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GC Powerlist > GC Powerlist: Iberia
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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: Iberia, 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 Iberia, 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: Iberia 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: Iberia, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either across Iberia 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: Iberia
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Alfonso Aguirre Díaz-Guardamino
Director of business legal
José Miguel Alcolea Cantos
Director of legal - group businesses
María Eugenia Aldama Garaizabal
Azora Gestión SGIIC
Marta Almeida Afonso
Head of legal and company secretary
REN (Redes Energéticas Nacionais)
Head of legal affairs
Andrade Gutierrez Europa, África, Ásia
Francisco Pedro Balsemão
Chief operating officer for human resources, legal affairs and sustainability
Consuelo Barbé Capdevila
Managing director of corporate markets and corporate governance, head of the technical office and legal, secretary of the board
Corporate counsel and manager – legal and intellectual property
Salvador Bautista Enciso
Head of legal and taxes, secretary to the board
Bergé y Cía
Ana Bayó Busta
Head of legal affairs and compliance
Grupo Menarini España
Natalia Bódalo Lozano
Head of legal - E&P
Legal director and associate general counsel
Esteve Buldú Freixa
Deputy general counsel
Isabel Calero Llinares
Mónica Calonje Conde
Claims and legal manager
Andrés Campaña Avila
Director of global legal services - energy management and commercial
Jaime Carro Merchán
Head of legal
Pontegadea Inversiones Group
Óscar Casado Oliva
Legal, public affairs and regulatory director
General counsel, general vice-secretary and chief compliance officer
Dow Chemical Ibérica and Dow AgroSciences EMEA
Country legal counsel – consumer, corporate and investment banking
Juan Charro Nicolás
Director of corporate legal and M&A
Chief legal officer
Fernando De las Cuevas Terán
General counsel and secretary general
Jaime De Miguel Muñoz
Director of legal and vice secretary of the board of directors
CESCE (Compañía Española de Crédito a la Exportación)
Rui De Oliveira Neves
"General counsel, head of compliance and company secretary"
José De Reina Amarillas
Head of retail and commercial banking and custody legal
Javier de Silva Escrivá de Romaní
Chief legal counsel - development division
José Maria del Cuvillo Pemán
General director of legal services
Paloma del Val Tolosana
General secretary and head of legal
Fundación Microfinanzas BBVA
José Luis del Valle Pérez
Director and general secretary
Fernando Domingo Oslé
Chief legal officer
Universidad de Navarra
Pablo Echenique Conde
Head of legal services - Abengoa Projects Warehouse
Cristina Fernández Gomez
Director of legal financial
Mar Fernández López de Ochoa
General counsel and secretary to the board
Elena Fernández Sánchez
Senior legal counsel
Enel Green Power
Alberto Ferrández Barturen
Head of legal
Celeo Concesiones e Inversiones S.L.U.
Grupo Trofa Saúde
General counsel, company secretary, human resources and communications director
Unilever Jerónimo Martins
Pedro Filipe Santos
Legal and compliance director
Lorena García de Izarra
General counsel, secretary of the board and compliance officer
Cobre las Cruces
Juan Antonio García Fuente
General counsel anddirector of legal services
Alejandro García Granda
Vice president legal and contracting - Mediterranean, LATAM and Middle East
Nieves García Lopez
Director of legal services for SPAI (Spain, Portugal, Africa and Israel) and managing director
José Manuel García-Alfonso Martitegui
General counsel and secretary of the board
Air Miles España
Rita Gaspar Simões
Carlos Manuel Gastañaduy Tilve
General counsel, director and secretary to the board of directors
Head of legal
Telefónica Business Solutions
Fernando Gómez y Gómez Calcerrada
Legal director (Southern Europe, Africa and Middle East) and secretary to the board of directors
Head of legal
Luis Graça Rodrigues
Legal and tax director – Iberia
Reckitt Benckiser (RB)
Senior legal counsel
Head of legal
Filipe Hasse Ferreira
Executive director of legal
Head of global business legal department
Chief legal and general secretary
Carlos López Martín de Blas
Legal director and secretary general
Secuoya Grupo de Comunicacion
Ángela López Molina
Director of international legal affairs
Grupo San José
Javier López Zafra
General counsel, external relations and public affairs, ethics manager
Patrícia Marques Ferreira
Head of legal
Julián Martínez-Simancas Sánchez
General counsel and secretary to the board
Carlos Martins Ferreira
Group general counsel and deputy general secretary
Jerónimo Martins SGPS
Natalia Martos Díaz
Chief legal officer
Head of legal
Maria Luz Medrano Aranguren
Vice general counsel and chief legal officer
Head of legal and compliance
Volkswagen Financial Services Portugal
Legal responsible for power and nuclear division, proprietary technology and HTD
Ana Isabel Montero
Iberia legal director
JTI (Japan Tobacco International)
Nuno Moraes Bastos
General counsel and chief compliance officer
Zurich Insurance Portugal
Alicia Muñoz Lombardía
Head of legal, corporate governance, regulatory affairs and communication
Antonio Murillo Gayo
Legal director of business and capital markets
Antonio Neto Alves
General counsel and company secretary
Portucel Soporcel Group
Inés Núñez de la Parte
General counsel and secretary of the compliance committee
Marta Oñoro Carrascal
Global head of legal
Fernando Ortega López de Santa María
General counsel and secretary of the board of directors
Concha Ortuño Sierra
Corporate director of legal affairs
Grupo Cementos Portland Valderrivas
Commercial manager -new business
Filipe Pereira Coelho
Pablo Pernía Martin
Head of legal and compliance department, secretary of the steering committee
Chief legal and compliance officer and corporate secretary
Ana Prado Blanco
General counsel and secretary of the board
Javier Prados Mateos
General counsel and secretary to the board
Maria Belén Quintas Fernández
Senior legal manager
Juan Riego Vila
Vice president and general counsel, Western Europe and government affairs, Southern Europe
Blanca Rivilla Calle
General counsel and deputy general manager
Juan Saavedra Ortiz
Senior legal counsel
Santiago Sainz de Baranda
Head of corporate legal
Ramiro Sánchez de Lerín
General counsel and state attorney
José Manuel Sánchez Méndez
Legal counsel manager - railways division
Juan Manuel Sánchez Padrós
Legal director and general secretary
R Cable y Telecomunicaciones Galicia
Head of legal
Filipa Santos Carvalho
Head of legal and regulatory
Head of legal and litigation affairs
ANA Aeroportos de Portugal S.A.
General counsel - Spain and Portugal
CBRE Global Investors
Javier Serrada Quiza
Deputy director general of legal
European Central Bank
Director of legal affairs
Juan Manuel Vales Cortés
Senior legal counsel projects - EMEA
Ramón Varela Aldazábal
Head of legal
SENER Grupo de Ingeniería S.A
Lluis Vendrell Pi
Chief legal officer - corporate M&A
Pedro Vidigal Monteiro
Andrade Gutierrez Europa, África, Ásia
Maria José Viegas
Senior legal manager
ANA Aeroportos de Portugal S.A.
Former general counsel of ACS, Servicios, Comunicaciones y Energias, Alfonso Aguirre Díaz-Guardamino is described by sources as ‘a very intelligent person’ with ‘outstanding team management skills’. During his 15-year tenure at ACS he contributed greatly, along with his team, to the international expansion of the company in more than 60 countries. Since January 2016, Aguirre Díaz-Guardamino has been at the helm of the IBEX-35 listed construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso. He is currently engaged in the establishment of the company in the various jurisdictions where it operates, hoping to successfully guide it through its process of further internationalisation.
Widely respected counsel, José Miguel Alcolea Cantos joined Iberdrola in 2004, following a successful career in public administration. He served the state legal department from 1996 until 2004, during which time he defended the Spanish state interests before courts and tribunals (for civil, criminal, administrative and labour matters). Currently, as the director of the legal department for group businesses at Iberdrola, Alcolea Cantos leads a team of 104 lawyers. He has been at the forefront of the legal strategy planning for one of Iberdrola’s most recent and well known corporate ligations, which has had a huge impact on the business during the last years. One of his defining tasks was the development of a system that enhanced knowledge and best-practice sharing between lawyers from different businesses and jurisdictions, which has enhanced the capacity and capability of the legal team. Alcolea Cantos’ role in the transformation of the group from a Spanish company with only some activities in Latin America, into an actual multinational corporation has been pivotal. Examples of his biggest achievements include the legal work he oversaw for the integration of companies like Scottish Power and Energy East. Alcolea Cantos is a member of the board of directors of Scottish Power, as well as a frequent speaker and commentator at law seminars and conferences.
An industry expert, María Eugenia Aldama Garaizabal was responsible for the legal management of GE Capital Real Estate, the real estate investment unit of the American conglomerate General Electric, in Spain for more than five years. Before moving in-house, Aldama Garaizabal had worked as a senior associate with the market leading law firm Uría Menéndez, where she specialised in transactional and commercial real estate. An advocate for a proactive legal department, within five years she succeeded in making the GE Capital Real Estate legal team a real business partner. ‘I established a culture in which the legal role is a key player for the business. General Electric has traditionally been very serious with the role of both legal and compliance, and the team was very receptive with this approach and would naturally contact legal for a variety of matters’ she comments. ‘My perception is that for other companies legal is contacted if a conflict is already in place, so I tried to involve legal in all transactions from the very beginning’. As of February 2016 Aldama Garaizabal is legal counsel at Azora Gestión SGIIC, with responsibilities over Hispania's Socimi hotel portfolio and other hospitality real estate properties.
‘Marta Almeida Afonso has significant experience in handling innovative and complex matters in different jurisdictions, despite her young age’ one source says. ‘She succeeds in motivating the teams in stressful environments and manages projects with business knowledge not common in all legal advisors. She is very deal driven and able to relate very easily with her legal advisors and counterparties’ according to one source. Heading the legal department of REN, the Portuguese energy company, which is the current holder of the country’s two main energy infrastructure networks, Marta Almeida Afonso leads a strong team of 10. Since June 2015, when she assumed her current role, she has led many changes in the legal department. ‘REN had a very traditional legal department and there were two directors whom I replaced; one director that was assisting the board of directors and the executive committee and another director with a pure legal role. There was a merger of two departments and I assumed both responsibilities’. Under her dual role and presence in the executive committee, she can better influence business goals and she sees her advice having a bigger impact.
Rui Andrade heads the legal function of Andrade Gutierrez Europa, África, Ásia (AG EAA), one of the largest construction companies in Portugal, present in more than 30 countries. He joined the company in 1997, creating an in-house legal department for the head offices in Lisbon. Currently he leads a team of eight senior lawyers and oversees all legal matters in the 30 jurisdictions where AG EAA is present. Through the course of 18 years as the head of legal, Andrade has implemented many reforms and he believes that constant adaptation to the new changes is essential for a well-functioning legal department. ‘A modern legal department like ours must have the capacity to reinvent itself permanently, taking into consideration AG group’s policies, the diversity of the jurisdictions where AG is present, its respective differentiating elements in terms of legal systems and practices (notably civil law and common law), legal developments and jurisprudence (local or at the level of international arbitrations), besides the necessary tools to increase the level of organisation and performance of the legal team (permanent training and updating from a legal perspective as well as in terms of legal management as per the international best practices), IT and others’. He admits that the internationalisation phase was a great challenge, as the company was expanding its operations into new jurisdictions, which required very good knowledge of the legal and market systems. Currently the company operates in 30 countries and Andrade’s approach and legal support has been central to this impressive growth.
Impresa is a Portuguese media conglomerate, owner of leading media outlets, and a PSI-20 listed company. Francisco Pedro Balsemão is the chief operating officer responsible for human resources, legal affairs and sustainability. He joined the company in 2009, following his private practice career as an associate at Linklaters. Balsemão prides himself on building a strong in-house team, in line with the company’s needs. Using this past experience he spearheaded innovative changes that have improved the efficiency of the legal department. Central to this efficiency was increasing the internal visibility of the legal department and the real value it adds, while he invested in legal training for the clients regarding practical issues, such as marketing or advertising. Throughout his career at Impresa, Balsemão has been actively involved in a number of strategic projects. Recently he led the negotiations with Portuguese law-makers regarding legislation that would directly impact the company’s new business. ‘The director of the TV news department recognised the relevance of our legal arguments and sent us an email, in which he copied Impresa's chairman, giving us credit for the result’ he says. The recognition of his outstanding negotiation and leadership skills were also reflected in his appointment to the board of Impresa’s main operating companies. Through this position, he has been able to bring a legal perspective in board meetings, which has helped steer the company’s strategy. ‘In other words, by making my voice heard at the highest level of decision-making, the legal department's opinions are now directly and systematically taken into account in the company's planning’.
During her time at the IBEX 35 listed Spanish multinational company, Consuelo Barbé Capdevila has been involved in some of Telefónica’s most pivotal transactions, including the ground-breaking merger of Telefónica and its affiliate Terra Networks in 2005. Before joining the company Barbé Capdevila had taken on a variety of managerial roles at Banco Central Hispano, including the roles of legal manager for Europe and Latin America. During her time at Telefónica she has introduced changes in the organisation of the legal department, particularly regarding IT systems and processes, which have resulted in the maximisation of the legal function’s efficiency. Among the new policies she introduced, Barbé Capdevila promoted the study of the legal reforms within her team in order to anticipate all potential implications for the business. In the past she collaborated with the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Madrid, as a member of Young Lawyer's Group and the Corporate Lawyer's Association, and she has written some articles for law magazines.
During her decade-long tenure at Canon España, Begoña Barbera-Martin has created a strong and trusted legal department that is always available and ready to contribute to the company’s growth. ‘In this regard, one of my main objectives was, and still is, to build a strong enduring business relationship with both internal and external customers. We work in partnership with the business and keep a business-oriented and flexible approach’ she comments. She takes pride in her contribution to several acquisitions and mergers, the most notable being the acquisition of Océ España and Océ Portugal. ‘I was a member of the acquisition team, which received a Canon President’s Award in recognition of its contribution to the success of Canon EMEA in 2012’ she says. Barbera-Martin started her career in private practice and she admits that the transition to an in-house role was rather challenging at first. ‘I realised that I needed to invest time and effort into increasing my business awareness, while setting up the legal department and all the relevant legal processes’. Barbera-Martin is also vice-secretary of Canon España’s board of directors and the lead lawyer for Canon Portugal.
Bergé y Cía is one of the biggest Spanish business groups with international outreach, mainly operating in the fields of maritime and ports, car distribution, logistics, renewable energy and finance. Heading a strong, cross-functional team Salvador Bautista Enciso leads the legal and tax affairs for the group. He joined the company in 2006, following a two-year tenure at the market-leading Spanish law-firm Cuatrecasas. Operating amid the financial crisis has been very challenging and Bautista Enciso has been at the forefront, providing the company with solutions. To that end, he reduced the use of external law firms by more than 30% and instead executes more tasks in-house. ‘We try to do as many projects (M&A, contracts, etc.) as possible in-house. We have also focused on middle and small size law firms or boutiques more than the big traditional ones, although we still work with the big firms in the most relevant corporate matters’ he comments. With an impressive record of successfully handled cases, Bautista Enciso was actively involved in the legal work for the refinancing of Bergé group’s debt, a deal amounting to more than €900m. ‘It was a deal which started in 2008 and ended in 2010, before I was appointed as head of legal and secretary to the board, but in which I was personally involved in depth’. Recently he participated in the acquisition of a majority stake in the automotive distribution companies Mitsubishi Spain and Portugal, a deal in two jurisdictions, which closed between 2014 and 2015 and was negotiated for four years. ‘The deal with Mitsubishi meant a substantial increase of our stake in the Spanish automotive market and came in a moment in which there was a comeback in the market; a deal in which the legal department played a very important role’ Bautista Enciso comments proudly.
Ana Bayó Busta had spent 10 years working in market leading law firms, including Garrigues, Clifford Chance and Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, before deciding to move in-house. ‘At Clifford Chance where I spent most of my career, I had the opportunity to be with one of the well-known leaders for pharmaceutical litigation, Mr Miquel Montaña. With him and his specialised team I entered the innovative pharmaceutical world, as service provider, and from there I realised that becoming an in-house lawyer for the pharma industry was my goal’. In 2013 Bayó Busta became the head of legal affairs at the Spanish branch of Grupo Menarini, the leading Italian pharmaceutical company, with a consolidated turnover of €3.36bn in 2014, of which 72.5% was generated from abroad. During her time in this role Bayó Busta has impressed peers and clients with her initiative and ability to navigate major projects. Examples of her achievements include the creation of the compliance program in Spain, which is soon to be expanded to the Central American branches. Besides institutionalising compliance and standardising the day-to-day work, Bayó Busta has joined CEFI, a foundation for education and research formed by legal counsels of the most important, innovative pharmaceutical companies in Spain. ‘This new role as sponsor of this foundation not only gives Menarini more visibility in the industry, but also allows us to share experiences and positions in the legal field with other heads of legal’ she adds.
Known as a ‘business-oriented’ lawyer, Natalia Bódalo Lozano joined CEPSA, the Spanish multinational oil and gas company, following a successful career in international law firms, including Gleiss Lutz in Frankfurt and Ashurst in Madrid, where she specialised in M&A projects. In 2014 she was promoted to head of the E&P legal department, where she leads a team of 20 people across Madrid and Bogota. During her time in the role, Bódalo Lozano has introduced many changes in the legal department. She implemented a team restructure, which encourages collaboration and more personalised services to the business. One of the changes she implemented was the creation of a process to standardise documents and create high quality, model contracts adapted to each of the jurisdictions where CEPSA is present. Bódalo Lozano played an instrumental role in the negotiations and closure of the MEDGAZ procurement and construction agreements within a very short timeframe. ‘Being able to build an international, highly-qualified, business-orientated and motivated legal team in a short time, especially taking into consideration that none of the incoming lawyers had oil and gas experience, was a significant achievement’ she says.
A highly experienced and result-oriented lawyer, with more than 20 years’ multinational experience, Ruth Breitenfeld is the legal manager of Cepsa Trading. Cepsa is a Spanish multinational oil and gas company with operations in several countries. When she assumed her role, Cepsa did not have a well-structured legal department and her defining task was the creation and development of a high-calibre team. ‘I am proud to say that it has been accomplished and the legal department within Cepsa a top level in-house structure, which is flexible and known as a problem solver. We went from a non-existent legal department to a fully organised function, recognised and perceived both internally and externally as adding value to the organisation and to its activity. My experience allowed us to introduce innovation in the way the company was used to doing business and to approach its several stakeholders’. Praised for the successful team she has established, Breitenfeld has added ‘reputational value’ to the business. ‘If a company has a top level legal department, the company is perceived, externally, by the official entities, by the legal professionals in the market, by other companies and clients, as being a top level company’ she comments. Breitenfeld is also vice president and board member of Cepsa Portugal.
‘An extraordinary professional’, Ana Buitrago has impressed private practice lawyers and in-house colleagues throughout her 15 year in-house career. With previous senior roles at Iberdrola Renovables and Terra Lycos, the internet holding company of Telefónica, Buitrago joined Amazon in 2012 as the Spanish legal director, becoming the first member of the Amazon Spain legal team. Upon her arrival at Amazon she recruited all members of the legal team and she takes pride in the growth and consolidation of a highly efficient and mature team that excels in all areas of practice. She has defined and implemented the existing legal policies and strategies, simplified internal processes and launched the pan-EU Amazon marketing guidelines. Buitrago has been instrumental in the decision making and execution of Amazon product, services, and category launches. With the regulatory framework of e-commerce still evolving, Buitrago is constantly faced with new challenges. ‘We provide customer-focused solutions that are often very innovative, ahead of the existing regulatory framework. I overcome the challenge by finding the best solution for customers’.
Esteve Buldú Freixa joined Camper, a Spanish-owned shoe brand with a large international network of sales, in 2002 and in 2013 he was promoted to his current role as deputy general counsel. With a wealth of experience in in-house roles, Buldú Freixa warrants recognition for his business acumen and one of his defining tasks has been the full alignment of the legal function’s objectives with Camper’s strategic goals. In order to achieve this he implemented a flat structure, in which each of the legal team members is responsible for certain areas of the business. This has improved the client-focused service delivery of the department and encourages collaboration of ideas as practices. Buldú Freixa has also played an important role in the company’s international expansion, leading major projects, including Camper’s recent acquisition in Russia.
Mango’s general counsel Isabel Calero Llinares prides herself for instilling within the company a culture of prevention and education and corporate responsibility. She has been at the helm of Mango’s legal department since 2010 and has supported the company at a time of constant growth and increasing operations in more than 100 jurisdictions. ‘From a corporate and commercial law perspective we have been providing legal services to the company in such complex regulatory markets as Russia, China, India, Mexico and Serbia and we have enabled the company to successfully set up its corporate business and initiate its activities in these jurisdictions’. Calero Llinares is praised for her continuous efforts to improve the efficiency of the legal department. To that end she has carried out a comprehensive revision of the best practices and activities of Mango’s legal department during the last years, in order to assess, prevent and control the exposure of the company to potential legal, regulatory and commercial risks. Before she joined Mango in 2007 as an in-house lawyer she had worked at the legal department of Nike and at the litigation department of Gómez-Acebo & Pombo.
Highly experienced and business-oriented, Mónica Calonje Conde is a legal counsel with extensive experience as in-house lawyer and external lawyer. She started her career in the corporate and commercial law department of Ernst & Young, where she specialised in the insurance sector. Six years later she moved to BNP Paribas Cardif, to become head of the legal department. During her time there she created the new structure for the bank’s in-house legal department. In 2013 she joined the Spanish branch of Hiscox, the multinational insurance provider. As claims and legal manager Calonje Conde has assumed new responsibilities and she has expanded the scope of her knowledge in the insurance sector. Her current role stretches well beyond the traditional legal aspects, as she is also in charge of claims management and provision of reserves. ‘This new role brings me closer to the business and to better understanding their needs’ she says. Also a member of the senior management structure, Calonje Conde always strives to give visibility to the work done by the legal department and the value it adds, making every effort to demonstrate work done for the rest of the business.
An award-winning corporate counsel, with expertise in public and administrative law, Iberdrola’s director of global legal services for energy management and commercial, Andrés Campaña Avila is an increasingly respected voice in the energy market. He started his career in 2000 as an associate in Cuatrecasas’ litigation department. In 2005 he joined Iberdrola in the role of gas unit legal director and one year later he assumed his current position, following some reorganisation within the company. Also part of the business legal committee, Campaña Avila has had the chance to contribute to the strategy planning of the legal team and to implement changes on the workings of the legal department within the scope of his responsibilities. Examples of his reforms include the introduction of an exhaustive potential risks assessment in order to put in place a compliance system and the implementation of the best practices programs, designed to share knowledge and experiences across the group legal teams. He held a central role in the defence of Iberdrola on several competition and regulatory punitive proceedings conducted by the Spanish Competition and Energy authorities, which have led to the annulment of fines approximated at €40m. The removal of regulated tariffs in 2009, due to the EU directives and national transposing regulations, posed many hurdles for the company. Campaña Avila advised the retail division on all aspects of liberalisation of the energy supply that led to the growth of its customer base from 200,000 to 11,000,000. Also vice secretary of the Iberdrola Generación España, S.A.U. board of directors, he enjoys a daily interaction with the senior management of the business advising on Spanish and wider European matters. In the early years of his practice, he managed the administrative law area of a website that provided free legal assistance to citizens. ‘I had my email available to readers and I was very happy to study and answer -free of charge, of course- questions from ordinary people who could not afford a law firm such as Cuatrecasas where I was working at the time’. Campaña Avila has published several articles on administrative law and has contributed one article for the book “Temas de Derecho Energético” ("Issues of Energy Law") published by Editorial Bosch in 2009. Since 2008 he has also been a lecturer for the MA of energy law at the Club Español de la Energía (Spanish Club of Energy).
‘Transmitting to the company a certain way of doing business based on your own expertise and the knowledge and your qualifications in law: that's the biggest impact of an in-house counsel; to build up a way of doing business based on respect of the law’, Jaime Carro says. During his 18 year tenure as in-house lawyer at Inditex and Pontegadea, Carro has led the in-house legal function through a period of significant regional growth. Pontegadea is a real estate investment firm which is part of Inditex, the biggest fashion group in the world. Carro joined the company in 2005 and within one decade he has driven major changes in the legal function. He has organised the procedures regarding real estate acquisitions in line with the presence of the company in other jurisdictions. ‘This was not implemented when I joined Pontegadea. In fact after I joined we opened in several markets where English is the working language. I selected the law firms at the first instance, transmitting our company policies in order to create a kind of expertise and knowledge about us. Through this communication, the local law firm, with the guidance of the local branch and my supervision, can deal with our matters’. Carro sees the breadth of his jurisdictional responsibilities, and the diverse legal environment it encompasses, as among the biggest challenges: ‘I would say it is difficult to be able to adapt to a lot of different countries and legal systems and conceptions of law. I have been dealing with many different countries in Europe, Asia and America. The ability to adapt to those different systems and be able to understand the way the legal framework works there and transmitting the policies of the company regarding the guidelines of the way the company would like to do business has been a major challenge’.
Tuenti, widely known as the “Spanish Facebook”, is a leading Spanish technology company that integrates telecommunications and social communication services with its own app to provide a multi-platform cloud experience to their clients. Leading all legal, regulatory and public affairs Óscar Casado Oliva is at the cutting edge of a new area in a state of flux. A highly experienced professional in telecommunications, he worked for six years in different tech companies before joining Tuenti in 2011. Having worked in competitive and fast-moving environments where the legal framework develops alongside the industry, he is constantly faced with the challenges of the digital economy and disruptive technologies. ‘I have come to learn that you must think like an entrepreneur, as if you were the owner of the company. You have to get involved emotionally and provide legal advice and your experience in innovative environments to help grow the start-up, foreseeing their needs and solving problems’. Casado Oliva has supported some of the company’s most strategic deals. He led the legal management of Tuenti’s international expansion and he was in charge of the legal, regulatory and public affairs for the transformation of the company’s business model from a social network to a model that joins telecommunication and internet services through a mobile and social application in the cloud. ‘We reinvented a "start-up" and became a digital mobile operator based on innovation and technology as differentiating elements, creating a unique and pioneering global product that we are exporting to other countries. That meant, among other things, shifting from an unregulated environment to a regulated sector, having to change the corporate legal structure to meet the challenges underlying this strategic decision worldwide’. Apart from his role in Tuenti, Casado Oliva gives lectures at ESADE Business Schools, he has co-authored many articles and books and he is regularly invited to speak at conferences related to innovation and digital business.
Marta Casas heads the legal department of Abertis, the IBEX-35 Spanish conglomerate. Known as a very dynamic lawyer ‘Marta has shown an outstanding capacity in reorganising and adapting the legal structures to the continuous changes of Abertis’ activities and shape. She meets the highest standards in legal knowledge, managerial skills and business approach’ according to one source. In 2015 Casas was appointed group chief compliance officer, with the mission to monitor compliance with internal and external regulation. She also serves as an advisor to the board of directors.
As Dow Chemical Ibérica’s lead counsel for EMEA, Francisco Castillo has demonstrated diligence, talent and expert knowledge of the business after almost 17 years in the company. An experienced in-house counsel, he had worked in big international companies, including Canon and Total, before joining Dow in 1998. Since then he has held a number of senior management roles with responsibilities for Dow France, Dow AgroSciences Eurasia and Dow Spain and Portugal, amongst other international assignments. Castillo has also led many reforms that have rendered the legal department more efficient and support-oriented, which has impressed the business. Dealing with a varied and huge territory, mainly on the agricultural and solar business, including Africa, Middle East and Eastern countries in Europe, such as the Mediterranean area, Castillo has taken a strong compliance approach that has proven very effective for overcoming legal challenges in new jurisdictions, including some sensitive territories with special regulations.
‘Always seeking to excel and constantly pursuing training initiatives which may increase legal, business and operational knowledge to support the business in a stormy regulatory environment’, Isabel Charraz is praised highly for her wide-reaching initiatives to foster a deep involvement of the legal department with the local business area, which has ensured a strong knowledge of the operational part of the banking and financial products. Charraz joined Citibank in 2003 as legal and compliance officer and in 2009 she was appointed country legal counsel for consumer, corporate and investment banking, alongside her responsibilities as compliance head for Portugal. During her time with Citibank, Charraz has undertaken many challenging projects, including the successful launch of the retail and internet business in Portugal, while at the same time overseeing the legal complexities of the credit card business. Her ability to navigate complex deals, along with her business acumen led her to assume a leading project role in all of the organisation’s local strategic decisions.
Highly respected across the banking sector, Juan Charro Nicolás heads the corporate legal department of Santander Group. He joined Santander in 2008, following a successful career of seven years at the Spanish law firm Pérez-Llorca, which included a secondment at the London offices of Slaughter & May. When he moved to Santander, Charro Nicolás aspired to integrate his existing legal and international knowledge into his new in-house role. He introduced certain law firm practices, which have improved the overall efficiency of the team; examples include the development and standardisation of the internal knowledge tools. Charro Nicolás has also had a pivotal role in the expansion of the group internationally; his ability to advise quickly and efficiently on a number of jurisdictions has been central for the expansion of Santander Group in new markets. He admits that cultural differences have been a challenge he had to face in international negotiations, but he has now developed the necessary knowledge and approach. Charro Nicolás has been involved in a number of projects in Poland, including the acquisition of a listed bank and subsequent merger with another listed bank, which has allowed Santander to gain a market-leading position in the country. The work of his department has contributed significantly to the minimisation of external advice, saving the company from additional costs, which is seen as demonstration of the legal team’s value.
Viscofan Group is an IBEX-35 company and a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of artificial casings for the meat industry. Elena Ciordia has been at the helm of the company since 2000, after first joining Viscofan in 1995 as the only solicitor, reporting to the then chief legal officer. She started her career at a local tax and audit law firm, while at the same time working as a lecturer of European law at the public University of Navarra. Sources praised her efficient navigation of extremely challenging deals that need expedited timelines; examples include the acquisition of a company in only three months and the sale of another one in four days. Ciordia’s negotiating skills have secured the company a high number of successful cases. She led the process for the signature of a $1m settlement, while the initial proposition of the settlement started at $50,000. ‘It was a real fight’ she admits. Throughout her long tenure at Viscofan, Ciordia has taken wide-reaching initiatives to raise awareness within the company of the legal implications of each action. ‘I tried to make my colleagues conscious about the fact that nearly everything they do has a legal aspect. I have avoided legal language so everyone understands what we are talking about and they are more aware of their work and whether they need help from the legal department’. She takes pride in gaining her colleagues trust because of her approach. ‘I have my colleagues telling me that they always want me to be on their side, not opposite, which I think is a big achievement, they consider me as a fighter for our interest; I take that as a compliment’ she comments.
A widely recognised corporate lawyer, Fernando de las Cuevas Terán heads the legal department of Abengoa Solar, the solar energy division of the Spanish multinational corporation Abengoa. He started his career with the top-tier Spanish law firm Garrigues, where he specialised in corporate and project finance. During that time he advised Abengoa on several projects, including the project financing of a transmission line in Peru and the Abengoa corporate syndicated financing in 2005. ‘Eventually, I joined Abengoa as in-house counsel in 2006, in charge of project and corporate financing on the legal side. It was a natural move’, he comments. He was subsequently appointed head of the corporate legal department and in 2011 he assumed his current role as secretary general of Abengoa Solar. Through this role his remit stretches far beyond the legal area, advising other corporate areas and managing relations with stakeholders, board secretary and business development. De las Cuevas Terán played a pivotal role in the company’s international expansion and he currently leads a team of 25 lawyers in Spain, USA, South Africa and Chile. ‘We have been working hard for the expansion of the legal department to new geographies, such as South Africa and more recently Chile, in order to meet the company’s needs, strengthening the project and finance practice, as we are currently using more sophisticated non-recourse schemes and innovative technologies in our projects’ he says.
CECSE is the second largest group specialised in credit and surety in Spain and the fourth largest in the world. As director of legal since 2012 Jaime de Miguel Muñoz has revolutionised the in-house team of CESCE. He has introduced clear divisions between the legal activities on behalf of the Spanish state and the activity as private insurers in the international credit and bond insurance market. He created the compliance department and built close relations with the other departments to better support all company activities. CESCE is undergoing a privatisation process and de Miguel Muñoz’s role has been instrumental. He has led the legal team during preparation for the privatisation of the whole group, including seven insurance companies in Latin America and 12 services companies, some of which are Spanish and Portuguese market-leading companies (for example Informa D&B). De Miguel Muñoz has been directly involved in the financing and issuance of bonds and insurance for some of the greatest deals of the biggest international Spanish companies. Examples include the modification of the Panama Canal (by SACYR), the Train Mecca to Medina (by a consortium of Spanish builders and Talgo), and some of the largest project finance in the oil and refinery business in Turkey and Middle East (by companies such as Tecnicas Reunidas and Abengoa).
Rui de Oliveira Neves is general counsel, head of compliance and company secretary at Galp Energia, a Portuguese energy company with activities in oil and gas exploration, production, transport, and retail. With its diverse operations in a wide number of legally challenging jurisdictions, Galp has frequently drawn on Neves’ expertise to settle litigations, secure competitive contracts, manage risks and help lead industry-wide initiatives related to tax packages. Neves is also widely recognised as one of Portugal’s leading authorities on the energy sector, particularly in the field of global natural gas contracts, and has significant experience in corporate law, capital markets and securities. He sits as executive director of the Institute of Petroleum and Gas Association for Research and Advanced Training (ISPG), a partnership between Galp and six of Portugal’s leading universities that seeks to promote energy research and expertise. Neves, formerly a partner at Portuguese firm Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva for 15 years, is among the most respected corporate counsel in the country. He has contributed to the development of Portugal’s legal community as the author of many books and articles on corporate law and capital markets, and as a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and the Faculty of Law of the Universidade de Lisboa. In addition to these many commitments, Neves is an arbitrator at the Commercial Arbitration Institute of the Oporto Commercial Association and a member of the Governance Lab, a group of corporate counsel, academics, private practice partners and legal commentators from across the Portuguese-speaking world that seeks to develop a best-practice approach to governance by combining practical experience with theoretical insight.
With more than two decades in-house experience at Santander Group, José de Reina Amarillas has been involved in some of the bank’s most significant transactions. Since joining Santander’s in-house team in 1994, he has undertaken a number of senior roles and in 2012 he assumed his current position as the head of retail and commercial banking and custody legal, where he leads a team of seven lawyers. During his long tenure at Santander he has created, formed and developed new legal teams and reshaped the existing ones; he has defined the internal legal assessment function, policies and contractual models for the areas he has supervised. In cooperation with other divisions, de Reina Amarillas has contributed greatly to the development and implementation of the group legal and operational risk/control and mitigation policies. ‘I give legal support and advice to different corporate areas involved in regulatory initiatives with high and cross-jurisdictional impact for the businesses within the group such as public policy, business and regulatory projects’ he comments. He admits that adapting to the changes within the organisation, culture, strategy and regulatory environment, along with the new responsibilities resulting from the different roles he has assumed, was the biggest challenge he has faced throughout his in-house career. However, he contends that this allowed him to gain wide knowledge of the organisation and different businesses, which he considers as the highlight of his career.
OHL is a Spanish-based multinational construction and civil engineering company and since 2008 it has been a constituent of the benchmark IBEX 35 stock market index. Javier de Silva Escrivá de Romaní is the chief legal counsel in the OHL Desarrollos division, which covers the design and development of top-quality projects in areas of touristic and historic value. De Silva Escrivá de Romaní impressed the business with his contribution to the dynamism and internationalisation of the legal department, as most of the company’s clients are located outside Spain. This change upgraded the role of the in-house counsel, rendering it an indispensable part of the decision-making process. He has a track record of successfully handled deals, including the Centro Canalejas Madrid project and the acquisition of the Old War Office building in London, which he considers one of his biggest achievements due to the complexities involved. ‘We only had five days to achieve the closing, which included carrying out a complete due diligence, reviewing and negotiating all contracts, and including all agreements with OHL Development’s partner’. A team player, de Silva Escrivá de Romaní stresses the importance of his team in all the legal achievements of OHL Desarrollos. ‘I have to say that every colleague that forms part of the OHL group legal department has the same or more merit and would deserve the same attention, and I would necessarily need to share this recognition with all of them’.
General director of legal services at OHL, the IBEX-35 Spanish multinational construction and civil engineering company with approximate annual revenues of €3.5bn, José Maria del Cuvillo Pemán is a widely respected voice in the industry. He heads a team of 22 lawyers in Spain and 18 more in the global operations of OHL, and also holds the position of the vice secretary of the board of directors. During the course of 20 years at OHL he has implemented important structural changes to adapt the legal department to the new conditions of the growth, diversification and internationalisation of the company. Additionally, he created the legal corporate department, which provides legal services to all divisions. Del Cuvillo Pemán has had an integral role in all the major deals of OHL: ‘In the recent years we have participated in the exchange of assets with Abertis, a procedure through which we obtained a 10% share from the capital of this significant concession, which in turn resulted in our participation in the listed company of OHL Brazil and our concession assets in Chile’ he comments.
‘It is an honour to provide corporate legal advisory services related to such a life-enhancing purpose. It enables me to feel I am doing something to help the economic, social and personal development of our customers’ says Paloma del Val Tolosana. ‘We are fighting against poverty and vulnerability, to encourage growth and progress in the countries where we operate’. Del Val Tolosana heads all legal operations of Fundación Microfinanzas BBVA, the non-profit institution that focuses on the fight against financial exclusion, by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic and social development for the least well-off. Before assuming her current role, del Val Tolosana had led the legal department of BBVA’s Institutional legal advisory service for nearly 10 years. Currently she coordinates a total of 50 in-house lawyers in eight jurisdictions and she feels very privileged to have the opportunity to deal with eight different legal systems, despite the challenges that this brings. Since joining Fundación Microfinanzas her contribution has been felt both inside and outside the company, as her innovative reforms have revolutionised the in-house legal function. She implemented leading-edge corporate governance practices and created the new code of corporate governance, which contains the latest international corporate governance developments. The foundation’s annual report was shortlisted among “The 10 best initiatives in transparency, accountability and good governance in 2014” by the journal Compromiso Empresarial, for developing and fostering a methodology that has had an impact on the entire microfinance sector. Del Val Tolosana also takes pride in her legal team’s work for the launch of a digital quarterly journal, Progreso, containing the latest pertinent legislation and regulations in the industry.
With an illustrious career spanning private practice, public sector and in-house, José Luis del Valle Pérez has been the director and general secretary at the IBEX 35 listed Grupo ACS since 2000. In 1989 he was appointed member of the board at ACS Actividades de Construcción y Servicios and secretary of the board one year later. He started his career in 1975 as a lawyer of the Spanish state, and in 1978 he was appointed chief legal advisor of the political party UCD; from 1979 to 1982 he was member of the Spanish Parliament (Congreso de los Diputados) and from the end of 1981 to the end of 1982 was deputy minister of Territorial Administration. He now leads a total of 300 people in different jurisdictions, as he coordinates the work of the legal departments of all local branches of ACS. The changes he spearheaded significantly increased the legal department’s efficiency and its reporting systems.
During his nine year tenure as chief legal officer at Universidad de Navarra, one of the world’s top-60 universities according to a New York Times’ ranking, Fernando Domingo Oslé has created from scratch a highly efficient in-house legal function. Before assuming this role, he had served as associate professor of the department of international and public law at Universidad de Navarra and worked for five years in the litigation and arbitration law area at the Mas i Calvet law-firm in Madrid. In his current role, Domingo Oslé has participated in several major projects; highlights include the implementation of the new degrees adapted to the European higher education area law; advising on the incorporation of new centers such as the Institute for Culture and Society, the Nutrition Research Centre and the Institute of Tropical Health. He also played a significant role in the acquisition, merger and taking over of the ISEM Fashion Business School; the implementation and legal management of the University’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the new establishment of the University and Hospital University in Madrid, and the creation of the new facilities in San Sebastian, Barcelona and Munich.
Abengoa is an IBEX 35 listed Spanish multinational company that creates innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors. Since joining in 2010, Pablo Echenique Conde has led some of the company’s most significant deals. Examples include the closing of a “bet-the-company” $2bn deal with EIG, a private equity fund, to invest in a number of projects. ‘It was a very big challenge’ he says. ‘I had to bring together a team of external counsel capable of delivering top-quality work in three months’ time, for a transaction that would normally take five to six months. We worked round the clock for three months and I coordinated in-house and external counsel from five different jurisdictions’. Prior to his in-house career, Echenique Conde was part of the corporate legal department of Uría Menéndez and he has strived to invest the knowledge he gained through private practice into Abengoa’s legal department. ‘I have tried to bring into the company the way that law firms work, where one lead lawyer is assisted by a junior. Team work is essential in such a demanding company where time pressure is as high as in law firm’. Apart from his role in Abengoa, Echenique Conde is an active fellow of the Aspen Institute of Spain.
Grupo Planeta is Spain’s leading family-owned publishing and media group, also operating in Portugal, France and Latin America. With an impressive career, spanning private practice and in-house roles in various industries with international outreach, Luis Elías joined the media group in 2006. Through his position as general counsel he has experienced the multitude of challenges that the digital era and the economic crisis have brought to the publishing industry in Spain. ‘We faced the challenge of studying the new market, deciding what should be our business approach and how it can be sustainable from a legal point of view, while working harder to respond to the new needs’ he comments. Elías created significant changes within the legal department of 28 people to meet these new demands. He led the digitalisation of the department, which has optimised legal procedures, as all data and documents are now available in the intranet. Perhaps most importantly, Elías created the anti-piracy department for the protection of IP rights that helped authors to accept the publication of e-books at the same time their paper-books are circulated, a key reform that revolutionised the sales of digital and print books. Between 2006 and 2015 Grupo Planeta has undertaken more than 60 M&A projects and the advice provided by Elías and his team has been central to the success of these deals. During his time in this role he has directly conducted 37 acquisitions and divestments of businesses, including the acquisition of Editis Group in France for over €2bn and the €500m acquisition of Casa Editorial El Tiempo in Colombia.
A leading expert in finance law, Cristina Fernández Gomez has been at the helm of the legal financial department at Telefónica since 2012. She started her career at the top-tier Spanish law firm Uría Menéndez in 1998, while completing her studies in business administration. She worked within the corporate and finance department of Uría Menéndez for five years, until September 2003 when she joined Ferrovial S.A., the holding company of a construction and services group operating worldwide. During her time at Ferrovial she rose to director of the legal corporate department. Now heading the legal financial department at Telefónica, Fernández Gomez’s main objective is to add real value to the organisation. ‘For such purposes, we try to offer advice of the highest quality, to be as close as possible to our clients and to the business and to offer timely, efficient and creative solutions’ she comments. ‘We make a special effort to understand the technical matters, the business, the financial situation, the needs of our organisation and the environment in which it operates to offer the best and proactive advice in each situation, trying to being part of the decision making process’.
With 17 years’ in-house experience, Mar Fernández López de Ochoa leads the Spanish branch of the multinational insurance company AEGON. Before she joined the company in 2012, Fernández López de Ochoa had worked as an in-house counsel in Banco Urquijo, Banco Sabadell and General Electric. A seasoned lawyer and a great negotiator, she takes pride in having established in AEGON a new approach to resolving legal disputes by means of negotiation instead of resorting to litigation, transforming dispute resolution for AEGON. During her time in the company Fernández López de Ochoa has also introduced other innovative reforms. She implemented an internal software aimed at specifically managing and controlling the demand for legal advice within the company. Fernández López de Ochoa has a very close relationship with her staff that has allowed her not only to influence them professionally, but also assist them practically in their career. ‘Winning the respect of my peers has been the biggest achievement of my career’ she says.
Highly experienced in the energy sector, Elena Fernández Sánchez joined Enel Green Power, the Italian renewable energy corporation with operations in over 16 countries, in 2010. She started her career in a consulting firm, specialised in the energy industry. Later she joined the legal department of Enel Unión Fenosa Renovables, where she advised on renewable regulation and environmental law. She admits that the role of the in-house lawyer can be quite challenging. ‘As an in-house lawyer, our main task is to keep the balance between staying independent from the business, so we can advise the company in a proper way, and at the same time understanding that nevertheless we have the same objectives and goals with the business, so our main efforts must be always in the direction of obtaining solutions, instead of only pointing out the risks and problems that arise’. In her current role she is mainly in charge of the company’s defence, having successfully handled several complex litigations. During her time in this role Fernández Sánchez has invested a lot of energy in making the role of the in-house department integral in the outsourced cases, and the outcome of this reform is reflected in the increase of the success rate. The changes she has spearheaded include the internal reporting of the main litigation and pre-litigation, which has improved the business’s understanding of potential risks.
A highly experienced lawyer, Alberto Ferrández Barturen is the head of legal at Celeo Concesiones e Inversiones, a 100% owned subsidiary of Elecnor, the leading developer and operator of electricity and gas transmissions assets, solar power generation plants and water treatment concessions in Spain. He is also the secretary of the board of directors of other subsidiary companies within Elecnor. With international responsibilities, Ferrández Barturen oversees a total of six lawyers in Spain, Brazil and Chile having created an excellent, enthusiastic and cooperative legal team, capable of providing responses to the most complex, cross-border projects. ‘My first task was to create the legal teams in Spain, Brazil and Chile. I continuously strive for a positive and motivated work environment within the legal department. I try to do everything possible so that the legal department gets involved at every stage of the projects, which allows us to prevent problems and encourage a much better interaction between the other departments of the company’ he says. The recent changes in Spanish regulation have had a major impact on the company’s renewable assets and Ferrández Barturen has been at the forefront of the legal policy planning. ‘Our response to overcome this situation has been focused mainly on analysing the new legal and economic scenario, then: advising on the refinancing with banks; challenging the regulation before Spanish courts and renegotiating the terms and conditions with suppliers, service providers and authorities’. Throughout his in-house career, he has been involved in major deals, with one of the most remarkable being a financial closing reached in May 2015 in connection with the €445m refinancing of two thermosolar plants located in Alcázar de San Juan, Spain.
‘Before I joined the company, the top management had just dismantled the legal department. I was hired to redesign the legal department with new people from scratch’ says Pedro Ferraz. Within three years of assuming his role as legal director at Grupo Trofa Saúde, he has built a strong legal department that since its inception has been ranking first in the internal feedback survey for the company. Grupo Trofa Saúde consists of the fourth biggest health group in Portugal and another group dedicated to the wholesale of apparel and clothing, with operations in Spain, Luxembourg and sales in many European countries. When building the legal department, his first goal was to specialise the in-house lawyers in line with the internal needs. ‘I designed some internal procedures to follow judicial litigations; before I joined there was no strategic definition related to litigation, it was defined by us’ he says. Ferraz established administrative procedures and a documents database that would guarantee the know-how for the current and future in-house lawyers. Ferraz’s advice on strategic matters has been central to the management’s decision making; he was part of a team that was advising on strategic decisions regarding the execution and planning of the business plan and his input has had a substantial impact. Before joining Grupo Trofa Saúde, Ferraz had worked for six years at Uría Menéndez, where he specialised in labour and corporate law.
Carlos Figueiredo has worked at Unilever Jerónimo Martins since the onset of his career. He joined the company in 1998 as a management trainee and he has held various positions in the human resources department of Unilever companies, until 2002 when he was appointed legal counsel. Since 2008 he holds the diverse position of general counsel, company secretary and national human resources and communications director. He has taken a very meticulous approach in the management of the legal department by investing in the areas of law that have the most impact on the business and focusing more on preventive, rather than reactive legal remedies. Figueiredo has been an integral part of strategic reforms. He designed a new corporate governance structure, which rendered the role of the company secretary central to the business operations. He also integrated the role of the general counsel and the legal function in the strategic decision making process. Throughout his in-house career he has successfully dealt with 55 board meetings of two important holding companies, always reaching universe resolutions. One of the biggest challenges he has faced was when he was leading the legal work for the closure of a big industrial unit of Unilever Group. He considers it a big achievement, as he accomplished the closure without making any employees redundant, demonstrating good social responsibility amid the economic crisis in Portugal.
A highly skilled lawyer, Pedro Filipe Santos joined Aon Portugal, in 2004, with the task of establishing an in-house legal department. To grow his understanding of the company, he spent some time in the Aon offices in Spain, ultimately allowing him to create a similar structure for Portugal. ‘Over the years I have been adding my personal touch to the legal department of Aon Portugal’ Filipe Santos comments. Almost a decade after its inception, the legal department has acquired a prominent place within the business and it is now represented on the executive committee of the company, which is a recognition of the legal team’s outstanding work. ‘My greatest achievement was to have the legal function represented in in the executive committee of the company; in that committee the most important management issues for the future of the company are discussed’.
As the general counsel of Cobre Las Cruces, the Spanish mining complex owned by First Quantum Minerals, Lorena García de Izarra’s defining task has been the transformation of the legal department from mere provider of legal advice to a business partner. ‘Prior to my arrival in the company the legal department had a rather reactive role. Now, we have full legal control over all decisions. We have put enormous effort into gaining technical, industrial knowledge to better contribute to the business. Now we understand the business and fully take part in the decision making’ she comments. Before moving in-house, García de Izarra had worked for two and a half years in the public law department of the market leading Spanish law firm Garrigues. During that time she was recommended to the Minister of Economy and she was offered a position in the cabinet, where she stayed for three years and specialised in public lobbying.
With more than 31,200 MW installed in more than 50 countries, Gamesa is a global technological leader in the wind industry and an IBEX 35 listed company. Juan Antonio García Fuente joined Gamesa in 2003 and last year was appointed general counsel, with a focus on M&A, finance, wind turbine sales, wind farm sales, wind farm business solutions, O&M services and industrial operations. Heading a legal department amid the financial crisis has been a particularly big challenge for García Fuente, who has taken wide-reaching initiatives to contain the legal costs, while increasing efficiency. ‘I feel proud of all the important achievements on outside-counsel management. We have partnered with some major firms like Uría Menéndez and CMS, reducing the number of firms we work with. At the same time, we have searched for and hired smaller, regional firms for some categories of work. We now manage our legal work in the same manner as businesses manage their capital expenditures’. The economic environment pushed Gamesa into expanding its operations in international markets, and García Fuente took charge of the internationalisation process and all legal risks associated. During the last seven years Gamesa has transcended from a supplier focused mainly on the Spanish market into a global player and the general counsel’s role has been pivotal. One of the deals he headed during that time was the joint venture with AREVA for their offshore wind-business. ‘I had a leading role in negotiations with AREVA. This deal serves the strategic direction that GAMESA wants to take in a new market where we were not present. The complexities of this deal were huge in many aspects, including AREVA being a French state-owned company. The legal department showed value and contributed to the achievement of this strategic goal in terms and conditions satisfactory for our board’.
Heading a strong, cross-functional team of 20 people for Vestas, a Danish manufacturer, seller and servicer of wind turbines, Alejandro García Granda has been active in some of the most significant transactions and projects. For example, in 2013, he was responsible for the closing of the Tafila project, the first utility-scale renewable-energy project in Jordan and the wider region. He concedes that it was a particularly challenging project, both due to compliance with unfamiliar regulation and the adjustment to the cultural and religious context. The economic crisis had a major impact on the Vestas operations in the European market, and García Granda has been at the forefront, introducing new policies to better adjust with the company’s new focus on emerging markets. Prior to his current role at Vestas, García Granda was part of the in-house team of Iberdrola, which he joined shortly after its inception, while he has also worked as part of the audit team within Ernst & Young.
Managing 33 lawyers across a number of jurisdictions, Nieves García Lopez heads all legal support across SPAI (Spain, Portugal, Africa and Israel) operations of Accenture. She joined Accenture’s legal department in 1998, assuming her current role in 2006. One of her top priorities was to increase the number of in-house lawyers and to organise the legal support in line with the legal systems, languages and cultural similarities of the countries she supervises. ‘To this respect Spain provides support to North Africa, Portugal to Angola, Mozambique and other Portuguese speaking countries, and we cover sub-Saharan countries from South Africa’ she adds. García Lopez has taken wide-reaching initiatives to increase the understanding of compliance and risk assessment among the non-legal staff. ‘The recognition of Accenture as one of the world's most ethical organisations is a reward to our unconditional position as regards to compliance. Risk management has become one of the factors systematically included in our approach to the contracting process and it is recognised as such and acted upon by the engagement teams that conduct the negotiations. This facet of our approach has enabled the company to maintain consistency in our offerings to our clients, the risks that we can take and the ones we cannot, and to maintain the balance between risk and reward’. Sitting on the executive committee, García Lopez’s influence stretches far beyond the purely legal, to strategic decision making. Giving particular importance to diversity and equality, she proudly says that 50% of her legal team are women.
With 25 years of in-house experience, the highly-skilled José Manuel García-Alfonso Martitegui is the general counsel and secretary of the board of Air Miles España. He started his career as a lawyer at BBVA Bank, where he went on to hold a number of senior legal roles and executive responsibilities. In 1996, when BBVA invested in Air Miles España, jointly with Air Miles UK, Repsol, Iberia, Telefónica and Eroski, García-Alfonso Martitegui was selected to join the legal and human resources department. In 2002 he was appointed director, member of the steering committee and legal advisor of the board of directors. Then, in 2013, he was appointed as secretary of the board and general counsel, while he also assumed the general counsel position in the travel and insurance businesses through two different subsidiaries. With wide-ranging responsibilities, García-Alfonso Martitegui has contributed greatly to the transformation of Air Miles España from a start-up company to a consolidated business. During his time at the helm of the company, García-Alfonso Martitegui has led a number of strategic deals, and he particularly prides himself on his involvement in the process of selling and acquiring of shares of the company with external investors.
At the age of 27 Rita Gaspar Simões became the first woman to hold the position of head of legal and compliance at Banco Invest. She recalls the first days at Banco Invest and how challenging it was: ‘I became part of an organisation reigned by men in 86% of its departments, many of whom have built Banco Invest brick by brick since its incorporation. I really had to struggle to gain their trust and respect in order to be able to start giving voice to the legal and compliance department’. Gaspar Simões assumed her role at Banco Invest in 2011, around the same time that the Portuguese government had just resigned and the intervention of the Troika in the country had a major impact on the banking sector, affecting all activities of Banco Invest. Gaspar Simões took a guiding role in the introduction of important reforms, in order to comply with the new environment. ‘I had to develop the applicable procedures of the legal and compliance department, and also to propose amendments to some of Banco Invest's internal rules and policies’ she says. During the last four years the use of external legal support decreased considerably, even for big cases, which demonstrates the trust that the business had in her skills and expertise. Winning the trust of the business and making the legal department a division that mattered have been the biggest achievements of her in-house career. As of October 2015, Gaspar Simões is the general manager of Barraferros.
Throughout his 16-year tenure at the helm of MAXAM’s legal department, Carlos Manuel Gastañaduy Tilve has always strived to change the mentality of some business people about the importance of the legal function, which was seen as an obstacle rather than a supportive function, while at the same time encouraging in-house lawyers to adopt a business-oriented approach. When Gastañaduy Tilve joined in 1999, MAXAM was a local company with three foreign subsidiaries. Nowadays, it is a large multinational group, specialising in the development, manufacture and sale of civil explosives, products and services for the defence industry, key raw materials for the nitro chemical industry and solutions in the field of safety and environment, with more than 140 companies in 45 countries. Gastañaduy Tilve had a prominent role throughout the internationalisation phase, leading the company through the complexity of the deals. He admits that working on a multi-jurisdictional level is a big challenge, but the support of his committed team of 10 people has been central to the legal department’s success. In 2014 he was appointed secretary to the board of directors, which has given him the unique opportunity to interact and influence at the highest level and be part of the decision making process.
With an impressive career spanning senior in-house positions and private practice, David Giner leads a cross-functional 15-strong team that provides support to a €6bn telecoms business, operating in over 40 countries and with service reach in over 170 countries. Prior to his role in Telefónica, Giner was an associate and partner at the top Spanish law firms Bufete Armero and Uría & Menéndez. He joined Telefónica in 2001 as head of alliances and acquisitions, where he headed the acquisitions of the operations in Mexico and the Czech Republic and since then has been through a number of senior roles within the organisation. At the moment he heads the legal team that advises Telefónica Business Solutions, which coordinates all Telefónica’s business-to-business activities at a global level. Giner concedes the step up to head of legal was one of the biggest challenges of his career. ‘Coming from external counsel practice, I really had no skills in team management, as dynamics in an in-house team are quite different from those in a law firm. Back in 2006, when I was appointed as head of commercial law for Telefónica Group, I inherited a group of people sitting around the same area, but without being a formal team they had no clear idea of how to drive together in the right direction’ he says. ‘I concentrated on people’s management and took internal and external training, including certifying myself as an executive coach. I’m proud to say that following that, our unit’s internal satisfaction index started to grow dramatically, and in 2009 and 2010 our indexes were the highest in Telefónica’s legal organisation and corporate areas’. Always looking to optimise processes, Giner introduced a number of innovative policies that revolutionised the legal departments he headed. He put in place a new contract management process and system, making Telefónica one of the few top Spanish companies that do not use a mass market solution, but a proprietary system that was built in-house. Aside from the Telefónica Group operations, Giner is secretary to the board of directors of Equilibria Investments SIL S.A., a registered hedge fund.
A respected and high profile lawyer, Fernando Gómez y Gómez Calcerrada has been at the helm of the legal function of ThyssenKrupp Spain since 1999. He now oversees the multinational conglomerate’s operations in Southern Europe, Africa and Middle East, alongside his team of six. During his time in the company he has led several M&A projects in various countries, including Brazil, Spain, Italy and Turkey. He admits that his initial transition to the in-house role was rather challenging at first, as he had to advise from a mainly practical perspective, not only from a legal point of view, while getting involved in the business and strategic aspects of the company.
Following five years of private practice in the market-leading firm Garrigues, Sara Gonçalves joined the Portuguese branch of Endesa, the second largest electricity supplier in Portugal, to lead the creation of an in-house legal department. ‘After three months of negotiation, I accepted the challenge and started working at Endesa on July 18th, 2011. It was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t reject’ she says. She admits that the transition from law firm to an in-house role without prior legal structures was very challenging. ‘I was used to working in a very structured way at Garrigues, with computers, databases, support systems and partners to whom I could turn for advice. When I started it was just me and my computer, and while it has been a challenge, there is nothing like creating something out of nothing. I have created it from scratch’. Prior to her arrival in Endesa, all legal work was outsourced. She started by gathering all the relevant documentation that was scattered among Endesa’s external advisors and organised it, creating file room procedures and databases. Since then, Gonçalves has supported some of Endesa’s most important deals. She led the legal work for the signing of the concession agreement with the Portuguese State for the development of Girabolhos’ dam in the north of Portugal and her contribution for the adaptation of the existing supply agreements to the Portuguese commercial and legislative reality was paramount. Also secretary of the board, Gonçalves participates in all the board meetings and the decision making process.
Indra is Spain’s leading consulting and technology multinational and one of the most prominent in Europe and Latin America. Leading the legal affairs of Indra’s Portuguese branch, Luís Graça Rodrigues has established a strong in-house legal department that has supported the company’s international expansion. A highly skilled lawyer with experience in a variety of practice areas, Graça Rodrigues had worked as an external counsel for Portuguese law firms prior to his role in Indra. In 2007 he decided to start his own practice, whilst also working as legal counsel for public procurement at the National Authority for Road and Safety, until 2011 when he decided to join Indra. As Indra’s inaugural in-house counsel in Portugal, Graça Rodrigues implemented all the company legal policies and procedures and provided training to the commercial teams that have now developed a good understanding of legal work. He admits that creating a legal department from scratch was a big challenge, which makes it the highlight of his career to date. ‘This allowed me to bring together all the experience and know-how previously acquired as a lawyer in private practice and at law firms, as well as my experience as a legal counsel for public procurement at the National Authority for Road Safety (ANSR). I then adapted this to the company's specific needs. Following on from that, this shaped me as the lawyer I am today’ he says proudly. In his current role he has been highly involved in the expansion of Indra in the Portuguese-speaking African countries. ‘In order to deal with Indra’s expansion I attended some specialised courses on Angolan law, I subscribed to legal databases for Angola and Mozambique and I invested a considerable part of my time studying the legal regime of Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique’ says Graça Rodrigues. This additional work has had demonstrable benefits both internally and externally, as he was recently invited to speak at three conferences in Mozambique.
Ariadna Grañena leads the Iberian legal and tax department of Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a multinational consumer goods company. She joined the company in 2007 as tax manager, following a successful private practice career in two law firms, where she specialised in tax law. One year later, she became responsible for both the tax and legal, after the two areas were merged into one department. During her time in this role, Grañena has instilled a new culture of operation with the legal department, which placed the legal decisions and consultation at the heart of the business. She believes that the biggest recognition for the change she implemented was her appointment at the company’s executive committee. ‘It’s my biggest personal achievement, not only because of the position, but because it is a recognition of the daily work I do every day’, she comments proudly.
Flor Grinberg started working at Google in April 2010 as the first commercial legal counsel for Spain and Portugal. Currently, as senior legal counsel, she supports a wide range of business areas in Spain and Portugal, advising senior management, business clients and US legal teams on various aspects of Spanish and Portuguese law and negotiating commercial agreements covering a broad scope of Google’s products. During her five year in-house career at Google, Grinberg has navigated some major deals. Examples include the deal with Real Madrid for the creation of a YouTube channel and the launch of the Google Cultural Institute in Spain, as well as the deal with Reina Sofia Museum and the Spanish Ministry of Culture that allowed their pieces of art to be included in this new service. ‘However, there was one particular deal that I negotiated and closed which I believe, because of its complexity, was my biggest achievement: the BBVA deal’, she comments. In 2012 Google persuaded the Spanish banking giant BBVA to switch its software to Google’s range of enterprise software. ‘BBVA is a global financial services group founded in Spain. They have over 110,000 employees in more than 30 countries across the world. Back in 2011 we signed a global deal to migrate their business to Google for Work, Google’s cloud computing service. This deal was highly strategic and key to close not only because it was the biggest Google for Work deal that was ever signed, but also because it was a customer from the banking industry, a sector that is highly regulated and with high security standards. The BBVA deal set a milestone for our cloud computing services’. Commenting on the biggest challenges she has faced throughout her in-house career at Google, Grinberg highlights the gaps in the regulation for innovative technological products. ‘20th century laws don't always solve 21st century problems, and as senior legal counsel at Google I am required to take innovative approaches for tackling some of the toughest legal challenges of the information age. On a daily basis we need to tackle unanswered legal questions and create new precedents. The launch of Google products and services in Spain and Portugal - Google Books, Google Play, Google+ or Google Cultural Institute to name a few - raised challenging questions that demanded creative and practical answers. Those challenging questions are raised with each single launch of our products and services’.
Heading all legal operations of Turkish Airlines and managing more than 30 employees, Ali Uysal has led some significant changes in the legal department during his two years in the chief legal counsel position. He introduced a law office management system that facilitated the organisation of litigation; he initiated a specialisation process that divided lawyers into sub-departments in accordance to their past practice and expertise; and he set up a monitoring and reporting structure for the legal teams of the 220 local branches of Turkish Airlines. Uysal takes particular pride in his participation in two major agreements that transformed the airline. In 2011, following the ratification of the Cape Town Convention by Turkey, he worked very closely with the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority to explain the legal status in the country regarding the implementation of the agreement. In March 2015 Uysal took part in Turkish Airline’s first capital market issuance that has introduced the airline to a wider investor base and has created a benchmark for enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETC) transactions by airlines in emerging markets.
‘The biggest achievement of my career is to feel, on a day-to-day basis that my colleagues from other areas of the bank, as well as board members ask for my opinion and take it seriously into account’. During his 15 years at Haitong Bank, Filipe Hasse Ferreira has become an indispensable part of the company. A business-minded professional with significant experience in banking law ‘he shows an openness and understanding of the commercial aspects of transactions that not many in-house counsels demonstrate’ according to one source. He started his career in a small-sized law firm, which gave him the opportunity to have a direct contact with courts and deeply understand the practicalities of the application of law. ‘This is a fundamental guideline in my actual functions regarding negotiating, structuring of transactions, drafting of contracts and guaranteed analyses’, he comments.
‘I have worked with Javier as a peer and client for over 15 years, and I can tell that his intelligence, holistic approach to complex legal issues, and versatility to act in the most varied fields from Latin America to Asia, in complex arbitrations to multi-jurisdictional regulated mergers, negotiating nationalisations with governments and take-overs with Fortune 500 companies, set him apart in the Iberian and international legal community’, one source states. Javier Illescas has been leading the global business legal department of Banco Santander for the past three years and he has significantly increased the level of interaction between the legal department and the different subsidiaries. ‘We don’t reach out to them only for reporting of matters, but also for sharing of best practices and global issues. This approach has added a lot of value to the legal area and to the group overall’ he comments. Highly experienced in private practice, Illescas had spent more than a decade at Uría Menéndez before joining Banco Santander.
Infarco is the parent company of a pharmaceutical group composed of twelve subsidiaries, including Cinfa, Spain's leading pharmaceutical company in sales by volume through retail pharmacies. Carlos Iribarren has been leading the legal function of Infraco-Cinfa since 2014. A lawyer with wide experience in private practice, Iribarren started his career in 1991, working at the London offices of Brebner & Co. He later joined Baker & McKenzie in Madrid, where he worked for three years, before joining the law firm Iribarren-Uriz Abogados as a partner in 1995. Since 1999, Iribarren lectures in International Commercial Law at the University of Santiago de Compostela and in the Public University of Navarre, as well as different Chambers of Commerce and Business Schools.
‘Since I was a teenager, I've always been concerned about environmental issues, so in 2005, I decided it was time to harmonise my calling for the defence of the planet with my professional activity, and so I entered Generg’. Generg is a group of companies operating in the field of natural energy (solar, wind and hydropower), and since joining the company in 2005, Ricardo Jesus has raised awareness of the regulatory and economic risks of activity centred in Portugal. A respected voice within the business, his insight led to increased discussions about mitigation measures and eventually led to the internationalisation of the company in 2014. During his time with the company Jesus has participated in a number of large-scale transactions, most important of which is the closing of a €600m project finance contract with international banks and EIB in 2008, at the height of the subprime crisis, which allowed the company to develop its portfolio in the following years.
A leading expert in the fields of media and audio-visual law, Carlos López Martín de Blas heads all legal activities of Secuoya Grupo. He started his career as a litigation lawyer but decided to change his career-path in 2002, after he was offered a scholarship by Telefónica. After a four year stint in another telecoms group, he moved to Secuoya, a group with a variety of activities and a special focus on content production for TV channels, in 2010. When he joined the company there was no legal department and his first responsibility was to improve the legal process. ‘I had to start all the legal organisation in the whole group. There was no culture of legal affairs in the company’ he says. After creating his team López Martín de Blas played a significant role in the company’s regional and international growth. During his time at Secuoya the company has had an exponential increase in its income from €15m to €130m, but rapid growth necessitates consistent legal advice and López Martín de Blas has been particularly praised for his leading role throughout the internationalisation of the company in 2012. Only three years later, the company has subsidiaries in the US, Chile, Colombia and offices in Peru.
Grupo San José’s director of international legal affairs, Ángela López Molina has had an exciting career path. Shortly after her studies in law and business administration she started working in Garrigues’ corporate team. Three years later she decided to start a Chinese-language summer class, which soon led her to advise the Spanish foreign affairs ministry on Chinese investments, while still working for Garrigues. She subsequently moved to China and worked in a British and a French law firm in Shanghai, advising Spanish, Italian and French companies operating there. In 2011 she returned to Spain and joined the international legal department of Grupo San José, a dynamic and diversified corporate group mainly operating in the fields of construction, energy, concessions and engineering services. ‘Until that moment I had always worked in law firms dealing with counsels who were my clients and then I moved in-house, in a construction company where I was mainly working with engineers, non-legal people, and it was quite challenging as I had to explain all legal technicalities’. Before her arrival at the group, there was no international legal department; it was created by López Molina and from that moment she has taken the lead in the group’s legal issues worldwide. As a young woman, López Molina admits that working in a male-dominated industry has been one of the biggest challenges she has had to face when dealing with countries where gender equality is not as prevalent. Four years after the assumption of her role, she has gained recognition and she is now seen as an equal counterpart in all jurisdictions where she works, which she considers a major achievement. Amid the Spanish economic crisis, construction is one of the sectors that has been most affected. When López Molina joined Grupo San José, the national business accounted for 80% of the total operations, but now it has reversed. ‘Currently the proportion is 45% for national business and 55% for international, which is expected to rise up to 70% in the near future’. The company’s global expansion has increased the workload for the international legal department and López Molina’s international experience has been central to its success.
Since assuming his role as general counsel of L’Oréal España, Javier López Zafra has undertaken wide-reaching initiatives to align the legal function with the operational expectations of the business. To that end, he created a broad network of communication with the Paris headquarters and encouraged a new mind-set regarding operational teams. During his tenure, the legal department has become more proactive and business-minded. Part of the management committee since 2004, López Zafra has been able to influence the strategic direction of the company by contributing creative solutions in challenging decisions and negotiations.
At the helm of the Ascendi’s Portuguese legal team for the last 12 years, Paulo Marinho takes credit for the creation of the company’s in-house legal department. ‘I’ve created it from scratch’ he says. ‘I have a very good team and we always try to improve everything, procedures, and logistics. Our legal department has been created according to my vision. I was always driven by the aim to create answers for the business, meaning that the legal cannot be in a tower away from the reality of the market and the business’. Ascendi Group is a holding company focusing on three core business areas: asset management, operation and maintenance and toll collection. In 2010 Marinho was tasked with creating a legal framework for the collection of tolls in conjunction with the Portuguese state, IT professionals and legal staff. ‘Our contribution was very important for the creation of that framework. Our biggest vision is to keep our clients happy and according to the internal evaluation system we do, as the legal department has always received the best reviews’ Marinho says proudly.
A seasoned in-house lawyer, Patrícia Marques Ferreira stands apart from her peers in her capacity to get results, with incredible speed and quality. She admits that her background in private practice has assisted her in that: ‘Coming from a law firm background, I have acquired a very result-oriented mentality. I think that sometimes in-house lawyers take more time to finish a file they have, but my approach is very result focused, without of course neglecting the necessary study of the case’. Marques Ferreira joined Portugália Airlines in 2004 as an in-house counsel and three years later she was promoted head of the legal department. Prior to that she had worked at the Portuguese market-leading law firm PLMJ. Marques Ferreira is also secretary of the company.
The highly praised Julián Martínez-Simancas Sánchez, Iberdrola’s general counsel and secretary to the board, has impressed peers and clients alike with his involvement in the transformation process of the company and the creation of the group’s corporate structure. His initiative to bring the most advanced practices into Iberdrola, a Spanish public multinational and governance electric utility company, gave the company broad recognition when it was awarded by a prestigious publication as the European utility with best corporate governance practices. Sources point to Martínez-Simancas Sánchez’s ability to deal with the changing regulatory energy frameworks in different markets, as well as his successful management during a decade of a great number of M&A transactions involving significant international players. He has had an impressive career in the public and private sector, including the financial and industrial sectors. He started his career in 1976, when he joined the government legal service and acted in this capacity until 1991, serving in different courts across Spain. During his career in the financial sector he held legal and executive roles at numerous companies, with the highlight being his appointment as executive vice president and member of the management committee of Banco Santander Central Hispano (now Banco Santander). Martínez-Simancas Sánchez has been a professor of commercial law at the Comillas Pontifical University and of graduate programs at Instituto de Empresa. He is the author and editor of books and articles on legal and financial matters, and the editor of collective works focusing on innovation in law and corporate governance.
As group general counsel, Carlos Martins Ferreira played a pivotal role in Jerónimo Martins’ global corporate structure reorganisation that took place in 2011. During the same year, as a member of the management committee that advises the company CEO, he contributed to the studies and planning that led to the decision of investing in Colombia, where the company now has around 150 stores. Martins Ferreira first joined Jerónimo Martins Distribution as director of legal affairs in 2000, following a successful private practice career in Portuguese law firms José Alves Pereira e Associados and Barrocas, Alves Pereira, Sarmento, Lopes Rocha e Associados. In 2002 he embraced a new challenge and after a demanding training course for magistrates at the Portuguese Centre for Judicial Studies, he became a judge and served at the courts of Lisbon, Cascais, Oeiras and Sintra until 2010. He assumed his current role as group general counsel in January 2011 and he also holds the position of deputy general secretary.
Prisa is the world’s leading Spanish and Portuguese language business group in the fields of education, information and entertainment, and with presence in 22 countries it reaches more than 60 million users through its global brands El País, 40 Principales and Santillana. A leading expert in the telecommunications industry, Natalia Martos Díaz first joined the company in 2004 as a legal counsel in its digital subsidiary Prisacom, following her post-graduate studies in telecommunication law. Three years later she was promoted to attorney for the general counsel of the holding. In 2009 she moved to the Spanish social network Tuenti, assuming the role of the general counsel and chief privacy officer. During that time she was responsible, in collaboration with the European Commission, for the planning and implementation of the Safer Social Networks Principles that have been implemented across 25 European social networks. She also worked alongside the Spanish Data Protection Agency for the implementation of the Verification on Age protocol and she was awarded with the Civil Merit Cross from the Interior Ministry for her contribution to the protections of citizens on the Internet. In 2010 Martos Díaz returned to Prisa Group and since then she has held various posts within the organisation. Currently she holds the positions of chief privacy officer at Prisa Group, chief legal director of Prisa Brand Solutions, and chief legal officer of Prisa Noticias, a press holding containing more than 28 companies in Spain and Latin America. An expert in the digital transformation, Martos Díaz headed all the procedures for the transition of the analogical company to a digital media holding and she regularly leads roundtables and speeches focusing on this area.
An increasingly respected voice in the Portuguese in-house market, Tiago Matias is a highly skilled lawyer, with vast experience in private practice and in-house roles. He started his career with Ernst & Young’s consultancy services in 2002 and two years later he joined KPMG’s financial services as a senior consultant. In 2005 he joined Banif Investment Bank. During his time there, Matias established a new in-house legal department and a completely new legal team. ‘The set-up of the legal function was a success; that was extremely rewarding, both from a professional and personal view’ he comments. In 2011 he was nominated for the ILO/ACC and Financial Times Innovative Lawyers awards, following his involvement in the set-up of the largest Portuguese investment fund created to date, which represented an innovative approach to the resolution of a mid-sized Portuguese bank. In 2014 Matias joined PLMJ, the largest law firm in Portugal and one year later he was invited to take part in the set-up of Banco CTT. ‘I felt this was a lifetime opportunity, which enabled me to apply all my knowledge of the financial sector and to challenge it by having the chance to create something from scratch. This is an amazing challenge, not only considering the environment (the Portuguese financial markets being under pressure) but also the impact that Banco CTT will have in the Portuguese market, especially given the fact that it belongs to CTT - Correios de Portugal, S.A. - the Portuguese postal offices and one the most trusted brands in Portugal’.
A highly respected Spanish lawyer, Maria Luz Medrano Aranguren is the vice general counsel and chief legal officer of Telefónica, the number one Spanish multinational by market capitalisation and one of the largest private telecommunications companies in the world. She leads a team of 21 lawyers and coordinates a further 32 in global operations. She is also in charge of the Hispanic-America Unit and operations in Brazil, as well as digital and global resources. Medrano Aranguren started at Telefónica in 1995 as a legal advisor and since then has introduced important changes in the workings of the legal department. ‘Telefónica is a very big group and all processes, such as flow of information or approval of engagement of law firms, are very complex. My main target was to simplify them and improve the level of information flow’. Medrano Aranguren played an important role in the handling of the legal work for one of Telefónica’s most important deals, the joint venture with Portugal Telecom for the group’s mobile assets in Brazil. ‘The negotiations for this joint venture were very complex, but at the end we had a very successful outcome’. The market changes in the telecommunications industry, with the appearance of new competitors and new digital companies, have been a major challenge for the company during the last few years. The legal team has been particularly proactive in supporting the technical team during the development of new competitive products and applications that are not exposed to legal risks and that has been widely recognised by the business.
When she became head of legal and compliance at the Portuguese branch of Volkswagen Bank in 2012, Patrícia Mendes’ first and defining task was the creation of the in-house legal and compliance department in accordance with the headquarters’ guidelines. This was a considerable task as she had to prepare and coordinate the legal procedures to establish the local branch of a company duly incorporated under the laws of Germany and ensure that the business was compliant with all legal regulations in a highly regulated environment. ‘Obtaining the commercial registry and the banking license in Portugal were major milestones while, simultaneously, preparing the launch of a financing business (wholesale, retail business, including consumer credit, and the insurance business) within 16 months of joining the company’ she says. Also part of the management team, Mendes has been actively involved in the implementation of the Volkswagen Financial Services strategy in Portugal. In 2014, she assumed the role of the strategy officer for the Portuguese market, with the mission to coordinate the top down implementation of the headquarters’ business strategy. Since January 2015 Mendes has also been in charge of the legal and compliance department of MAN Financial Services Portugal, a commercial company owned by Volkswagen Group, offering renting of trucks, buses and passenger cars. Before joining Volkswagen, Mendes had worked for ALD Automotive Portugal and SCH Leasing, a Santander company.
Heading all legal activities of power and nuclear divisions, proprietary and HTD at Tecnicas Reunidas, one of the 15 largest engineering companies in the world, Leandro Meneses has led a number of strategic projects. He was in charge of constituting a company in Saudi Arabia, without a local partner, making Tecnicas Reunidas the first European company to have achieved such a feat. Now 60% of total revenue comes from Saudi Arabia. Meneses played an integral role in the closing of an EPCP contract with PetroPeru; this represented the largest refining turnkey project worldwide awarded to a single contractor and Meneses is now controlling the execution. Before joining Tecnicas Reunidas, he had worked at Pozo Gowland & Koch (now Pozo Gowland Abogados) and Rosso Alba, Francia & Ruiz Moreno in Buenos Aires, and he has taught at La Plata University.
Ana Isabel Montero prides herself on establishing a successful, fully integrated in-house legal department for the Iberian branch of JTI. She admits that setting up a legal department in an established company, changing the mentality of the business towards legal and dealing with regulations in five different jurisdictions have been the biggest challenges she has faced during her in-house career. Montero played an important role in the acquisition of Gryson, a leading European manufacturer of rolling tobacco; it was a deal valued at several million Euros that was strategically important for JTI. Montero has been praised for her approach on risk management, which is fully aligned with the business strategy and goals considering the nature of the tobacco sector; operating in a rapidly changing and highly regulated industry, JTI is particularly susceptible to legal changes. In 2013 the universal smoking ban came into force in Spain, and Montero has been at the forefront of the negotiations with national authorities to overcome the challenges posed by the regulatory changes.
‘A great leader, a first-class lawyer and a great person’ Nuno Moraes Bastos had five principles that allowed him to have this impressive career in such a short time: ‘obtain law-firm mind-set; avoid excessive specialisation; have a progressive development from a mid-sized law firm to an international firm; think global but act local; and be an all-rounder within the financial sector’ he says. Following this plan, he started his career at the Portuguese firm Coelho Ribeiro e Associados where he obtained experience in arbitration, before moving to the dispute resolution department of Simmons and Simmons. Following a secondment at Banif, the Portuguese international financial services group, at the age of 29 Moraes Bastos was asked to head the legal department of Banco Invest. Six years later, in 2011, he joined Zurich as general counsel and chief compliance officer, acting for all Zurich Insurance Group entities operating in Portugal, providing legal assistance and acting as company secretary and member of the shareholders’ meeting of local entities. ‘From 2011 onwards I have been leading the legal and compliance departments of Zurich Insurance in Portugal. This is a senior management role with multi-jurisdictional challenges and implies the full life cycle of policy management and implementation, such as ad-hoc and regular risk assessments’. Throughout his in-house career he has been instrumental in many strategic deals, his work at Banco Invest for the 2008 ABSP conduit, co-arranged by ABN-AMRO and Millenium BCP, worth €250m, which is considered the biggest securitisation programme in the history of the company. Also part of the management team at Zurich, Moraes Bastos concedes that moving into the insurance sector has been the biggest challenge he has taken in his career: ‘the insurance market has been built on long standing in-house careers, hence it is usual to see careers based in just one company, often with over 25 years in the same company, university degrees taken whilst working for the company and virtually only facelifts (no changes) to products or organisations. I joined the insurance sector in a very active and compliance-committed group, with 40% less FTE than our direct competitors, still being able to deliver by international standards on a very local basis. Doing that in a highly regulated area, with knowledgeable and active regulators, interacting with three different jurisdictions and bringing new areas and improvements to the company is a major challenge’.
A leading expert in the banking sector, Alicia Muñoz Lombardía has served the legal department of Santander Group for 20 years, having joined in 1995 to lead the legal research area. Later she joined the global banking and markets legal department and in 2008 she was appointed head of the real estate legal department, in addition to her previous responsibility as head of legal in IT. Currently, she leads the legal functions of communication, marketing and research, HR, accounting, investors and supervisory relations, with a particular emphasis on the European Central Bank and compliance, while she also holds the role of the secretary of the board of the Santander Group companies. During her time at Santander she has contributed some important changes in the workings of the group legal departments. Examples include the development of the group’s sustainability policies and the creation of all model templates and documents used with providers and suppliers. Muñoz Lombardía played a significant role in the preparation of the legal work for the creation of Altamira, the real estate company of Banco Santander. ‘It was a very challenging time for us’ she comments. ‘When I took over as secretary of the board of all the group companies in 2008, amid the financial crisis, the bank had many real estate assets to manage. We tried to organise these assets from a legal point of view; we negotiated with international funds and I was involved in all stages’.
With significant experience of senior positions in major public companies, Antonio Murillo Gayo is a leading regulatory expert and a respected voice in his industry. He started his in-house career as legal adviser and deputy general counsel for the Madrid Stock Exchange 16 years ago. He has served as deputy legal counsel at Vallehermoso (currently Sacyr-Vallehermoso) and as head of legal at Metrovacesa. Murillo Gayo has been at the helm of the business and corporate area of Bankinter, an IBEX 35 listed company, since 2010, currently leading a team of eight. Owing to his long list of experiences, Murillo Gayo has a track record of successfully handled cases without post-litigation. Recently, he played an integral role in the acquisition of the Portuguese branch of Barclays and he has been actively involved in all the strategic changes of Bankinter during the last five years.
As general counsel, Antonio Neto Alves has been pivotal in Portucel’s growth. He started his career in a small law firm in Portugal, where he specialised in M&A after three years of practice. Following that, he worked at the largest law firm in Portugal, before moving to Jerónimo Martins, the largest retail company and leader in food distribution in Portugal. When he joined Jerónimo Martins, the company was facing some financial challenges. ‘I spent my first three or four years cleaning the house. We had to sell some companies in Brazil, Poland and Portugal and I was assisting the board and M&A team’. During his time in this role the legal team grew from a four-person- team to a 17-strong team excelling in all areas of practice. After 11 years at Jerónimo Martins he received an offer to head the legal department of Portucel, a leading force in the international pulp and paper market, one of Portugal's strongest brands on the world stage with a turnover of €1.8bn, which is also a PSI-20 constituent. Currently the general counsel and company secretary, he handles the corporate relations with regulators and is in charge of all governance issues. Neto Alves organised the legal structure of the 60 group companies, which previously didn’t have a unified approach. He admits that was one the biggest challenges of his in-house career: ‘Portucel is the result of a merger of different companies and each of them had a different way of doing legal work. I had to develop a common mentality that the whole group would share’.
Inés Núñez de la Parte’s outstanding legal and management skills led her to be included in the top 10 female legal executives in a list published by Mujeres y Cia in 2014. The prestigious Top 100 Female Leaders list (Las Top 100 Mujeres Líderes) which includes names such as Queen Letizia Ortiz and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, identifies women that have had a substantial impact on the Spanish business world and wider economy. Núñez de la Parte gained recognition for creation of the in-house legal department of Ingeteam, an engineering company focused on energy, industry, marine and rail traction, after joining as the first in-house lawyer in 2005. She gave particular importance to diversity, employing an equal number of men and women, and people with international experience. Now, less than a decade later, the legal department ranks first in the internal feedback survey, being considered the most valuable department of the company. Núñez de la Parte was promoted to general counsel in 2006 and in 2013 she became secretary of the compliance committee and member of the executive committee, ‘the only female among many men, mainly engineers’, Núñez de la Parte comments. She has played a prominent role in major transactions, including Ingeteam’s $20m investment in a production Plant in Milwaukee. ‘It took a lot of study, since I’m not specialised in the US jurisdiction, but I led the case and negotiated the contracts, with the support of external counsel’ she says. ‘My biggest achievement professionally is that I have defended the company in situations with lots of money involved in lawsuits and arbitration; sometimes reaching an outside court agreement and in other cases bringing the litigation to success. After a decade working with them they take my opinion very seriously, now I’m more like a business partner’.
Heading the international expansion of Allfunds Bank from a legal perspective, Marta Oñoro Carrascal is a respected voice in a niche industry. Allfunds Bank is Europe’s biggest institutional fund platform, giving more than 470 fund managers (mainly of UCITS) access to more than 480 institutional clients in 33 countries. When she first joined Allfunds Bank in 2007, the company had €40bn of assets and presence in only three countries. Today the company has more than €200bn and it is present in eight countries. ‘I can proudly say that Allfunds is a history of success, offering a unique model within the fund industry with a young and enthusiastic team’ she comments. Marta led the work for the opening of Allfunds’ offices in Chile, Luxembourg, UAE, Switzerland and Colombia and she is currently supervising the procedures for the opening of the new offices in Brazil and Singapore. ‘I have been very much involved in the definition of the legal framework of all the new services and how these are to be rendered in the 33 different countries where we have clients, in the international expansion of the company and in building a legal team of 12 people in four different offices’. She concedes that adapting the company’s operational model and services to the local needs and regulations can be very challenging, but so far she has succeeded in overcoming those challenges.
Siemens’ general counsel and secretary of the board, Fernando Ortega López de Santa María takes pride in the development of a legal department that is fully involved and connected with the business. During his time in this role he has built a 14 person legal team that is at the forefront of business decision making. ‘I don’t differentiate between business and legal; I think we are all part of business, even though each department plays a different role. The whole organisation must be focused on business, clients, strategy and goals. The role of the lawyers is critical as they take care of the legal aspects ensuring the legality of transactions or deals’. In accordance to this approach Ortega López de Santa María implemented the ‘business partner’ concept. ‘The role of trusted business partners means that each team member shares entrepreneurial responsibility and, at the same time, assumes accountability for their decisions and actions’. The financial crisis in Spain had a big impact on Siemens, as it led many clients to internationalisation. ‘Our legal department has had to adapt to this situation, providing legal support to businesses and projects in several countries and jurisdictions, and in many cases, according to international standards rules (e.g. FIDIC). The high quality legal background of our team has been the key to our ability to provide the required legal support’. Ortega López de Santa María is also associate teacher at Instituto de Empresa and he is regularly invited to speak at conferences and seminars.
‘An expert in corporate governance and securities law, as well as compliance and EU competition law’, Concha Ortuño Sierra is a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience. For the past 10 years she has been the general counsel of several listed companies, all leaders in their respective markets. She joined Cementos Portland, one of the leading cement manufacturers in the Spanish market, in 2008 as director of international and corporate affairs and in 2014 she assumed her current role as corporate director of legal affairs, where she leads a team of nine people. In 2012 Ortuño Sierra participated in the refinancing of the company’s €1.5bn debt; she held an actively involved role in all stages of the negotiations and the transactions, with her contribution highly appreciated by the business.
With 25 years of experience as a lawyer, contract specialist and negotiator in the international energy sector, Marina Paradela is a leading expert in the industry. Before joining CEPSA in 2001, Paradela worked as legal counsel for the global energy company Repsol in the Buenos Aires and Madrid offices. In 2014 she was appointed commercial manager, consolidating her legal experience into a growing responsibility in commercial aspects of the business. One of her defining tasks during her time in CEPSA was the creation of the legal department for the exploration and production unit. She organised and developed its structure based on the principle of internationalisation, in order to support the needs of the growing oil and gas business of the company worldwide. She currently leads a 15-strong legal team in Madrid and Bogota and she aspires to build an equally qualified team at her new post as commercial manager for new business. Her contribution to the consolidation of CEPSA both in traditional and new markets has been paramount. Paradela led the legal team in the acquisition of the Caracara field in 2008-2009, which made CEPSA one of the main oil and gas producers in Colombia. ‘In 2011, I personally conducted the negotiations, leading a multidisciplinary team, for the acquisition of shares in the OCENSA pipeline and its subsequent transformation from cost centre to profit centre structure, a deal that definitely consolidated the position of CEPSA as a key player in Colombia’ she adds. Speaking about her recent shift to a more commercial and business oriented-position she admits that it is a personal and professional challenge. ‘My ambition is to develop a new path that integrates my expertise in legal and contracts with an expansion into aspects of economic evaluation, finance, fiscal systems for the oil industry and business development’ she concludes.
Heading all legal activities of Secil, Portugal’s leading cement producer, Filipe Pereira Coelho assumed his role in 2005 and since then has revolutionised the legal department. ‘My first step was to hire business-oriented lawyers who could potentially become business partners. I strove to build the link between our outsource firms and our business people (managers, engineers), and to accommodate business concerns and adapt it to the legal. Traditionally lawyers don’t allow you to do things, instead they raise obstacles. We wanted to be business oriented and understand the concerns of the people leading the business and help them, rather than limit them. All in all, I would say I managed to transform the mentality of the legal department, from a mere legal technical advisory role to being an integral part of the business’. The financial crisis and the Troika rescue program posed many challenges to Secil and it forced the company to redesign their strategy. ‘Our market reduced by a third, but we have to move on. That pushed us to explore new markets; we started to export and for the moment we are able to keep the plants open’ he adds. Currently the company has subsidiaries in Lebanon, Tunisia, Cape Verde, France, Spain and Brazil, and Pereira Coelho coordinates all international legal operations. Also company secretary, he sits on the board of directors and executive committee, which has given him a more influential position in the business legal strategy. Pereira Coelho also teaches at the Lisbon Catholic University of Law School.
VidaCaixa is a leading insurance company in Spain, and a subsidiary of CaixaBank, one of the largest banks operating in the Spanish market. Pablo Pernía Martin joined CaixaBank in 2012 and in 2015 he assumed his current role as head of the legal and compliance department of its insurance subsidiary, while he also holds the position of the secretary to the steering committee of the company. ‘It is just a few weeks for me in my new position. We are currently analysing the activities that can be externalised and the way the teams within the legal department are organised in order to understand how we can work as efficiently as possible. Everyday motivation to the teams and bringing positivity is one of my personal contributions to the department’ he says. During his time within CaixaBank he handled major transactions and he impressed with his nimble and rigorous approach to legal matters. ‘The greatest challenge I have faced in my career to date was the role I played in helping the legal department of CaixaBank to successfully complete the mergers with three banks in the recent years. It was a great challenge because those banks merged with CaixaBank had hundreds of subsidiaries’ says Pernía Martin. ‘While we certainly did have a tough time, my team and I managed to face it and received compliments from the different departments of the organisation involved in the processes’. Before moving in-house Pernía Martin had worked with Garrigues and Deloitte and taught competition law at Esade University.
Insurance specialist, Groupama Seguros’ chief legal and compliance officer prides himself on building the company’s in-house department from scratch. A veteran lawyer in Groupama, Luís Poças joined the company in 1995 and has held a variety of legal roles, giving legal advice to different divisions. By 2010, thanks to his diversified experience, he had obtained very good knowledge of the company’s business and was asked to create the centralised legal department. A major development for Groupama, the creation of the in-house department placed legal issues at the centre of the company’s agenda and brought coherence, significant cost-reduction and efficient legal solutions to business problems. ‘Now all major decisions of the management are taken based on an assessment of legal and compliance implications. Moreover, law is now viewed as a source of solutions to problems that are not strictly legal’, he comments. Poças acknowledges that the financial crisis has had a major impact on the business life insurance market in all developed countries, with asset-liability mismatch being the biggest challenge to face. ‘This problem is a priority in the company’s agenda and we have been studying and implementing very innovative legal solutions, which have been raising the attention and utmost interest of other Portuguese insurance companies and from our parent company in France’. A high profile figure, Poças holds other influential positions beside his role in Groupama. He is the author of three books on insurance and finance law and he has published a list of scientific legal articles. He is member of the board of directors of AIDA Portugal, the Portuguese chapter of the International Law Association and member of two technical committees of the Portuguese Insurers Association. Poças disseminates this vast knowledge of insurance law through lecturing for post-graduate courses and at conferences.
Ana Prado Blanco was appointed general counsel at Mercedes-Benz España in 2012, after having served as legal counsel in the same legal department for eight years. She admits that her appointment took place within a particularly complex environment, due to the economic recession in Spain, which came with increased need for legal support. In order to better respond to these challenges, Prado Blanco revolutionised the legal department by introducing internal optimisation processes. She established a standardised contractual package, available online to all group companies and she defined periodic reports on ongoing cases of the legal department. She has been particularly proactive in improving the interaction between the legal department and the rest of the company, which has improved the understanding of legal work. Prado Blanco’s approach to corporate law and the implementation of an M&A reorganisation plan has resulted in three successful mergers within the group companies in Spain during the last three years. Under her guidance the legal department has pioneered the signature of contracts with the use of telematics processes. The regulatory changes in Spain have posed several new challenges to the company and Prado Blanco has been at the forefront of the risk management plan. She has reviewed and adapted the processes, introduced specific training on corporate issues and is currently working on the implementation of a new anti-trust compliance program.
Described as ‘an outstanding, very business-oriented lawyer that can make the life of external counsel much easier, since his level of sophistication is equal to the best partners in the leading firms’, Javier Prados Mateos prides himself on having created Isolux Infrastructure’s in-house legal department from scratch. ‘I have incorporated the reporting lines, the internal regulations applying to the legal function, the chief compliance officer position as well as the structure of the legal department abroad in each of the jurisdictions where the company operates’ he comments. He played a crucial role in the closure of a €1.2bn divestment with a major Chinese company, the 10th largest in the world. Prados Mateos started his career in private practice and he has worked for some of the biggest international law firms, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, White & Case and Uría Menéndez.
Insolux Infrastructure was recently acquired by the Canadian investment pension fund PSP, and has now been renamed as Roadis in its new form.
In 2009, María Belén Quintas Fernández joined Tecnocom, a market-leading, multinational Spanish company operating in the information technology sector, with extensive experience in high-tech operations and a strong regional presence in Portugal and Latin America. Quintas Fernández’s transition from private practice lawyer, at PwC, to in-house lawyer at Tecnocom was challenging at first. ‘Coming from an international law firm I had to change my mindset and learn how to evaluate and remedy the company’s troubles, putting in balance legal aspects with other company aspects such as business relationships, accounting and tax policies’. During her time in her current role, Quintas Fernández has introduced innovative changes that have rendered the legal services valuable for the business. The measures she adopted to enhance the processes to evaluate, sign and keep contracts have had a significant impact on the way the company addresses and manages the commercial relationships with customers and suppliers, and consequently had a great impact on the improvement of risk management policies.
Heading an award winning legal team, Carrefour’s general counsel Juan Riego Vila has had an active role in some of the most significant deals of the group. He assumed his current role in 2000 and now holds the position of secretary of the board of directors and is member of the executive committee. When he first joined Carrefour Spain there was no in-house legal function and Riego Vila’s defining task was the organisation of the legal department. Currently he leads a strong legal team and the receipt of an international award has been the best recognition for their outstanding work up until now. His expert legal work has also been needed in the past, having participated in the Carrefour- Promodes merger in 2000, a deal worth €16.5bn. Riego Vila also took a guiding role in the legal work for the interchange fees decision adopted by the Spanish competition authority in 2005, which led to a significant reduction of the fees paid by merchants to the banks for credit card payments.
Throughout his high-powered in-house career at PepsiCo, vice president and general counsel for Western Europe and government affairs for Southern Europe, John Rigau has contributed significantly to the growth of the group. In 1992 he became the first in-house counsel at PepsiCo in Spain, taking up the challenge of creating a legal department for the Spanish branch. Now he leads a 17-strong legal team. ‘Basically I created a legal function from scratch, which was a very big achievement. I have developed most of the PepsiCo Western Europe in-house lawyers; I introduced a cross-efficient law firm management system and I have made collaboration and cross-country best practice sharing’. Rigau is also a member of the European executive team. During the last two decades, he has held the role of the legal director of Pizza Hut and KFC in South Europe and Africa and food legal director for continental Europe (excluding UK). He has led the legal elements of most of the acquisitions of PepsiCo in Europe; having worked on acquisitions in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Operating in a highly regulated area, he is constantly faced with new regulatory challenges. The regulations affecting the company’s products and advertising, the restriction on sugar and fat have been big hurdles for the PepsiCo legal department and Rigau has taken wide-reaching initiatives to overcome them: ‘Connecting with authorities and regulators explaining that we, as a company, want to be part of the solution and not of the problem. We engaged with many trade associations to promote healthier lifestyles. We formulate our products to make them become healthier’.
An award-winning corporate counsel, Blanca RIvilla Calle is general counsel and deputy general manager of the Spanish investment bank Ahorro Corporación. She joined the company in 2000 as a junior lawyer in the financial transactions law department and was later promoted to general counsel. Last January she was appointed deputy general manager with responsibilities for a variety of financial tasks. Her biggest achievement at Ahorro Corporación has been the creation of an in-house department with high-quality services that resemble those of a law firm. ‘In our activity most colleagues are used to working with lawyers from top firms so we wanted to provide a service they can trust. When I first started there were two separate legal departments: one dealing with financial legal issues and one for corporate legal. The role of these departments was rather technical and not essential advisory. We merged these two departments into one, which incorporates lawyers from law firms and can provide professional and client-focused services’. Among the initiatives she spearheaded for the optimisation of the legal work is the establishment of an internal inquiry for the evaluation of the legal department, as she considers her colleagues’ feedback essential. ‘Last year a colleague from another department left the company and he told me that one of the things he admired about the company was the work of the legal department; he could feel that our team was one of the top in-house teams. He said that he admired my capabilities and the fact that I didn’t hesitate hiring outstanding lawyers and I wasn’t afraid they could steal my thunder. That was one the nicest compliments I have received for my work’ she comments proudly.
Juan Saavedra Ortiz spent 10 years working in two Magic Circle firms, Linklaters and Allen & Overy, before deciding to move in-house. During that time he advised on a wide variety of transactions and clients, including many multinational companies. This experience equipped him with expert knowledge on corporate matters, which proved a very useful asset for his current role as senior legal counsel for Inditex, the Spanish multinational clothing company with a turnover of approximately €18bn and presence in 80 jurisdictions. Since joining the company, he has started wide-reaching initiatives to give a more international approach to the legal department. He is currently leading the legal work for e-commerce and IT at Inditex and he is also a permanent member of the corporate department on data protection and privacy, which each area have their own complex problems. For example, e-commerce is a new area that sits at the heart of the business strategy, and has therefore been closely observed by the business. He admits that the launch of an e-commerce website in a new jurisdiction is like creating a start-up. ‘For us it can be a big challenge and achievement to advise on terms and conditions of the website and labelling every time for a new jurisdiction. It requires good knowledge on local regulations’. His substantial contribution in the regularisation of the contract execution processes in the new jurisdictions has been crucial for the business. Saavedra Ortiz is currently taking further LLM courses, supported by Inditex, and he has published a book on business operations and investment products in the financial markets.
Described by sources as ‘an outstanding lawyer with a high personal commitment and exceptional technical and people management skills’, ‘a very proactive and efficient lawyer’, ‘a problem solver’ and ‘a key reference in the GC Spanish market’, Santiago Sainz de Baranda heads the corporate legal team of Urbaser Group, an environmental services company and subsidiary of Grupo ACS. A veteran in-house lawyer, he has been in the business for nearly three decades. Sainz de Baranda started his in-house career in 1986 at the Spanish public-service broadcaster RTVE Group, and later joined e-Media Group/MEDIATRANS as head of the legal department. He served for many years within the legal department of Dragados Sevricios, as deputy director, before finally joining Urbaser in 2004. In his current role he has taken wide reaching initiatives, along with his strong team, to get the legal department to its current level of high efficiency. ‘We carried out the task of systematising the department, building updated databases and network programs with the rest of the company. Lawyer tasks have been specialised but always focused on the different activities of the business group, adding more flexibility to the department when taking part in the day-to-day business development’ says Sainz de Baranda. ‘However, the biggest achievement is that we have met our goal to have lawyers take a direct and parallel role in the different business areas of the company; in this regard our activity has gone further than mere legal advice and we are currently part of the decision making’ he says proudly.
A highly visible figure of the Spanish legal market, Ramiro Sánchez de Lerín serves as Telefónica’s general counsel and member of the executive committee. He began his career at Arthur Andersen, where he served in the audit and tax departments. In 1982 he became a government attorney and worked for local authorities in Madrid, before he was assigned to the State Secretariat for the European Communities and later to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. An industry expert, ‘Ramiro has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to lead the legal team of Telefónica, a company that has become a worldwide reference in telecommunications and technology’ according to one senior lawyer.
Globalvia is one of the world’s leaders in the management of infrastructure concessions, occupying one of the top positions in a number of rankings produced by infrastructure publications. José Manuel Sánchez Méndez joined Globalvia in 2010 as legal counsel manager for the railways division, following a successful career as senior counsel at international law firm Clifford Chance. Sánchez Méndez has been praised by industry and private practice sources for his innovative approach in the face of the economic crisis. ‘The crisis in Spain has impacted the infrastructure sector in an unprecedented way. The risks which legal advice has had to face, namely bankruptcy, have become real recently. This has required a new approach and creativity on the part of the law professional’ he comments. This makes the role of the lawyer more important than ever, and Sánchez Méndez has taken steps to promote the role of the in-house lawyer to be a member of the board of directors, which has increased the impact of legal advice. During his time in Globalvia, he has successfully navigated a number of strategic projects, but he considers his participation in the acquisition of Metro Seville as the landmark of his in-house career. The deal was recognised as World Finance’s Project Finance Deal of the year in 2014.
During his 17-year tenure as legal director at R Cable, Juan Manuel Sánchez Padrós has been a key decision maker in the Spanish telecommunications company. He joined R Cable in 1998, following an 11-year tenure in Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, one of the biggest law firms in Spain, in order to create an in-house legal department. To that end, he implemented procedures for approving and signing documents, templates of contracts with clients and other providers, and implemented corporate defence policies. Sánchez Padrós has invested a lot of time in making the legal function an indispensable part of the business; he trained the non-legal staff on legal matters to keep the organisation informed on the relevant regulatory issues and to improve legal’s overall standing in the business.
‘Vanessa is a very focused and competent head of legal, she can handle virtually any issue that may occur in the insurance area’, according to one source. A recognised industry expert, Vanessa Santos joined MetLife Portugal in 2011 with the mission of establishing an in-house legal department, following a successful private practice career. ‘When I first started at MetLife, the company had already existed for 20 years in Portugal. We have more than 100 people in the staff and it wasn’t easy to get people used to having an internal legal team and having to consult me for contracting and other legal procedures’ comments Santos. ‘I’m very happy with the result that I achieved. I have implemented best practices and provided the entire staff with training’. During the past four years there has been an external legal cost reduction of up to 40%, which demonstrates the value that the in-house function has added to the business. Santos’ input has moved beyond purely cost saving, having gained wide recognition for her recent work on MetLife’s restructuring project and the Iberian corporatisation. Throughout her in-house career, Santos has had many achievements, but becoming an integral part of the business is one of the biggest: ‘My biggest achievement is that whenever I’m absent people miss the presence of the legal head, I created this mentality of legal awareness. I am really proud of that’.
‘Filipa is an outstanding performer concerning all the key skills a general counsel should have: ability and wisdom to act as the interface between legal department and board directors; insight to distribute work between internal and external legal teams and, when needed, to put them working together; a broad knowledge of all legal matters from regulation to corporate, through tax and labour among others; all of that with a lot of energy and sense of humour’ one source comments on Filipa Santos Carvalho. An experienced telecommunications lawyer, she joined Optimus Comunicações, the mobile operator owned by Sonae Group, in 1998 shortly after its inception. She held a central role in the creation of the legal department, defining its scope, forming internal policies and templates, as well as constructing the essential relationships with other departments. Following the integration of all support areas of Sonae’s telecoms and IT companies in Sonaecom SGPS in 2003, Santos Carvalho assumed the role of head of the legal department, providing support for all Sonaecom companies (approximately 40). In 2005 she also assumed the leadership of the regulatory department of Sonaecom. Zon Group, the leading cable operator in Portugal, acquired Optimus, a telecommunications company owned by Sonaecom. The merged entity created NOS, for which Carvalho is currently head of legal. Now leading the legal and regulatory department of NOS Group, a company listed in the PSI-20, she oversees the work of a diverse team of 33 people with very different backgrounds, ranging from lawyers, paralegals, economists, engineers and administrative staff. Throughout her in-house career Santos Carvalho has been at the centre of all of her companies’ most important moments. One example is the aforementioned merger between Zon and Sonaecom’s businesses in 2013. ‘It was a huge challenge for the legal and regulatory team. The merger implied the approval from the National Competition Authority and the Regulatory Authority, an achievement that we completed in only seven months. That is a record for the National Competition Authority when analysing complex operations’ she says. A private practice source comments on that deal and Santos Carvalho’s role: ‘The consolidation of the merger between Optimus, one of Sonaecom’s units, and Zon was certainly the most striking positive achievement of 2014 amongst the universe of large Portuguese corporations. In this process, Filipa Carvalho, in her capacity as legal and regulatory director, was absolutely decisive. Even though she belonged to the smallest of two companies involved in the merger, Carvalho was rapidly able to take leadership in her areas of responsibility at the new company NOS. This was possible, due to her expertise and know-how in regulatory matters and her ability to coordinate in-house lawyers and external consultants’.
ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, the National Airport Authority, provides management, operation and development of airports in mainland Portugal, Azores, and Madeira autonomous regions. A well-known and highly respected corporate lawyer, Francisco Sebastian has been at the helm of the in-house legal function for over three decades. A high-profiled professional in the Portuguese in-house society, Sebastian is member of the Portuguese Lawyers Bar Association and previously served as board member of the World Airport and Lawyers Association. Both his internal and external appointments have influenced the Portuguese legal sector significantly.
CBRE Global Investors is one of the world’s largest real estate investment management firms with approximately $88.4bn in assets under management globally. As the company’s general counsel for Spain and Portugal and secretary to the board of directors for the last three years, María Segimón is a respected and high profile figure in the Spanish legal market with an impressive career spanning international law firms and in-house roles. Examples include the London and Madrid offices of Clifford Chance, DLA Piper and the market-leading Spanish construction company Ferrovial. Joining CBRE in 2012 amid the Spanish economic crisis, which had a devastating impact on the real estate market, Segimón has supported the company through the most difficult of times. ‘The real estate market collapsed in 2007 and did not recover until 2013. During this crisis we could not rotate any of the assets under management as there was no demand, and suddenly, in 12 months the market changed 180 degrees and we had to face 22 M&A transactions in 2014 alone, with the same limited team that the company had had during the crisis years’ she says. Throughout her time in this role, Segimón has worked hard to build an understanding of what legal does and to improve cross-functional communication. Three years after assuming her role, she has managed to convince the business team members to regard the legal team as a partner, which has increased the value that the legal function can bring to the company. ‘The CEO has appointed me as member of the executive committee and he has instructed each company committee (risk, operations and transactions) to have one member of the legal team always present. This was not the case three years ago and we could not have delivered the work expected from the legal team back in 2014 if we had not been present in all these committees’.
Acciona is one of the foremost Spanish conglomerates, leading in the development and management of infrastructure, renewable energy, water and services and listed on the IBEX-35 stock exchange index. Acciona Windpower is the Acciona Group company dedicated to the design, manufacture and operation of wind turbines. A widely respected lawyer, Javier Serrada Quiza has been leading the legal department of the company since 2005. When he joined Acciona Windpower the company did not have an in-house legal department and Serrada Quiza built a sophisticated legal function from scratch. He implemented the legal compliance policy and the risk assessment policy, and as the acting legal representative for the international affiliate companies, he coordinated the international development of the company and local legal departments. A known pioneer, Serrada Quiza has been particularly praised for his innovative implementation of a legal project management system. ‘We have applied project management techniques, following some training in legal project management, which means that we treat the legal issues as a project and the involved lawyers act as project managers, being responsible of internal/external client satisfaction and compliance with the budget’ he says. During his time in Acciona Windpower, Serrada Quiza has played an important role in major strategic projects, closing several market-leading engineering and procurement contracts.
Former director of legal for the Central Bank of Spain, Roberto Ugena led many of the bank’s defining projects and transactions during his eight-year tenure. He was part of the Spanish team that negotiated the terms and conditions for the European financial assistance to recapitalise weak banks, part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Spanish state and the European institutions. ‘According to this MoU, by the end of August 2012, the Spanish authorities, in consultation with the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund, had to modify the bank resolution framework in order to provide special tools to resolve banks, such as the sale of business tools and bridge bad banks’ tools and also include provisions on overriding shareholders rights in resolution processes’ he says. ‘We had hardly one month to do that, but we succeeded in producing a bank resolution framework which proved very useful to recapitalise, restructure or resolve the weak banks. I headed the team which was in charge of the first draft of this piece of legislation’. During his time at the helm of Spain’s central bank he designed a key performance indicator system to measure the quality of the input given by the legal department to the operational areas of the bank. As of March 2016, Ugena is the deputy director general of the legal services of the European Central Bank, with responsibilities for all matters pertaining to the supervisory law and legislation divisions.
Aitor Unanue joined ULMA Construction in 2008, following a successful 12-year tenure at the market-leading law firm Garrigues. Since assuming his role as director of legal affairs, he has had a great impact on the strategic direction of the company. Prior to his arrival, ULMA Construction did not have an in-house legal department, so Unanue designed and established the function, centralised all legal work and the reporting of all subsidiaries to the parent company. He admits that gaining recognition within a business, that previously was not familiar with the presence of the legal function, has been the biggest challenge and he prides himself on becoming the reference for all legal matters in the company and having his advice sought for every transaction.
MAPFRE Asistencia is a global insurance, reinsurance and services company, and a subsidiary of the IBEX-35 listed insurance company MAPFRE. As the legal director, Juan Manuel Vales Cortés has had a significant role in the international expansion of the company. He has taken a guiding role in the most strategic operations of the company, including some major M&A deals in the US and UK. During his time in this role, Vales Cortés has revolutionised the legal department, adopting a proactive approach that guarantees the mitigation of potential risks. ‘I think changes are made by teams, not individuals. Under this basis, the main change we have achieved is to be proactive; many legal departments are passive, just waiting to solve the problems the companies may have, but we try to be involved in every aspect of the company’ he comments. This has placed the legal function at the heart of decision making, which has had a major impact on the strategic direction of the company.
‘When I started working at Avon the legal department used to be considered as a hurdle to the rest of the company, limiting the business from putting in place new, creative actions’ says Ana Valor. ‘I have always been a business-oriented lawyer, and I have made the legal department become a real partner to the business. I feel really proud of the contribution my team and I have been providing to the business’. Since joining Avon in 2007, Valor has held various positions, including the roles of head of legal for Spain and head of legal for Continental Europe, North Africa and Middle East. At her current role as senior legal counsel for projects delivering services to EMEA, Valor has handled several ground-breaking initiatives. These have included the implementation of changes in labour law that have saved the company around €400,000 per year. Valor also supported the legal work for the introduction of Avon in the world of e-commerce. With nearly 13 years’ in-house experience, she has also worked at Coca-Cola España and Kellogg’s España.
During his time as head of legal at SENER, Ramón Varela Aldazábal has played a pivotal role in the company’s rapid international expansion. He created and implemented the structure of the legal department and supported the company through a period of internationalisation. ‘The legal department handles all the challenges from the overhauling that the company has experienced, coming from a 95% internal market into a more than 90% global and international market. The in-house legal team has been the vanguard within SENER of such a change of scenario and undoubtedly it has been attained only through the contributions and skills of the different members of the legal team’, Varela Aldazábal says proudly. His outstanding work has given the legal function a prominent role within the company, gaining recognition of added value, as the company and directors acknowledge its contribution in the areas of business development and risk control.
CaixaBank’s chief legal officer Lluis Vendrell Pi believes that assuming his current role has been the biggest challenge throughout his career, as he had to become a banking expert in a very short period of time. He started his career in 1996 as a corporate lawyer with Uria Menéndez, and in 2007 became the general counsel at Criteria CaixaCorp. S.A., which was the investment holding company controlled by the savings institution La Caixa. In June 2011 Criteria CaixaCorp absorbed the banking business of La Caixa and created the current CaixaBank, making it one of the largest in the Spanish market. Since its inception, Vendrell Pi has been responsible for the legal M&A area, where he leads a legal team of four. During his time at CaixaBank he has been actively involved in a number of strategic projects and highly complex M&A deals, and he has impressed peers and clients with his ability to execute transactions at high speed and to the highest quality.
With broad private practice experience gained in Portugal and Mozambique, followed by eight years in-house in the multinational construction company Andrade Gutierrez, Pedro Vidigal Monteiro has a well-rounded background in multijurisdictional roles. In his current role as legal manager, he leads a total of nine lawyers in Portugal and Mozambique. Since last year he is also the director of some companies of the group, under which he oversees legal activities in Angola, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Europe. He admits that working in many jurisdictions can be a big challenge. ‘The multiplicity of countries, languages, new cultures and the need to adapt to these new realities and legal frameworks can be very challenging. In 2011 I worked in approximately 15 different countries (with 15 different legal frameworks) in the world. One of the biggest challenges was the negotiation of public contracts in Arabic, in Libya and Algeria of more than $1bn. During his time in Andrade Gutierrez he has impressed the business with his handling of major projects. Examples include the negotiation and signature of contracts in Angola, amounting more than $1.5bn. A high-profile professional, Vidigal Monteiro is frequently invited as a speaker at international forums regarding foreign investment and he is a columnist for the African Banker and African Business magazines.
Widely respected across the aviation industry of Portugal, Maria José Viegas is one of the most qualified aviation lawyers in the country. She joined ANA Aeroportos de Portugal, the Airport Authority of Portugal, in 1998, without prior knowledge of the specifics of the industry. Following the division of ANA into two different entities and pursuant to the Commission’s third airport package, in 1999, Portugal published important legislation on aviation. This changed Viegas’ role considerably as the legislation had a great impact on national airports. ‘I had the opportunity to participate in conferences representing ANA, to publish articles and books about this topic, to teach and to represent the company in important proceedings’ she comments. In 2009 she was promoted to senior manager of ANA’s legal department. Two years later, she decided to pursue an MA in air and space law from Leiden University in the Netherlands, an academic qualification only a handful of lawyers have in Portugal. She admits that was one the most challenging periods of her career: ‘Organising all that academic work along with my work in the company was very complicated. I had to be very organised and to work non-stop, which means I hardly slept during those two years. Completing my Master’s degree under my professional conditions was, by far, my biggest challenge. I was pushed to the limit from an intellectual and a physical point of view’. During her time as a senior legal manager in ANA, Viegas has invested a lot of energy in educating the legal team. To that end, she regularly organises conferences and conversations with representatives of the Portuguese civil society and weekly meetings with the legal team to discuss ongoing work. She also encourages the provision of academic education, such as short-term courses and attendance of aviation conferences. Viegas is the author of the first book on aviation law in Portugal, which she considers an important milestone in her career so far.
We welcome the initiative of The Legal 500 to recognise for the first time the work of Iberian general counsel. It is a timely and well-deserved recognition for the professionals that in recent years have been at the forefront of business activities in a difficult economic cycle, and in an often painful process of deep corporate restructuring.
We are very pleased to sponsor this initiative because we have closely cooperated with several corporate counsel through those challenging times and have witnessed their outstanding efforts to cope with increasingly complex regulatory frameworks and expanding responsibilities within their organisations.
The general counsel is becoming a key business partner in many corporations, an advisor to the senior management regarding matters that exceed their traditional tasks, as the GC is getting involved in issues relating to business strategy and risk management, and, not least, in ensuring the compliance of stricter economic, social and environmental obligations.
We as private practice lawyers are also adjusting our services in parallel to the changing roles of in-house lawyers. Besides mastering the progressively intricate legislation to be able to deliver accurate advice, we are investing to improve our knowledge of the economic and social landscape where our clients operate. As private practice lawyers, we have also been called upon to take a step ahead, to jump in the front seat beside the in-house lawyers in order to be more involved in day-to-day decisions.
This concurrent evolution certainly widens the scope for cooperation between in-house lawyers and law firms for the benefit of both. We can better understand and respond to our clients’ needs, and in-house lawyers can benefit from the insight that we have achieved from working with a wide choice of clients, in a variety of cases and in different industries for many years.
The three Spanish sponsors of this initiative, Arpa Abogados y Consultores, Fornesa Abogados and Olleros Abogados, are medium-sized and independent law firms with a good joint coverage of the Spanish legal market. We share certain values, among which, the involvement and plain accessibility of our partners to corporate counsel is a common target. Our firms have maintained a rapid and sustained growth in recent years, and we attribute our success to the capacity to adapt fast to the new requirements and, above all, to the co-operation and working partnerships that we maintain with corporate counsel.
To show our appreciation for the work of these professionals, we decided to join The Legal 500 in this first GC Powerlist: Iberia, and we wish to sincerely congratulate all those that have been included in the list.
Nuno Galvão Teles
Managing Partner, Portugal
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva (MLGTS)
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva (MLGTS) is very pleased to sponsor the GC Powerlist Iberia and partner with The Legal 500.
It is an opportunity for us to highlight the work of in-house counsel, who have such an important role in establishing the bridge between the company, our clients, and the law firm.
Their work is rarely ranked, awarded or the target for interviews. We believe that they are the key ingredient behind the awards that LGTS has received. The client experience drives each compliment that our law firm receives, and they are, of course, frequently the best referees of our work. Often, their work stays out of the limelight to enable the company and the law firm to work together effectively.
MLGTS could never achieve the results for which it is known without these ‘business angels’ or these important ‘message decoders’. Choosing the right strategies and building new solutions for clients depend entirely on in-house lawyers. They have the important role of being part of the client’s DNA – knowing the business, knowing the market, and understanding the framework of each single step that must be taken in company strategy.
The success of our firm depends on these anchors, on their capability of building a strong and trustworthy relationship, and on fulfilling the needs of clients. Without their role in working for our clients, it would be a less interesting challenge and not a lasting relationship.
MLGTS’ practice group coordinators prepare the best team for each project, allocating the best resources that the firm has according to clients’ interests, rather than gathering different experts from the main areas complementing other professionals from very specific areas. They respond with teams such as the German or French desks, or the Africa and Asia teams, that are equipped to respond to any matter.
Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados is the outcome of the 2004 merger between the firms Morais Leitão, J. Galvão Teles & Associados and Miguel Galvão Teles, João Soares da Silva & Associados, both resulting from prestigious law firms founded in the 1930s and 1960s. In 2006 the law firm Osório de Castro, Verde Pinho, Vieira Peres, Lobo Xavier & Associados, founded in 1989 and based in Porto, was integrated into Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados, thereby reinforcing the firm’s leading position and its presence in the north of the country. With a team comprising more than 180 lawyers at a client’s disposal, we have three offices in Portugal, located in Lisbon, Porto and Funchal (Madeira Island). As a result of our network of associations with local firms and the creation of the MLGTS Legal Circle, since 2010 we have also operated through partnerships with law firms with offices in Angola, Macau (China) and Mozambique.
GC Powerlist is a trading name of The Legal 500 Series and Legalease Ltd, and operates in multiple legal jurisdictions worldwide.