EVENTS AND ROUNDTABLES > Roundtable > GC Powerlist: Middle East roundtable
The Legal 500, in partnership with Al Tamimi, assembled lead in-house counsel from the region - all of whom were members of the GC Powerlist: Middle East - to discuss strategies for dealing with a challenging geo-political situation and an evolving business environment.
With a fall in commodity prices prompting fiscal pressures for businesses around the globe, it comes as no surprise that companies in the oil-rich Middle East are feeling the financial pinch. While a number of those in attendance were bullish about medium-term prospects, with factors such as the lifting of sanctions and opening up of Iran to trade cited as reasons for optimism, the short-term was undoubtedly a more challenging time with cost pressures a topical issue, irrespective of sector.
That was forcing in-house legal departments to find ways to generate new efficiencies and “do more with less”, which is leading to increased pressures on staffing and human resourcing functions. Somewhat of an unintended consequence of cost-cutting measures was a noticeable drop in arbitrating commercial disputes, with adjudication instead on the rise to minimise the time, due diligence and subsequently cost required to resolve these issues.
One topic which prompted robust debate was around the use of force majeure to protect companies from unforeseen circumstances. It was evident from the discussions that GCs in the region were having to get creative in order to insulate against the testing scenarios which have arisen, or could arise in the future – with war stories serving as lessons for others in attendance.
- Yasser Abo Ismail, Chief Legal Counsel, EATON
- Dalia Al Sayeh, General Counsel, Honeywell
- Hessa Al Twaijri, Legal Counsel, Petrochemichal Industries Company
- Olof Arnman, Corporate Counsel, International, Grey Wolf Oilfield Services (KSA) Limited
- Lorenzo Bruttomesso, Manager: Legal and Compliance, ORPIC (Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company SAOC)
- Mohamed El Roubi, General Counsel - Growth Regions, AMEC Plc
- Cherine Ghali, General Counsel, Dubai Group (a member of Dubai Holding)
- Nick Hornung, General Counsel, Dubai World
- Ali Khalaf, General Counsel, Evolvence Capital
- Giles Menezes, Legal Counsel and Company Secretary, Yahlive
- Ned Othman, Chief Legal Officer, ACWA