is widely recognised for its technical excellence and management expertise by peers. Politanski has drawn particular notice for her role in elevating the importance of the legal profession within Itaú Unibanco. She has created a structure of highly qualified legal professionals that has the ability to replace each other within a range of roles, given their variety of knowledge and expertise in different areas of the bank’s operations. Politanski designed this structure to ensure that the bank had constant support, but also to keep the lawyers interested in their work and ‘avoid potential loss of talent’. Additionally, Politanski was able to successfully implement a culture in which the lawyers at Itaú Unibanco are now considered to be business partners; she describes that they ‘go hand-in-hand with internal clients to build the best legal solutions’. Politanski has also been key to the development of ‘innovative internship programs which attract the best junior-level professionals from top universities across South America’. The financial sector has been under scrutiny from regulators and the media in recent years, there Politanski has been crucial to the bank’s approach to both legal and reputational risk management. Another way that she has shielded Itaú Unibanco from undue risk, has been to improve the bank’s approach towards alternative dispute resolution; aiming to stay clear of the ‘increasing level of court proceedings in Brazil in recent years’.
Assuming his current position in 2012, after several stints in-house at large companies in Brazil, Sergio Pompilio is executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs at Johnson & Johnson’s Brazilian business. Taking charge of a legal team with 14 lawyers and six administrative staff, Pompilio’s remit covers legal aspects of the entire Latin American region of Johnson & Johnson’s commercial endeavours, which encompasses several large economies including Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Having started his career in private practice focusing on litigation and tax issues, Pompilio first joined Johnson & Johnson in 1996, staying for 11 years before taking in-house roles at AstraZeneca do Brasil and then Avon do Brasil. Proactive changes to the organisation of the legal team have been a feature of Pompilio’s current position. He has created an entirely new contracting process based on a ‘new risk assessment matrix’ and has undertaken a team restructure based on ‘new roles and responsibilities amongst other changes and special projects’. Thanks to these changes and the diligent work of Pompilio and his team, the perception of the legal department is ‘now perceived as a differentiator by the businesses we support, based on our commitment to provide innovative solutions and also supporting our teams to manage and mitigate legal, corporate or reputational risks’.
Rede D’Or São Luiz is the largest independent hospital operator in Brazil, with more than 4,000 beds and 34,000 employees across Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Pernambuco Federal District. Jonas Pulcheri oversees the continuing expansion strategy of the business as legal manager. As one nominator stated: ‘Jonas has led an impressive number of M&A transactions in the last six years, which makes him one of the most prepared legal counsel for growing companies’. Pulcheri recently handled an investment of approximately R$1.75bn ($600 million) into Rede D’Or by The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager. This outlay saw The Carlyle Group join other investment companies such as BTG Pactual, who are backing the continued expansion of the healthcare operator. The Brazilian government opened up the healthcare sector to international investment in 2015, and it is predicted that this will help bridge the gap between the healthcare supply and demand. As the commerciality of healthcare becomes more important, it is essential that the legal support keeps pace regardless of the increasing regulatory scrutiny in the sector. Luckily for Rede D’Or, Pulcheri is known in the market as a ‘business-oriented and deeply strategic legal counsel’ who is ‘admired by those who work with him’. Before moving into an in-house role, he worked in private practice at Coelho, Ancelmo & Dourado Advogados and Stüssi-Neves Advogados. Using his private practice experience he has been able to ‘encourage a constant synergy between law firms and his team’, which produces better outcomes for his company.
Luis Fernando Radulov Queiroz describes the role of a general counsel as a highly challenging yet rewarding duty. He explains that it is imperative a general counsel is able to balance two key aspects of that role: ‘to be a business enabler by using legal knowledge in order to create opportunities for the company’; and ‘to keep the organisation safe from all sorts of risks’. With over two decades of experience both in-house and as a corporate and contracts partner, Queiroz is widely regarded as a respected figure throughout the industry. Having joined ABB – a worldwide frontrunner in power and automation technologies in 2014 – Queiroz has ensured that the in-house function has undergone major structural improvements in an unprecedented period of time. ABB's legal and integrity team in South and Central America currently consists of 32 employees, spread across six countries. Under the guidance of Queiroz, the group has successfully refocused its scope to two main aspects; contracts and integrity. In addition, the legal department has also played a guiding role in the development and application of a litigation control system for Brazil. The group has also been involved with the implementation of information technology tools in order facilitate the handling of legal matters and enhance the ability to measure productivity across the region. Queiroz has gained widespread industry recognition by winning the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association General Counsel of the Year Award in 2015. His previous in-house experience includes roles at AES Group, GE Capital and BenQ-Siemens.
Formed more than a quarter of a century ago, Brazilian information technology (IT) company Cast Group specialises in IT consulting, outsourcing and the integration of software platforms. Although Cast has traditionally been a public sector service provider, it has acquired a range of new clients in recent years – including Microsoft, Oracle and IBM – leading to year-on-year growth of 25% since 2008. While this growth has taken Cast to a new level, it has put great pressure on the company to adapt to the expectations of blue-chip tech companies and every function has had to improve the way it interacts with both internal and external clients. Cast’s legal manager, Henrique Rabelo, is credited with helping the company adapt to its rising status by implementing significant changes in the legal department while personally offering essential advice and guidance. Rabelo oversees all contracts, outsourcing, litigation and M&A and has played a big part in helping to develop Cast’s corporate and social responsibility. He sits as a member of the Internal Audit and Compliance Committee and the Ethics and Conduct Committee.
Formerly trading as Telemar, Oi is one of Brazil’s largest companies, and one of the largest telecommunications companies in South America in terms of both subscribers and revenues. Undergoing several structural changes mean the legal challenges Antonio Rabelo Filho and his team will be dealing with are important, interesting and crucial to the company’s health going forward. In charge of a team of 16, Filho came to Oi with a host of experience of leadership and legal expertise in the financial sector, gained most notably at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In utilising this experience, Filho is keen on seeing his legal department as one that is constantly innovating, he states that their approach should ‘reinvent our tasks and way of working, not to become a commodity service. In order to achieve that, it´s necessary to know client and company business in all of its complexity and give tailor made responses’. Examples of this include Filho and his team producing noticeable and quantifiable differences to the company coffers, achieving more than R$2.5bn on cash and operational results. Filho can also point to a number of highlights during his in-house career; ‘we act on all major M&A deals, including the split of companies; selling of telecommunication Assets, buying of Brasil Telecom in 2009 and merging with Portugal Telecom in 2014’. In working with outside counsel, Filho stresses the need for lawyers operating in Brazil to be aware of Brazil’s ‘legal complexity, external and internal tax lawyers in to think outside the box’. A key member of the business in this capacity, Filho enjoys being a driver in Oi’s strategy as he is a part of all strategic decisions and can choose a wide range of options to reduce tax duty on the company.
Referred by nominators as a ‘dynamic individual with highly developed legal instincts’, Fernando Rascov Lodi is credited for the development of an optimal legal division that demonstrates a significant influence on various key policies at Sherwin-Williams. Lodi has ensured that Sherwin-Williams, a Fortune 500 general building materials company, receives a high level of support in corporate and business areas across Latin America. The highly competent legal expert has made a substantial contribution to improving overall service and efficiency of the company via the implementation of new systems to increase productivity. Lodi has additionally assisted in improving the legal department’s team mentality in order to produce a more client-orientated structure. He has been at the forefront of strategic decision-making at Sherwin-Williams for a number of years, and his enhanced legal knowledge and company influence has resulted in the reduction of legal fees, expenses, accruals and the total figure paid as judgements. When appointing and working with outside counsel, Lodi prefers external advice to come from a ‘practical perspective, [external counsel] should get to know the business better so they can give a tailor made legal opinion to our organisation’.
Boasting approximately 15 years of experience across the chemical and petrochemical industry, Cristiane Rego has provided legal support at companies including Petroquímica União and Quattor Participações where she spent a combined total of 10 years. Joining Braskem in April 2010, Rego is currently legal coordinator and corporate executive focussing on work surrounding litigation and contracts; an important function serving the business due to its recent growth and establishment as one of the premier businesses in the region. A petrochemical company with a revenue figure of R$54bn and industrial plants spanning Brazil, the United States and Germany, São Paulo based Braskem are the top thermoplastic resins producer in the Americas, and compliment this achievement by being Brazil’s main producer of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Rego has tremendous experience within the Braskem business and assists in numerous ways to support these results; in addition to the legal aspects and litigation management, she has helped implement and develop management procedures within legal, negotiating with high-value external clients on big contracts whilst leading and maintain good relationships with her multi-disciplined team. One source speaks to her ability to be accessible and legally precise, stating that Rego ‘always had the right technical answer’ and is an ideal colleague and business partner; ‘she is determined, studious, competent, always available to internal clients and whoever needed her help on a daily basis’.
Commended by one source for his ‘abilities and wisdom’, Johan Albino Ribeiro has been described as a ‘skilled and seasoned lawyer who excels as a negotiator, always finding sound solutions for strategic matters’. As general counsel of Banco Bradesco, one of the biggest banking and financial services companies in Brazil, both Ribeiro’s legal knowledge and management skills are required to be of an extremely high standard. Dealing with the various day-to-day tasks necessary to ensure business is being conducted in a legally compliant manner, Ribeiro’s negotiation skills surrounding complex and sensitive matters are particularly praised, especially considering the large-scale and large-value disputes a large financial institution such as Banco Bradesco may be involved in.
A subsidiary of Companhia Brasileira de Distribuição and Brazil’s biggest electronic appliance chain, Via Varejo requires comprehensive and timely legal advice to mitigate the many risks the business encounters across its operations spanning more than 20 states, 900 stores and 55,000 employees. Leading the legal team is legal director André Rizk, who has provided excellent counsel to the company since 2004. Rizk’s most notable achievements are perhaps shown via his work leading various multibillion dollar M&A transactions, which resulted in the formation of Via Varejo as it is today. The retailer, which had a 2015 gross sales figure of R$21bn, operates some of the best known retail brands in Brazil and therefore needs consistent support from Rizk and team. Rizk was recently part of the negotiating team that completed a reorganisation of the company’s holding in Cnova, an e-commerce company founded in the Netherlands. Under the agreement, Cnova will receive some 97 million of its own ordinary shares currently held by Via Varejo and $5m in cash in exchange for all of its ownership interest in local subsidiary Cnova Brazil.
Described by one source as ‘an extremely professional, business-oriented, responsive and yet still kind and patient lawyer’, Joana Rocha serves as legal manager at Brasil Insurance, the first insurance brokerage to go public and one of the leading insurance brokers in Brazil. Brasil Insurance is known as an innovative company, which strives to achieve “firsts” in its market. Rocha, and the legal team that she leads, is a crucial part of this product development and route to market, analysing the legal risk and potential problems that may be encountered. Recently, in order to ensure transparency in its activities, Brasil Insurance launched a whistleblowing programme, called Confidential Channel. This was created by the legal team specifically to receive reports of unethical conduct committed by employees or executives who are in breach of regulation or legislation. In order to remove all possibility of identification of the individual reporting, the information goes to an external company that then feeds back to the anonymous report. The complexity of the Brazilian financial sector necessitates in-house lawyers that are able to adapt and provide quick, commercially-viable solutions. Rocha’s expertise in corporate law and insurance regulation have allowed her to support Brasil Insurance effectively, but it is her ability to ‘manage a series of different matters in different fields of law at the same time’ that make her stand out in the industry.
Fernanda Rocha C. Pogliese heads legal matters at Energisa, a privately-held energy company that distributes to 7% of the Brazilian population. The legal manager, who has been with the company for over 15 years, is praised by various nominators for her ‘business-orientated vision and exceptional knowledge on corporate law’. This skill set has enabled Pogliese to adequately mitigate risks that the establishment is likely to be subjected to. Pogliese has proved to be a valuable contributor to Energisa’s strategic developments; she demonstrates a solid relationship with various departments throughout the company and continues to operate at an incredibly high standard. The difficult economic environment and an array of regulatory reforms within the energy sector have required that Pogliese demonstrate sector-specific knowledge in addition to developing extensive legal strategies to innovatively support the organisation. Pogliese additionally controls Energisa’s judicial processes and is responsible for the analysis of the company’s contractual operations. The legal manager is cited by an external source as an ‘excellent professional and a great leader’.
Serving as general counsel at Embraer, an international frontrunner in the aerospace sector, the talented and adaptable Terena Rodrigues has accumulated a wealth of experience over 12 years in many different roles within the legal department at the company. Previous stints in procurement, IT, and sales have helped shape the versatile professional that leads the legal department today. Shortly after joining Embraer, Rodrigues successfully gaining approval for an international treaty (Cape Town Treaty) on aircraft assets. Succeeding this feat was a shareholders meeting in April, where Rodrigues’ status was once again elevated to that of executive vice president, a role which sees her lead a team of 40. Rodrigues, who is an active member of the company management board, has been proactive in formulating company strategy. This consists of new aircraft programs, E2 (the next generation of commercial aircraft), defence aircraft, the inception of programs through continual development, production and sales. She believes that ‘being a global company makes this role even more interesting; unfolding strategies and policies not only for Brazil but for the world’. Embraer being headquarter in Brazil means Rodrigues’ work goes to ‘all operations across globe, working not only on everyday business but having to set the leads in terms of the company strategy policy, procedures and making sure that unfolds to the subsidiaries in the rest of the world’, showing her flexibility. A graduate of the University of São Paulo and Georgetown University Law Center, Rodrigues previously worked in private practice in the US and Brazil, moving in-house to join Embraer in 2004 before being promoted to her current role in 2012.
Oil industry veteran Guido Rogerio Macedo Silveira Filho has represented some of the largest companies in the sector since 1994. He has been with Ipiranga – a subsidiary of Ultrapar Participações and, with a network of over 7,000 service stations across the country, the largest non-government owned fuel distributor in Brazil – since 2002 and is responsible for leading the legal function and overseeing all contentious and corporate affairs. Among the most respected in-house lawyers in Brazil, he has shown supreme judgement in his time with Ipiranga, helping it stand out as among the most stable and well-managed Brazilian companies. Nominators praised his deep industry knowledge, first-rate commercial advice and negotiating skills and commented on his ability to work with regulators to find practical solutions for the businesses he has advised.
An experienced and diligent general counsel with over 15 years of involvement in the Olympic movement, Luiz Rodolfo Ryff is well-placed to dispense readily accessible, high quality and cost-effective legal and commercial advice for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. The main function of the legal team, and Ryff’s day-to-day work, is connected with ensuring special new laws and regulations are understood and are complied with in the face of challenging demands associated with a high-profile global sporting event. Ryff describes his work as having the end goal of ‘preserving the resources and reputation’ of the Committee, which was created at the end of 2010 to organise the Games. Rio is subject to a "Host City Contract" that was implemented to support the Olympic Movement, and is an additional hurdle for the running of the Games alongside other obligations imposed upon the Committee, including upholding the rights of the sponsors, broadcasters and the International Olympic Committee. Reporting directly to the board, the legal team manages risk in conjunction with an independent compliance department, which Ryff was an integral part of developing. The two functions remain ‘very integrated yet independent’ and consultation between departments is common due to the requirement of ‘delivering projects without overlap’. Citing this collaboration as a key feature in his work, Ryff also worked with a number of internal and external clients to deliver results, having collaborated with governments to create an initial legal framework for the Games from scratch, during which there was a large amount of communication with three different levels of governance and with congress. Highly regarded by senior management, Ryff attends board meetings giving strategic legal advice in person, and has done since the start of the project, consistently advising on problems including those stemming from bureaucratic challenges and issues related to Brazil’s economic and political climate. Ryff draws on over 20 years of experience in private practice rendering legal services for the Olympic movement during stints as a partner at H. B. Cavalcanti e Mazzillo Advogados and an external lawyer on the Brazilian Olympic Committee. The Olympic Games places the host city under international scrutiny in a way that nothing else can, and Ryff has been a crucial element to the smooth running of the competition.
Silvia Santiago is the legal manager at Guy Carpenter, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan that specialises in risk and reinsurance. Santiago is proficient in technical and legal support in both subscription and commercial aspects, and has been integral to the implementation of internal processes throughout the organisation. She has been involved in the reformation of various legal policies and plays a guiding role when analysing and negotiating contracts with clients and brokers. Santiago is praised by nominators for her ‘business expertise’ and ability to demonstrate an in-depth understanding in all matters regarding corporate law and insurance regulation. Santiago is certainly viewed in high esteem throughout the organisation, as she continues to display an active role in all key company endeavours. With over 10 years’ experience in the insurance market, Santiago is without a doubt a major asset to the Guy Carpenter legal division.
‘If I had to define an in-house lawyer I would say: a competent, technical professional with curiosity and interest in the business and operational aspects of her industry’, says legal and government relations manager Vanessa Santos Magalhães. Magalhães is widely known for promoting the in-house legal role beyond its image as a support function, and has often spoken on the evolution of the role. Magalhães assesses and grants safety for various practices within the organisation, she is proficient in due diligence, compliance, M&A, antitrust, and corporate matters. The highly competent Magalhães has provided a substantial contribution to adidas in a short period of time; she has been particularly proactive in the revision of internal processes, which enabled her team of two to give comprehensive advice more efficiently. Additionally Magalhães has also taken a guiding role in various contract negotiations for adidas in Brazil, ensuring that the international sports apparel company gets the best legal and commercial deal. Magalhães states that she loves working as an in-house lawyer because she can ‘stay close to the business and think "outside of the box" about the legal recommendations expected from clients’. The commercial approach to her legal advice has been of huge benefit to adidas as they continue to expand operations in the country.
A deeply experienced lawyer with excellent problem-solving abilities, Ricardo Sasaki is the director of legal and intellectual property at Ajinomoto do Brasil, the Brazilian arm of the Japanese food and chemical multinational. Guarding both company assets and reputation, the legal department is a key strategic partner for Ajinomoto’s business in Brazil and Sasaki leads from the front; overseeing a department of specialist lawyers across various relevant practice areas. As the lead lawyer in the team he was responsible for a restructure that saw a new, internalised legal function and the establishment of both intellectual property and government relations functions, with a view to consolidate a compliance function in the near future. Throughout his career, which has seen Sasaki undertake roles in private practice and elsewhere - including a stint as the Consulate General of Japan in São Paulo - Sasaki has applied his technical skills and innovative methods to solve complex legal and operational problems. Indeed, Sasaki claims his biggest achievement was to ‘introduce and spread the concept of peaceful resolution of dispute’. Sasaki explains this as ‘trying to resolve a conflict without using a litigation proceeding’, allowing the company to avoid adding to the huge number of lawsuits in Brazil that are currently burdening Brazil’s judicial system and society. On top of these achievements, Sasaki is involved in several areas of industry discussion through his various positions on external bodies. He is legal adviser of the Consulate General of Japan in São Paulo, vice president of the Corporate Management Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Japan, as well as holding positions on the Institute of Comparative Law Brazil-Japan and the Legal Committee of the Brazilian Society of Japanese Culture and Social Assistance.
Cited by one nominator as possessing ‘a solid technical and academic background’, Carlos Silva’s legal expertise has drawn acclaim throughout the industry. Silva is credited by partners for his enhanced capabilities to manage a diverse range of matters at once, a feature that ensures maximum productivity in regards to all legal matters at Angeloni Group, which employees 10,000 staff to operate a network of supermarket outlets, drug stores, gas stations and distribution centres. Silva remains an integral part of Angeloni Group’s key strategic developments and internal business processes, giving insightful advice to business counterparts and senior management. Sources describe Silva as ‘very easy to work with’, and state that his contribution to the overall expansion of the organisation makes him an indispensable advisor to the business.
Márcio Silveira is in charge of legal and compliance matters at Oracle, an international computer technology company. Silveira leads a highly skilled and efficient legal department that has assisted Oracle in various strategic developments and significant company policies such as the company’s code of ethics and business conduct; ensuring the compliance of external and internal personnel with relevant laws, regulations and business practices. Silveira has additionally had an influence on the company’s intellectual property management and obligations of confidentiality programs, as well as antitrust and competition law implementation and reports of violations. Silveira has served Oracle for over 17 years and continues to enable the business to excel and maximise efficiency whilst minimising risk. It is possible to say that Silveira, and the team that he leads, has enabled Oracle to expand as planned in Brazil; continuing to bring new products to market and create data centres.
Fabio Spina is in charge of global legal affairs at Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), one of the largest steel producers in Latin America. Spina, a widely renowned lawyer, has assisted in enabling the organisation to compete in the globalised and increasingly complex market. Spina has taken a guiding role in ensuring that the organisation is well protected against regulatory, strategic, operating and financial risks during a particularly challenging time for CSN. He has upheld strict guidelines and methodologies in order to ensure that the establishment operates at a universally high standard. The competent and versatile Spina additionally introduced a modified compliance program, created to regulate the activities of third party personnel and company employees. The compliance program ensures that the group’s endeavours comply with internal policies and regulations in addition to guidelines issued by regulatory authorities. Via the continuous training of employees, Spina has ensured that CSN operates at an exceedingly high ethical standard. In his current role as global general counsel, Spina also has a wide range responsibility, some of which is outside the usual remit of a GC: covering corporate affairs, corporate finance, M&A, investor relations and communications. Spina’s advice has been exceptionally important in the last few years, as the slowdown in Chinese demand for steel has forced the company to make some tough operational decisions.
Leandro Miana Telles is the head of legal for investment banking at Banco Itaú BBA, the corporate investment arm of Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco group, one of the leading banks in Latin America and the largest financial conglomerate in the Southern Hemisphere. Counselling the most active investment bank in Brazil, Telles has proven his effectiveness and utility, and can point to several achievements including groundbreaking deals like the exchange tender offer of LAN and TAM Airlines for €3.2bn, the re-IPO of Telefônica Brazil and helping develop new regulations in conjunction with the Brazilian stock exchange and regulatory authority ANBIMA. Having started his career within Unibanco's legal department in 2004, Telles has amassed a wealth of experience across several departments since his first appointment as a junior lawyer. Quickly rising through the ranks and achieving several promotions, as well as a spending a stint as an international associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York as part of Unibanco's manager training program, Telles came back to Brazil in 2009 to take charge of the capital markets divison of Unibanco. After the groundbreaking merger between Unibanco with Itaú in 2010, Telles took responsiblity for legal support to the investment banking division of Itaú, overseeing not only capital markets transactions but also M&A advisory for clients. Recently adding to his responsibilities, the bank has relied on Telles to assume responsibility for the legal teams supporting brokerage activities, project finance and a new division called "Special Situations", whose main focus is on restructuring current credit transactions with clients. Taking the position of a ‘dealmaker and gatekeeper, protecting company interests from legal, regulatory and government affairs challenges seamlessly’, Telles puts emphasis on finding ‘creative ways’ to solve new issues in the legal minefield of Brazilian banking.
With approximately 45 employees reporting into her, Patricia Thomazelli focuses on institutional legal matters at Itaú Unibanco, the Brazilian banking group that has a wide range of financial operations across the Americas, Europe and Asia. In her role as head of corporate, intellectual property, contracts, real estate, and third sector teams within Itaú Unibanco’s legal function, Thomazelli ensures that several internal clients are serviced with expert legal advice, including the board of directors and its committees. Due to most legal work in the bank occurring internally, Thomazelli has developed a ‘high level of specialisation that has created a strong partnership with clients to streamline processes’ in these different legal fields. Examples of this work includes: the review of more than 2,000 contracts and documents each year; sophisticated corporate work owing to Itaú’s listing in the US, Brazil and Argentina; handling Central Bank of Brazil regulation and other regulatory institutional matters. Thomazelli also helps coordinate the corporate work across a number of institutional relationships and more than 80 companies. Several complex and important changes came out of the merger between Unibanco and Itaú in 2008, which created the current Itaú Unibanco entity. Thomazelli had the opportunity to ‘coordinate the different works and meetings to define the new structure of the teams within the legal department’, showing her deep company knowledge and integration. As well as the legal complexities of merging two banks, there was a level of difficulty attached to the subsequent integration of teams and systems. A ‘mixture of cultures’ were bought together after the merger, and the newly created teams needed to ‘integrate and connect with the company´s upcoming goals and perspectives’; this was a difficult task Thomazelli oversaw and called a ‘gratifying and a challenging process’. Thomazelli arrived at Itaú Unibanco having already proven her organisation skill and ability to manage change. Formerly the director of legal affairs for Brazil at Luxottica, Thomazelli was entrusted with assisting the migration from an almost 100% outsourced legal counsel model to one that aligned internal advice combined with selected external lawyer input. She was able to help build ‘a concise and well trained in-house team’ whilst streamlining it with relevant local compliance and tax teams, a development which improved results ‘in the consultancy work and in litigation control’.
Arnaldo Tibyriça is the general counsel and senior vice president at Groupo Abril, one of the largest media conglomerates in Latin America. Tibyriça, who has served the organisation for 13 years, has been cited by one nominator as an ‘extremely well connected and driven individual’. The seasoned lawyer is deemed to be a highly competent legal expert in corporate law, negotiations and corporate governance. Tibyriça sees his function as a general counsel in the form of ‘doing business, seeking to guide every area of the company on how to perform their business within the law’, receiving the reward of ‘seeing your part in the final product’ once this is achieved. Known for his persistent energy levels, Tibyriça is involved in various other endeavours outside Groupo Abril: he is currently the executive director and co-founder of Instituto Compliance Brasil, an affiliate to Party NEW 30, an advisory board member to the WILL (Women in Leadership in Latin America) and an advisory board member to CEDES - Economic Law Studies Centre. Tibyriça’s ability to operate simultaneously in an array of alternative fields whilst producing an exceptionally high quality of work is quite remarkable. He is described by one source as a ‘great, intelligent and entertaining person’. A trusted manager of people, Tibyriça appreciates those who ‘develop soft skills and can create confidence and empathy in personal relationships’, which he describes as being ‘essential in any work environment’. Tibyriça has experience in laws firms in addition to in-house roles at Brazilian mainstays Itaú Unibanco Group, where he pursued a line of legally sustainable business for the bank, at C & A, where he participated in the construction of the brand in Argentina and at the former BCP Telecommunications which is now known as Claro.
Clovis Torres is the executive officer, general counsel and chairman of the board of directors at Vale, the largest mining company in Brazil. Torres is praised by one source for his ‘multitasking capabilities and the ability to lead a numerous contingent of in-house and external lawyers in times of crises’. Torres has spearheaded the reimagining of the reporting structure at Vale, transforming it into a more simple process that ensures greater efficiency, more delegation amongst regions and units, and a vast improvement in the department’s response rates. A considerable achievement considering the vast scope of the number of staff Torres oversees; he has 115 lawyers (legal and tax departments) worldwide and 263 other professionals reporting into him. The legal function has steadily become a strategic partner in all operating sectors of the organisation, and Torres believes that the legal department now has a ‘greater influence on new legislation that directly impacts the revenues of the company’. Examples of this are the settlement of the controlled foreign company tax litigation in Brazil and new controlled foreign company laws that have been successfully passed. Torres describes this as a major achievement for the legal and tax department, as this piece of tax litigation was valued at $28bn. The Vale business is also at risk of political and regulatory changes in Brazil, Indonesia and Guinea immediately and immensely affecting their businesses, which requires collaboration within the business, external bodies and outside law firms. Torres explains; ‘the challenge of running a large and internationally oriented legal department, with diversity of cultures and in different countries, would be impossible to face without partnering with great law firms throughout the world’. Outside of his company role, Torres is also the chairman of the board of the Brazilian Mining Institute (IBRAM), the union of the major mining companies operating in Brazil.
Able to ‘command respect and inspire confidence’ by offering ‘creative legal solutions’ across three different jurisdictions, Nelcina Tropardi is Diageo’s general counsel and corporate relations director for Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Tropardi is responsible for two functions at the international beverages company: corporate relations, in which she oversees a team of 10 responsible for public policy, government relations, external communication and sustainability; and the legal department comprised of 11 employees, which deals with lawyers, trainees and administrative assistants. The legal function was restructured by Tropardi to better suit business needs and principles, there was a new focus that sought to apply creative approaches to legal problems, proactively anticipating new changes in law that were applicable to the business. This process was helped by her excellent interpersonal skills when communicating with business partners. Flourishing in the management side of her role, Tropardi particularly enjoys building teams and wider company strategy. An excellent example of a lawyer who is commercially-minded as well being a source of legal support, Tropardi highlights her ability to ‘evolve along with various changes the business has faced in Latin America’. Citing an ‘excellent relationship with the CEO and colleagues from the senior management’, Tropardi is a member of the company executive board. Using this platform, she is able to communicate her belief that ‘the main goal of a company should be a fusion of high performance with high integrity’. Tropardi goes on to outline the most important qualities of a general counsel in Brazil: ‘This environment requires a general counsel that takes three legal roles; an accurate lawyer, a wise counsellor and a company leader’.
Flavio Valle is described by one nominator as ‘having managed to train and maintain a top-notch legal department in the face of the broad economic and political crises that have been affecting Brazil in the past years’. Valle, who leads a team of 10 at Prumo Logisitica, a private Brazilian company engaged in infrastructure and logistics, has aided in revolutionising the legal department in his role as general counsel. Via extensive training and the recruitment of professionals with excellent legal knowledge, Valle has ensured that the legal department produces an enhanced quality of work at a faster pace. The legal function has drawn particular notice for its meticulous approach to delivering clear and concise legal answers whilst maintaining equanimity in the face of business challenges. Valle has earned an exemplary reputation and impressed both peers and clients alike with his ability to navigate major deals; most notably the negotiation of seven relevant commercial contracts including NOV, Technip, Wartsilla, Edison Chouest, BP and Shell, the active participation in an over $7bn M&A transaction with mining giant Anglo American and the $1bn rights offering by means of which EIG (Energy Global Partners) purchased a 75% stake in Prumo. Additionally, Valle played an integral role in the reduction of exposure to arbitration claims from circa $500m to roughly $30m for former affiliated company MMX. As an individual who has been at the top of his trade for almost a decade, Valle elucidates that ‘it is simply thrilling to, for over seven years, remain as an executive of a mammoth company such as Prumo’.
Leonardo Viveiros is characterised by his peers as a ‘renowned business lawyer with a broad practice experience’. Viverios who leads a team of 10 has spearheaded strategic decision-making at Leste since the company was founded, which has also allowed him to cultivate the legal department for the past two years. Viverios was tasked with building the foundations of a legal department at Leste, an investment management company, and in such a short period of time has managed to create what sources describe to be a ‘solid, technical, agile and totally business-oriented legal team’. As the general counsel, Viveiros has implemented procedures in due diligences, raised the bar for work conducted by external law firms, and introduced new practices on the agreements for subsidiary company LRE (Leste Real Estate) following a joint venture between Leste and A2O Enterprises. Viveiros has been particularly proactive in integrating the two business cultures and guaranteeing that the legal department is part of the solution in every deal they make.
In 2012, Maytê Ximenes joined Groupon Brasil with the task to ‘manage people and help to develop the business’ for the global e-commerce platform that specialises in offering discounts on goods and services, with operations in over 50 cities across Brazil. Since the appointment of Ximenes as legal director, the in-house function has been subject to various structural reformations and new processes, which have improved standards and automated work. Part of the benefit of this has been a 60% decrease in overall costs of the legal department in the last three years. Ximenes’ is also responsible for application of the global ethics compliance program in the region, in addition to the creation of various local compliance programs (covering things such as labour and consumer). Ximenes has impressed peers and clients with her ability to lead a number of strategic projects at such high standards. Previously Ximenes served as a partner for Montenegro Duarte Advogados and as legal counsel at American Beverage Company (AmBev). ‘
Fernando Zanetti leads the legal department at Bunge Brasil, a global agribusiness and food company. Zanetti believes that, as legal and compliance director, it is incumbent on him to ‘ensure that the long pipeline of M&A deals are being catered to, and to arrange for the seamless development of all tax, labour, environmental and civil lawsuits filed by or against the company’. He has led a number of strategic projects during his tenure at Bunge Brasil, including the merging of five legal support structures: Bunge Alimentos, Bunge Fertilizantes, Bunge Açúcar e Bioenergia, Fertimport and Moema Group. Zanetti merged these separate entities into one organisation under the leadership of a single CEO thus unifying their support areas. He has been praised for his role in revolutionising the legal structure at Bunge Brasil via the implementation of a two-pillar legal department. The first pillar comprises the allocation of assignments per areas of practice such as litigation, tax, corporate, labour, environmental, contracts, and intellectual property. To create the second pillar, Zanetti focussed on the diversity of Bunge Brasil’s’ businesses and the need for lawyers with expertise in specific areas. Zanetti has drawn particular praise for the fact that Bunge Brasil’s routine demands remained undeterred during a period of major reform; he believes that during this transition period ‘the organisation was not left bereft of legal services’. Whether challenges faced by the legal team are small or large, Zanetti constantly ensures that in ‘all of those situations we were able to provide the best legal guidance to the company in a way to protect the its assets, interests and people’.
Notwithstanding the frustration resulting from the relaxation of the Brazilian economic austerity policies that led the country to lose very quickly an arduously earned investment grade, Brazil is the undisputable leader of Latin America and, with a GDP of more than USD 1.5tn, one of the world’s ten largest economies. It is true that in the past five years the public administrations (not only the federal, but the majority of state and municipal administrations all over the country) failed to act even when the signs that the good times were coming to an end appeared. It is also true that corruption drained enormous amounts of money and led to disastrous endeavours.
However, all this turmoil faced by the country, which was diagnosed by the critics as the end of the Brazilian dream, had a very interesting side effect: it triggered a battle against corruption (which probably will be long and fierce) that put to test our check and balances system. And even adding to such turmoil the political storm caused by a presidential impeachment process, the system is working satisfactorily, in accordance with the Brazilian Constitution. The growing feeling is that Brazil is becoming a true and consolidated democracy, with everyone subject to the rule of law.
In this very demanding scenario, the role of a general counsel is instrumental, not only in the success but, sometimes, in a company’s survival. Over the past decades, we at CBSG have noticed deep changes in the role and importance of general counsels in Brazil, regardless whether the company is a local one or a subsidiary of a multinational enterprise. Considered in the past as a departed or an ancillary activity within a company, the roles of the legal department and the general counsel grew in importance in such a way that in some cases became an essential tool to the feasibility of a company’s core business. The growing importance of the legal departments encouraged the general counsels to be more pro-active: the flow of ideas and suggestions became a two-way lane, and the law firms, such as CBSG, and the legal departments relationship grew in intensity, with outstanding results.
CBSG is delighted to be part of the first edition of the GC Powerlist Brazil. We always felt that, while the number of directories listing and ranking local law firms or other legal professions is growing, little attention has been paid to the legal departments and the general counsels. Therefore, The Legal 500’s initiative, especially in Brazil, is a relevant step in the right direction. It grants the community of general counsels in Brazil, of which the nominated individuals are impeccable examples, the recognition they more than deserve.
Rodrigo F Camargo, Partner
Marcos Matsunaga, Partner
There were amendments to CADE (Brazilian Antitrust Authority) Law, which drastically reduced the time for the analysis of transactions that may influence competition. This reform has also determined that analyses must be made before transactions take place, as it already happens in most countries, offering more legal certainty to everyone involved.
The new Code of Civil Procedure in force has deeply changed the system to try to reduce the time for analysis of legal disputes, offer creditors greater protection and unify court precedents, so as to ensure greater safety in the business world. Such reform is not the only one: the reform of the arbitration law sought to settle some of its former conflicts with the procedural law, also resulting in a greater degree of legal certainty.
The quick and effective enforcement of some doctrines of the new anti-corruption legislation, a modern and practical doctrine and worldwide reference in legislation, has helped the fight against irresponsible practices and taken the Brazilian government to a new level of control, sovereignty and stability. Besides such legislation, the recently enacted law that regulates corporate governance of state-owned corporations was conceived with state-of-the-art and efficient tools, and concepts of corporate governance are already applied to prevent past facts from taking place again.
In addition to these issues, the new government has started discussions on the Brazilian pension reform, which is essential to balance government accounts. A reform of Brazilian labour laws is also under discussion, as it is extremely necessary in order to simplify the employee/employer relationship and reduce the number of labor lawsuits.
All the above demonstrates the efforts Brazil has made to follow the right path and create a new, modern and effective legislative framework, seeking to promote a sustainable and organized growth, for a healthy balance of legal relations.
On the other hand, as a result of the current economic crisis, there will probably be an increase in taxes, with a rise in tax rates or the creation of new taxes, as well as higher pressure from tax authorities for the collection of tax revenue.
Such pressure for raising tax revenue can be felt in view of the strong measures taken by administrative tax courts, particularly the Brazilian Council of Tax Appeals (CARF) after its internal regulation and structure has been rearranged.
Likewise, the use of highly-sophisticated technological resources by Brazilian tax authorities, combined with techniques for the selection of taxpayers and controversial issues, has made tax inspections much more accurate, giving rise to tax-deficiency notices and substantial fines, which has required taxpayers to continuously reassess their risks and tax procedures, by adopting strategies to avoid tax disputes.
In view of this optimistic and challenging scenario, we are convinced that FCAM has a motivated team of attorneys, with in-depth knowledge of the Brazilian legislation and legal reforms, with a wide experience in their fields, and who always seek to offer our clients creative, efficient and tailored-made solutions for each specific and concrete case, in order to add value and build successful relationships.
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