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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: Argentina, 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 Argentina, 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: Argentina 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: Argentina, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Argentina or global), please do get in touch at email@example.com.
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: Argentina
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Head of legal for Argentina and Chile
Ana Candelaria Alonso
Legal and compliance director
Gabriela Álvarez de la Fuente
Regional legal director Latin America Southern Cone
Diego Alvarez García
Legal director - Argentina and Southern Cone
Director of corporate, external and legal affairs – Argentina and Uruguay
Legal affairs manager
Vice president and assistant general counsel
Diageo West Latin America
Director of legal and regulatory affairs
Regional legal manager
Managing counsel – head of legal Argentina
Director of legal affairs – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay
Philip Morris International
Associate vice president, legal and compliance director – Argentina and Uruguay
Transportadora de Gas del Norte
Legal affairs manager
Regional chief legal and insurance officer and director of governmental affairs
Bunge Southern Cone
Legal and public affairs manager
Lawyer – business development manager
Director – legal, public and government affairs
Jacobo Cohen Imach
General counsel, vice president legal and public affairs and secretary of the board of directors
Legal director and compliance officer South America
General Electric International
General counsel, South American Spanish-speaking countries
Air Liquide Argentina
Mariano Romero de Haz
Maria Di Lello
Vale - Potasio Río Colorado
Nestlé - Región Plata
Legal affairs director
Monsanto Latin America South
Lucio Maria Fabani Larranaga
Senior legal director
Oracle latin america
Legal affairs director
María Gabriela Fernández
Legal counsel – Latin America South
Legal and compliance director
Novo Nordisk Pharma Argentina
Federico Frachia Sabaris
Head legal counsel – Argentina, Chile, Peru
SAS Institute Argentina
Vice president – compliance ambassador
José Ignacio García Hamilton
Head of legal and institutional relations
Ministry of Commerce
Josefina Hernández Gazcón
Senior counsel Southern Cone
Regional legal manager
Legal affairs manager
Legal and public relations director
Victor Fernando Hofmann
Regional director for legal and corporate affairs, Latin America and Zona Austral
IMPSA (Industrias Metalúrgicas Pescarmona SA)
Director of regulatory affairs – Latin America
Legal affairs manager – Southern Cone
Germán Fernández Lahore
Corporate vice president of legal services
Fabiana López Leon
Head of legal – managing counsel downstream Argentina
Corporate legal head
Inversiones y Representaciones Sociedad Anónima (IRSA)
Alejandro Quiroga Lopez
Procter & Gamble Argentina
Director of legal matters and data protection coordinator
Regional legal director – Southern Region
General counsel – Argentina
Senior corporate counsel, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia
Alberto Eduardo Martínez Costa
Secretary, director and general counsel
Vice president, legal – Latin America
Peugeot Citroën Argentina
Perez Companc Family Group
Legal director – Latin America South
Legal director South Cone
Santiago Ojea Quintana
María Mercedes Olano
Head of legal office – Buenos Aires branch
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
Legal affairs director for Argentina and senior counsel for Latin America
Turner Broadcasting Company
Director of legal and regulatory affairs
Germán Guillermo Pennimpede
Legal and corporate relationships director
Coca-Cola FEMSA Argentina
Legal director Southern Cone area
British American Tobacco
Telefónica de Argentina
Corporate legal manager and advisor to the board
Head of legal – South Cone
Mercedes Rodriguez Canedo
Vice president legal South Latin business unit and local ethics officer
The Coca-Cola Company
Patricio Pablo Rojo
Managing counsel – Latin America business unit
Gonzalo Ruiz Diaz
Legal affairs manager
Sergio Ricardo Salmi
Banco Itaú Argentina
Director of legal Southern Cone
Vice president legal and compliance
Seguros Sura Argentina
Paula Gonzalez Silvestrin
Attorney general counsel
Socma and Sideco Americana
Head of legal
Legal affairs manager
Cervecería Argentina Isenbeck - SABMiller
Legal, compliance, government affairs manager
3M Argentina and 3M Uruguay
Ana Carina Turco Grecco
Legal affairs manager
Molinos Río de la Plata
Maria del Carmen Urquiza
Legal studies senior manager
Banco Central de la Republica Argentina
María José Van Morlegan
President and associate general counsel
DuPont Latin America
Yamaha Motor Argentina
Head of legal and corporate affairs
Coca-Cola FEMSA Argentina
ESPN International – Argentina
Legal and compliance director – Latin America Southern Cone
Legal director Southern Cone
Head of legal affairs – corporate
Southern Cone legal director
Federico Fernández Zavalía
Head of legal – South American cluster
Vice president of legal affairs
American Express Argentina
Director of legal and compliance
Currently operating as general counsel at Argentina-based power company Genneia, formerly known as Emgasud, the talented Diego Abelleyra is in charge of the organisation’s legal affairs. Abelleyra describes his function as providing ‘proactive legal advice every time a strategic decision of the company needs to be adopted’. Together with his legal department of three members, Abelleyra is credited for the provision of swift, insightful legal expertise regarding the structuring of Genneia’s power projects at all stages. The team’s advice covers the full cycle of projects, including an active role in development, financing, construction and operation. Similar to various other large companies in Argentina, Genneia have endured difficulties thanks to the changing regulatory environment in the country. A constant flux in laws and requirements have resulted in Abelleyra and his legal division being required to adapt their practices and operate in an innovative fashion in order to protect the organisation and its clients. The heavily regulated energy industry however has presented what Abelleyra describes as a ‘positive scenario for the development of big infrastructure projects in Argentina, including power projects’. He explains that this will result in ‘new but encouraging and positive challenges in the exercise of the legal profession, and to our role as in house counsels’. Abelleyra’s previous endeavours include an 11 year tenure at Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal where he worked as a senior associate.
American multinational Emerson Electric has recently undergone a large internal reorganisation process across its Latin American subsidiaries, which included the acquisition and divestiture of several assets. Emerson Electric has substantial operations in Latin America, which fit into its global network of manufacturing products and providing engineering services for a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Nominators singled out the immense contribution of Agustina Allen, the head of legal for Emerson’s Argentine and Chilean businesses, whose involvement in the reorganisation process helped a tricky period come to a successful conclusion. Helping to plan and execute legal strategy in every area of the company, Allen’s efficiency and legal knowledge was built through her qualifications and in a previous role in the boutique Argentinian law firm Basilico, Santurio & Andrada, where she worked as a specialist in IP and corporate law over a six year period.
An experienced in-house counsel in the pharmaceutical sector, Ana Candelaria Alonso spent over four years at the South American division of German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, where she went on to serve as manager of legal affairs, before joining Novartis Argentina as legal and compliance director in June 2014. Candelaria is praised by one nominator for her ‘supreme grasp of the pharmaceuticals space as a whole, ranging from highly specialised and technical areas of the market to much broader commercial and strategic issues’. She is a member of both the intellectual property (IP) and compliance committees of the Cámara Argentina de Especialidades Medicinales (CAEMe) and of the IP committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina. Prior to moving in-house she was an associate at Buenos Aires firm Alfaro Abogados.
Gabriela Álvarez de la Fuente was singled out by nominators as having ‘very sharp analysis, combining complex legal issues with an impressive commercial approach whilst having very quick turnaround and feedback’, which is ‘extremely valuable considering the wide range of her responsibilities both in territory and scope’. Utilising these skills in both past and present roles Álvarez is the current regional legal director for the Latin American Southern Cone at Colgate-Palmolive, covering Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. She covers this broad geographical remit for the consumer goods company by managing one internal lawyer and several external law firm relationships in each of the aforementioned countries. Álvarez joined Colgate-Palmolive in 2016 having spent the majority of her in-house career as the legal and compliance manager for Business Centre South at BASF, where she managed a team of five people covering four countries. Spending 12 years and accomplishing several outstanding results at the multinational chemicals company, Álvarez created the internal legal department in the region from scratch, which reduced lawsuits involving the company by an impressive 85%. At BASF, Álvarez was involved in numerous projects to improve the efficiency of the fledgling department, including the ‘incorporation of a contract alert system’ and the management of ‘several successful M&A processes with different companies acquired by the group’. She was proactive in ensuring the legal staff fulfilled their potential, and organised different legal and compliance training courses to encourage constant learning. Her efforts were validated upon Álvarez’s launch of an internal “Legal Service Satisfaction Survey”, which measured the quality of advice as perceived by internal clients and produced ‘very good’ results. She also created an innovative measure of value calculation of the legal team’s performance; a ‘cost avoidance’ key performance indicator demonstrated to business peers the value of the work the team was performing. Álvarez explains that this ‘mainly included the savings in external legal fees, the collection in lawsuits, and the successful negotiations or cases won at court’.
Diego Alvarez García is the legal director for multinational health care products company GlaxoSmithKline in the Argentina and wider Southern Cone region, having first assumed the role in June 2015 after accruing over a decade of experience during in-house and private practice positions. In leading the legal support across all business units of GlaxoSmithKline in Argentina and the Southern Cone, Alvarez has responsibility for each business unit in the countries of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, along with Laboratorios Phoenix, a subsidiary of GSK which manufactures and markets branded generic pharmaceutical products. Alvarez came to GlaxoSmithKline after a role managing and coordinating the legal affairs of Falabella Group and as a senior associate at the Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martínez de Hoz (h) (PAGBAM) law firm. Outside his achievements in the corporate legal sphere, Alvarez gained an LLM from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2013 as well as spending a year as a Fellow at the Academy of American and International Law in Texas.
Described as a ‘resourceful and solution-oriented person’, capable of producing with innovative results to the projects he works on, Alejandro Anderlic boasts in excess of 20 years of experience, working on complex corporate transactions in Latin America and the US. In his current role of director of corporate, external and legal affairs, Anderlic serves as the main link between Microsoft and government officials, institutions, chambers of commerce and key influencers in Latin America. Tasked with overseeing all legal issues and outlining the legal strategy of Microsoft in Argentina and Uruguay, Anderlic also represents Microsoft in external forums throughout the region. In addition, Anderlic is involved in Microsoft’s sustainability and corporate citizenship initiatives and sits in the local compliance committee. Apart from demonstrating second-to-none technical legal knowledge, Anderlic’s time at Microsoft is characterised by his care and efforts to develop the careers of his employees, fostering a friendly and respectful work environment in the legal team. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2013, Anderlic spent nearly two decades at the law firm Estudio O’Farrell.
Now owned by members of the Bemberg family (former owners of the Quilmes beer brand), Grupo Peñaflor is Argentina’s largest wine producer and one of the top 10 wine companies in the world. As such, the range of legal issues it faces is extremely broad. From planting and harvesting vineyards to industrially producing, marketing and distributing its wines, the company interacts with a wide range of stakeholders and regulators, each of which introduces its own challenges. Sebastián Baglietto is Grupo Peñaflor’s legal affairs manager and is recognised as one of Argentina’s leading consumer sector counsel. He is involved in everything from product regulation to international distribution agreements, and from brand and marketing issues to liaising with state and industry bodies. In 2015, Grupo Peñaflor struck a deal to buy Diageo’s wine interests in Argentina, meaning the complexities of negotiating cross-border M&A and licensing agreements with one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies were added to Baglietto’s portfolio. He is not only an experienced lawyer but an engaging speaker and prominent commentator on in-house issues. He began his career as part of the legal team at industrials conglomerate Techint Group before moving to Argentine firm Landin & Asociados as a corporate lawyer.
Ines Bahachille is the current vice president and assistant general counsel for Diageo West Latin America, with a remit that extends to 44 countries and several different business units and offices in relevant countries. Bahachille also leads Diageo’s Brand Protection team in the region, which is tasked with ‘making successful market and judicial interventions on behalf of [the company’s] brands’, an important function considering the very significant consequences counterfeit alcoholic beverages can entail. Arriving at Diageo when there was no established legal function in the region, Bahachille created legal teams from scratch in each necessary market, covering legal, corporate security, brand protection and compliance functions. Despite being based in Miami, a large bulk of Bahachille’s work in the past year was spent interacting with the Argentinean market, in particular regarding the sale of wine assets in the country that were completed over a record period of time and involved several parties. As well as negotiating with a respected and private local group for the sale of these assets, Bahachille was important in dealing with a number of related matters surrounding the exclusive import and export agreements surrounding the wine brands, a significant achievement given the complexity and scale of the transaction. Necessary in order to safeguard the reputation and revenue of Diageo, Bahachille also has the important responsibility of setting up strategies against counterfeits and leading investigations. Her skills are recognised by internal clients within the company; she received recognition when her team was voted as one of the top two legal departments in the entire Diageo business according to the results of a worldwide internal company survey.
Described by his colleagues as an ‘outstanding business Italian lawyer’, Francisco Barreto has contributed to the development of the various businesses within DIRECTV Argentina, a leading direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster, by providing sound legal advice over the last 15 years at the company. Praised by his peers for his negotiating skills and ability to influence corporate strategy, Barreto’s work at DIRECTV has been defined by his work to implement initiatives combatting piracy in Argentina. Recently, Barreto has been involved in securing permission for the launch of a new satellite technology that would enable to the company to extend its customer base by providing internet to more users at a lower cost. Prior to becoming an in-house lawyer in 2001, Barreto worked as an associate at Negri, Teijeiro & Incera.
Described by peers as a ‘clear, oriented manager’ and ‘100% professional’, Francisco Beláustegui received additional praise from nominators for his role in a ‘very high profile and complex’ transaction that required him to work in Argentina, Peru and Chile during his time at Diageo Argentina. In his former role as legal counsel for Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador at Diageo, Beláustegui was instrumental in providing support to different executive teams and businesses across the region to ensure full compliance with various regulations, as well as internal company policy in leading negotiations with Grupo Peñaflor for the sale of Diageo´s wine assets. Known for being a ‘dedicated’ in-house lawyer, Beláustegui moved to his current role in June 2016 to undertake a new position as a regional legal manager. In this role, he is the coordinator of legal corporate matters across the entire Latin America region for travel website Despegar.com.
Gonzalo Braceras joined Banco Galicia, the largest local bank in Argentina in terms of both assets and customer base, in March 2016 from ICBC Argentina. In charge of a team of 30 employees, Braceras favours managing litigation on a ‘risk-based’ approach. ‘We try not to keep cases in our portfolio longer than necessary,’ Braceras explains. ‘In doing so, we were able to reduce 50% of the cases against Banco Galicia, being able to [generate] efficiencies in reserves and expenses’. This approach, alongside Braceras’ proactive efforts to establish a productive working relationship with senior management, has resulted in the inclusion of legal at the early stages of all projects that have a degree of regulatory impact. As in-house lawyers in Argentina are facing growing expectations to provide commercially-focussed advice, Braceras feels that it is imperative for them to be positioned closely to the business: ‘We need to learn how to interact with business associates with different backgrounds and adding value at the same time’.
Shell, the multinational oil and gas giant, has ambitious plans for Argentina, recently announcing a target to invest $300m a year in the country through to 2020 in exploration, refining, distribution, sales and marketing. The Anglo-Dutch company’s assets in the country include the Cruz de Lorena oil block and Vaca Muerta shale deposit in Patagonia, which boasts the second largest reserves of shale gas worldwide. A driving force behind Shell’s expansion efforts in Argentina has been Fabian Braghieri, a lawyer with two decades of expertise in commercial law. Serving as head of the legal department at the company since mid-2016, and prior to that as senior legal counsel and litigation managing counsel, Braghieri has been invaluable to Shell with his advice on exploitation concessions, joint ventures and joint operation agreements, as well as his provision of commercial and regulatory advice in corporate and contractual matters. In addition, Braghieri has impressed with his vision of identifying and managing litigation across Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in developing and implementing a litigation strategy on a wide variety of matters. Prior to joining Shell in 2001, Braghieri worked at the law firms Palacios Bacque & Pochat, Sidersa and Arneg Raffo.
Philip Morris International’s presence in Argentina dates back to 1965, when it bought a controlling stake in Massalin Particulares (then known as Massalin & Celasco). Today the company is the leading tobacco business in Argentina, employing approximately 2,600 employees in seven locations across the country. Predominantly selling its two main brands – Philip Morris and Marlboro – the company operates two cigarette manufacturing plants, as well as tobacco leaf processing plants and a national tobacco warehouse in Argentina. Federico Brandt heads the legal team that supports the affairs of Philip Morris across these diverse locations in Argentina, as well as in Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Praised for his ‘outstanding’ work in corporate governance, transactional and competition law, Brandt is among the most experienced lawyers in the Argentinian consumer products sector. Brandt’s work to protect Philip Morris against complex litigation is of particular importance as the company struggles to maintain its market share amidst a dramatic contraction in the total cigarette market in Argentina.
MetLife’s Federico Bravo boasts substantial experience of overseeing legal processes within the insurance industry, having previously worked at AIG, La Meridional Compañía Argentina de Seguros and Zurich Financial Services. An excellent professional, described as ‘serious and responsible’ in his work, Bravo has showcased a flexibility to adapt his legal knowledge to the commercial topics at hand. Bravo’s relatively short tenure as a legal and compliance director covering Argentina and Uruguay is defined by his advice to senior management on important strategic issues and initiatives, and encouraging the education of non-legal employees on compliance requirements. In addition to his role at MetLife, Bravo is a representative of MetHelps, the company’s corporate social responsibility program aimed at establishing a supportive relationship with the local community.
Founded in 1886, BBVA Francés is the oldest private bank in Argentina. The legal team, headed by Adrian Bressani, supports the affairs of the bank on all legal and corporate governance related matters across its 245 branches in Argentina. Described as a professional who excels in his ability to work under pressure and multi-task, Bressani has provided his employer with indispensable advice on corporate transactions. Recently, Bressani has assisted BBVA Francés on a deal to loan $6bn to the Argentinian government, in 18-month loan alongside international banks Santander, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JP Morgan. This transaction has ensured that the government can cover its financing needs at the start of 2017. In addition, the BBVA Francés legal team has supported recent efforts by the bank to promote the purchase of real estate through bank loans, while working alongside Proaco BBVA. Both the bank and the French development group are currently working towards providing a loan for the funding of Docta, a new 600 hectare development located in the west of the city of Cordoba. Bressani’s proven ability to support market-leading, and often unique, transactions allows the bank to continue to innovate.
Founded in 1992, Transportadora de Gas del Norte engages in the transportation of natural gas via pipelines to the central and northern regions of Argentina, boasting a pipeline length of nearly 6,600 km. With services including gas transportation and services to third parties, the company supplies eight of the nine gas distributors, many power plants, as well as industrial operations located in 14 Argentine provinces. As general counsel, since 2014, and a member of the board, Marcelo Brichetto provides legal support to the company’s diverse activities in central and northern regions of Argentina, adding significant value with his work on the economic regulation, capital market operations and the financing of investment projects. Brichetto has been applauded for his extensive experience in the development and financing of infrastructure projects, knowledge of business law and strong expertise in complex commercial litigation.
Joining Grupo Garbarino, the leading Argentinian appliances and white goods retail company, in 2012, Esteban Cappello is responsible for the development of the internal legal department and advising on a wide range of issues relevant to the company’s business interests. Cappello’s role for Grupo Garbarino is imperative in protecting the reputation of one of Argentina’s most recognisable brand names that has a heritage of 60 years and over 110 locations across the country. The role of legal affairs manager sees Cappello advising on matters spanning complex M&A transactions, contracts, litigation and administrative issues. Enabling the company to achieve its mission of bringing customers the latest technology, Cappello amassed his experience through roles at various law firms and four years in-house at technology products company Compumundo, where he was the legal affairs manager before joining Grupo Garbarino
Joining Bunge, the global food production company, as an in-house counsel in 2011, Jose Castelli already held a multitude of private practice experience gained from leading law firms. Castelli currently oversees a compact team with three direct reports in a function that has emphasis on working with a ‘proactive attitude’. With an impressive career background in leading Argentinian law firms Allende & Brea and Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi, and firms abroad (Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York), Castelli brings a tremendous amount of experience to help shape and grow the company, most notably in ‘structuring M&As’. Castelli has earned a reputation of being able to complete deals in a timely fashion, which is particularly important considering the nature of the commodities market. Castelli describes this as being a situation where ‘time is of the essence’ and in a market that is liable to volatile swings that requires quick and decisive judgments from the legal team. In addition to the these daily pressures, Castelli has taken a guiding role for the company amidst a changing legislative background in Argentina; the national Congress recently approving a new civil and commercial code that changed the way companies have to deal with issues. Castelli enjoys a good relationship with his business colleagues, reporting to the regional CEO and working with senior management as a team.
A corporate lawyer with wide experience of working in-house at multinationals, Martín Castro is the current president of the Argentina Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). Since 2009, Castro has held regional responsibility for Bridgestone’s legal affairs in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay. More recently, his role has expanded to cover ethics and compliance matters in these markets while handling relations with the Argentine government. He has previously served as legal manager and chief compliance officer for the Southern Cone region at Praxair Argentina, where he helped to restructure the legal department and drove substantial efficiency savings; and legal counsel at Telefónica Móviles and Movicom BellSouth Argentina, where he led the two companies’ merger and oversaw antitrust approval proceedings. Known as one of Argentina’s finest legal minds and a consistent in-house innovator, Castro received a large number of nominations from a wide range of sources.
Cresud is one of Latin America’s most notable agriculture companies and a key component in the Argentinean economy, with operations including the production of basic agricultural commodities across the continent, with recent expansion in Brazil in particular. Bolstering the company’s presence in these new business ventures is Maximiliano Venditti Castro, the lawyer and business development manager at the company who has been involved in the legal aspects of the business for several years. Having a legal career spanning over 15 years, Castro is well-placed to offer corporate and legal support to the company across the region. His mixture of roles demonstrates the commercial intelligence of his legal work, understanding that the in-house legal role is now one of facilitating and protection rather than prevention.
Diego Cifone is the director for legal, public and government affairs for the Southern Cone region of PepsiCo, the global food and beverage leader whose operations in the region cover Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. With an extensive brand portfolio and several production facilities, including bottling plants, Cifone must ensure that the complex regulatory environment is navigated successfully whilst also directing and supervising his team of professionals. Demonstrating his managerial skill, Cifone was singled out by one source as being a ‘great motivator not only as a boss but also as a lawyer’ as well as being known to ‘quickly spread enthusiasm in achieving goals’ and ‘encourage improvement on a day-by-day basis’. Cifone has amassed a tremendous amount of experience in global companies, including over 10 years at PepsiCo, and six years at Unilever.
Jacobo Cohen Imach is general counsel of online retailer and auctioneer MercadoLibre. As one of Argentina’s most notable ecommerce businesses, and Latin America’s most popular in terms of numbers of website visitors, Imach’s attention is constantly focused on a variety of issues, but mainly those on the regulatory side of things. In addition to his legal role, Cohen has a remit that includes more corporate-focused responsibilities; he is the vice president for legal and public affairs at the company as well as the secretary of the board of directors. Overseeing a large team that includes five direct reports and a total of 40 staff in the legal and public affairs team, his career is intricately tied to the pioneering online retailer’s story; he is the company’s first general counsel and has been in the position since the company’s creation in 1999. During his long tenure he has seen fit to make numerous changes to the workings of the legal department, including emphasising in-house lawyers as ‘strategic partners as part of the business, not an outside group that puts stick on the wheels’, promoting the values of ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘applying common and business sense’. Keen to safeguard the ‘creativity, innovation, development of products, services and content hosted in their servers, user privacy, freedom of expression and other issues’, Cohen is a vital component in the growth of one of Argentina’s most successful internet companies and the development of the ecommerce sector as a whole.
Based in Buenos Aires, Gabriela Cremaschi serves as legal director and compliance officer covering South America at GE. Having been at the company since 2000, Cremaschi has made a substantial contribution to fostering an open reporting environment within the South American operation of the company, assisting with the development of a system that enables employees to log improprieties. This achievement is of particular importance as it is in-line with GE’s corporate strategy to eliminate corruption and foster a culture of value that reflects the integrity of its brand. In addition, Cremaschi and her team have contributed to the strengthening of GE’s policies and introduced a review of third-party service providers, achieved by a thorough process of background checking and training. Cremaschi is also known for providing legal support to new projects and transactions in South America, with the company looking to expand its presence in the region. In 2016, GE’s legal team closed a $900m Brazil power plant grid contract and a $280m loan to state-run airline Aerolineas Argentinas. As the conglomerate recently announced plans to invest $10bn in Argentina over the next decade, Cremaschi’s role will became even more integral.
Applauded for his wealth of experience in large multinational corporations and top-tier law firms, along with his ‘keen sense of commercial awareness, pragmatic approach to problem solving and strong leadership ability’, Hernán Dayen currently serves as a sub-regional general counsel at the global utilities business Air Liquide. In this role, Dayen is responsible for all legal affairs in several key areas for the company including business development, corporate strategy and compliance among others, and oversees all operational legal matters ranging from drafting and negotiations of contracts to litigation, arbitration and mediation. Dayen also serves as secretary to the board of directors and represents Air Liquide International at the shareholder meetings of its South American subsidiaries. With a cumulative project value of negotiated and closed projects over his career of $25bn, Dayen’s previous roles include, director of legal and government affairs for Latin America at Dell, senior legal counsel at YPF in Argentina, member of the nominating committee at Alliance Oil Company in Moscow and head of legal for the Middle East, West Africa and Asia at Repsol’s Madrid office.
Known in the Argentinian in-house legal market for being a ‘complete legal professional’, Mariano Romero de Haz is the legal manager of flagship electricity company Pampa Energía, which engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity, as well as in the production and transport of natural gas. Romero enjoys a ‘fluent relationship’ with the members of the board and with a team including two senior lawyers and an assistant reporting into him. Romero manages legal support over numerous areas of the business, particularly in activities related to the refining and commercialisation of fuels. As the activities and revenue of the company continue to expand, he and the team take on an increasing workload in a changing global energy market. Due to the volatile nature of the hydrocarbons market, Romero defines the role of lawyers within the business as having to be up to date on ‘legal knowledge as well as commercial skills to allow the course of business [to continue], maximising its profits’. In May 2016 Romero was involved in Pampa Energía’s acquisition of the shares of Petrobras Participaciones - which owns 67% of capital and votes of Petrobras Argentina – representing new opportunities for the company in its home market.
With over 16 years of experience as an in-house and lawyer and currently leading one of the major mining projects of the country, Maria Di Lello is at the forefront of the mining industry in Argentina in her capacity as a senior attorney at Vale’s Potasio Río Colorado project. Di Lello explains how she deals with ‘a variety of issues’ and having to ‘coordinate the work of an important number of professionals’, concentrating efforts in ‘improving the team work and the communication among the team’. Coordinating approximately 20 external lawyers on a day-to-day basis, Di Lello has had to help the company through difficult market circumstances that saw the temporary suspension of the Río Colorado project. She stresses that going about her role with ‘integrity, self-confidence, to work hard no matter the problems and always to be honest’ has been a sure-fire way to handle the complex workload. She also notes the importance of calculating the value brought to her organisation through the results and responses obtained via internal clients and paying attention to their opinions. Previous examples of her successful results are numerous. In a previous role at Duke Energy Di Lello implemented an “e-contract” tool that helped to increase efficiency with regards to contracts and communication between departments, in addition to introducing a procedure where employees could flag unsafe acts and conditions to their managers in order to implement an urgent plan or solution from legal. Keen to enjoy stability between her personal and professional life, Di Lello suggests that lawyers are intrinsically challenged by ‘finding balance between personal and professional life’.
Highly applauded for her skills in strategic planning and leadership, Jackie Donaldson has an outstanding reputation in Argentina’s in-house legal market. Donaldson currently serves as general counsel at Nestlé’s operations in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, having previously worked in a legal specialist position at the company. Donaldson’s career at Nestlé is marked by providing exceptional legal support to both local and cross-border transactions. Recently, her team has been involved in striking a strategic deal with Britain’s R&R Ice Cream to sell ice cream and frozen foods across Latin America, the Middle East and Australia. Prior to joining Nestlé in May 2009, Donaldson worked as a chief of staff at the Senate of Argentina and before that as a private practice lawyer at Estudio M. & M. Bomchil Buenos Aires.
Founded in 1961 and currently headquartered in Luxemburg, Ternium is the leading steel company in Latin America with highly integrated processes to manufacture steel and value-added products. The company develops flat and long steel products and has major production centres in Argentina, the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala. Fernando Duelo, general counsel for Argentina, oversees a highly commended legal unit, comprised of savvy and commercially aware lawyers who are known for their excellent technical expertise across a variety of areas. Duelo himself has been described as a well-connected and business-oriented professional, with an aptitude for seeing matters as part of a wider picture. Having been general counsel at Ternium for over a decade, Duelo has been an asset to the strategic and commercial affairs of the company. Currently, Duelo is directly involved in Ternium’s efforts to expand into Brazil, by overseeing the negotiations with ThyssenKrupp to buy CSA Cia Siderúrgica do Atlántico, a steel mill based in Rio de Janeiro that has a capacity to produce five million tonnes of steel annually.
Mariana Eppenstein serves as legal affairs director for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru at Monsanto, a multinational agrochemical and agricultural company that helps farmers to improve their harvests and use resources more effectively. Recognised for her skills in intellectual property, commercial property and international law, Eppenstein has been key negotiator with the government to promote Monsanto’s technology and products in Argentina. In 2016, Eppenstein was at the heart of the negotiations between Monsanto and the Argentinean government that resulted in the signing of a final accord on soybean seed royalty payments. As a result, the company gave full control to the Argentine Seed Institute to oversee the detection of crops grown illicitly from its Intacta genetically modified soybean seeds. Prior to assuming the legal affairs director position at Monsanto in 2011, Eppenstein served as a deputy legal director for Monsanto Latin America South and as an assistant general counsel for Monsanto’s vegetables business segment. Before joining Monsanto, Eppenstein worked at the law firms at Allende & Brea and Brons & Salas.
With a deep knowledge of all relevant legal and commercial factors affecting the Oracle business in the region, Lucio Maria Fabani Larranaga is known for his skill across several practice areas in different jurisdictions, particularly negotiations, tax planning, international law and M&A. With over a decade of experience honed at Sun Microsystems as legal director for the Latin America region, Fabani cites ‘gaining internal customers’ confidence and being seen as part of the team and not just a step to get approvals’ as the biggest achievement of his in-house career thus far. His role at Oracle is one that allows him to enjoy ‘the regular relationship as a business partner’ and ‘counselling management on a regular basis’. In 2010, Sun Microsystems was integrated into the Oracle business after the company’s acquisition. This complex merger of two leading technology companies required a tremendous amount of work from the legal department on both sides – Fabani was legal director at Sun Microsystems at the time. Fabani assumed his current role at Oracle after the completion of this transaction.
Known in the Argentinian in-house legal market as a senior legal professional that has many years of experience of handling corporate and IP matters, Susana Faura is the current legal affairs director at multinational pharmaceutical company Janssen Cilag. Endorsed for her deft handling of many issues with regards to trade, commerce and IP, Faura joined Janssen Cilag in 2013 and has overcome a challenging business environment filled with regulatory and legal obstacles. Faura is praised for having ‘always managed the company safely’, displaying the immense amount of respect and trust she commands in the in-house Argentinian legal market, in particular with issues surrounding trade, commerce and IP activities.
Receiving praise from nominators for her leadership skills, María Gabriela Fernández has been the head of the legal department for software solutions provider BMC Software for over 10 years. The company currently has 470 existing patents and over 6,000 employees across 30 countries, commanding a $2bn revenue figure. Drawing from what nominators called a ‘deep legal knowledge of key issues impacting BMC’s industry’, she is able to steer the company through a minefield of regulation and legal issues enabling BMC to develop innovative products for their high-profile clients. In addition to this knowledge, she is highlighted for her ‘remarkable ability’ to deal with and manage a range of issues that have required her to navigate the ‘tough political and economic changes of the country’. With a history of in-house roles at technology companies, including as the legal affairs director at Datco and a legal counsel role at Velocom Argentina, she has built a portfolio of skills with a ‘very dynamic and flexible, pro-business approach’.
Known as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ with ‘extensive industry expertise’, Mariana Fiordilino is well-placed to lead the legal and compliance functions for the Argentinean arm of Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, where she has worked since 2012. Cited by nominators as being a ‘results driven legal executive’, Fiordilino is in possession of ‘a strong combination of legal, compliance and business competencies, as well as in-depth understanding of the pharmaceutical industry’. In recent times, Fiordilino has been tackling Argentina’s high inflation and a local regulatory and legal environment that has been ‘really changing for the last years, so keeping up to date and rolling out training to the company employees is a key action to be in line with the requirements’. In order to deal with this tough environment, Fiordilino is keen to emphasise the utility of cross-department collaboration. She describes her ‘excellent, open and honest’ relationship with the vice president and general manager of the company along with the board of directors, and suggests that the ‘role is not easy to perform if you do not develop good relations with each area´s key stakeholders’. Having to reorganise the legal function, which was previously overseen by the finance director, Fiordilino changed the legal and compliance department to report directly to the vice president and general manager of the company. Praised by one source for working on compliance and legal issues ‘with amazing depth and dedication’, she actively participates in both the Legal and the Compliance Committee at the multinational company’s pharmaceutical chamber (CAEMe), receiving a special recognition for her contribution to the Committee in 2016.
An influential leader known for his dynamism, strong professional values and managerial skills, Federico Frachia Sabaris has over 10 years of cross-border experience in executive management. Over his three-year tenure as the head legal counsel for Argentina, Chile and Peru at the world leading analytics company SAS, Frachia has demonstrated a strong drive to lead, shape and manage teams in order to achieve key business objectives. This has enabled him to shape a team that is well recognised both internally and externally for its quality of service and dynamic work culture. Previously, Frachia worked as a senior lawyer at PwC and Volkswagen Argentina. The international dimensions of Frachia’s roles have enabled him to travel extensively through Latin and North America, establishing long standing relationships with a variety of senior executives at leading international and domestic organisations.
Alfred C. Toepfer International Argentina (ACTIAR) is commodity trading firm whose business in the country is an important aspect of its global operations in producing, exporting and trading agricultural commodities. During her time at ACTIAR, Patricia Galarza has been endorsed as an in-house lawyer that has the tools to deal with a wide-range of interests efficiently and effectively. One nominator commented that she has ‘developed an impressive capacity to reconcile the interests of ACTIAR’s operations in different lines of businesses’. A multi-lingual lawyer; Galarza speaks Spanish, English, French and Portuguese and is well-versed in several practice areas, providing excellent support for the myriad issues that affect ACTIAR’s business. Galarza is well-known in the market for her success, as a private practice source explains, she is ‘one of the most prominent in-house counsels in Argentina with respect to this industry’. She first joined ACTIAR in 1996 where she was entrusted with the creation and organisation of the legal department. After beginning her in-house career at Interpuerto in 1989, Galarza held legal roles in different companies including at Hoko Fishing Kabushiki Kaisha Argentina.
Following the success of Argentina’s pro-business Cambiemos coalition in 2015 a number of prominent corporate figures have made the transition to government departments. As part of this process, a flurry of lawyers have moved from leading law firms and large corporates to public sector positions. In February 2016, José Ignacio García Hamilton, son of the famous Argentinian writer and politician of the same name, left his position as director of legal at Carrefour to join the Ministry of Commerce as head of legal and institutional relations. He is now responsible for overseeing relations between various governmental chambers, companies and other organisations to help boost trade and growth. As part of this, he has also been involved in some of the ministry’s most important recent initiatives. The Ministry of Commerce announced last year that it would reintroduce and expand price protections programmes, fixing prices for essential goods and helping to control inflation. He had previously spent nearly nine years as legal director at Carrefour following five years at law firm Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal.
‘As part of the board of directors of the company and the director of legal affairs, my role is to deliver the most wise advice possible to our CEO for any of the key decisions that we face, both in strategic or key operative matters. I am also responsible for helping my peers and allowing each team member to accomplish corporate goals’. Providing this support to Argentine biotechnology company Biosidus, Josefina Hernández Gazcón is praised for having ‘strong experience’ in all aspects of the law, including complex international M&A transactions, alongside her organisational skills. As a member of the company’s board of directors, she is keen to provide input from a legal perspective but also to ‘challenge the status quo and set new rules for our teams’. With a strong emphasis on business knowledge and promoting proximity to colleagues in other functions, Hernández says the legal team ‘know our internal clients very well, the challenges that each team has and the challenges of the company’ and so acts with ‘responsibility, matureness and wisdom’ to solve them. During her time at Biosidus she has made several structural changes in the department, taking a proactive approach to reorganisation and selecting appropriate talent in key roles. She also created a help-desk system, including a mobile app, so the entire company is able to access internal legal assistance at any time, making legal staff ‘close and reachable’ to business colleagues. This innovation gave her the ability to analyse data about the use of time and resource, enabling her to better understand ‘how many questions our teams make, which department requires more attention, which one is not being advised enough, what are the real costs of legal advice and which one of our lawyers is dealing exactly with what’. Hernández has also identified key performance indicators by which the team can be managed and assessed, which she states ‘was not an easy thing to do’ and further demonstrates her ability to ascertain the value of the legal department within the context of her organisation.
Described as possessing ‘great focus on material issues as well as deep legal knowledge’, Matias Giaccardi, international pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories’ senior counsel for the Southern Cone region, is highly respected by private practice clients and in-house colleagues alike. In providing legal support for the Southern Cone region of Abbott, Giaccardi is tasked with developing and maintaining regulatory and legislative strategy across Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Giaccardi undertook a huge jump in seniority in assuming this position, having previously held a corporate counsel role at Nestlé. The senior counsel role at Abbott was not only a change of sector but also saw him providing legal advice that serves ‘different business units, different lines to different areas of the business and all businesses at all times’. This scope requires him to have knowledge of different realms of business law including corporate, M&A, drafting and revision of contracts, public law, antitrust matters, merger control proceedings, complex litigation and intellectual property. As the pharmaceutical sector throws up challenges that are usually regulatory in nature, Giaccardi utilises an intimate approach and builds relationships with stakeholders to mitigate issues; explaining that he prefers to ‘meet with people and identify correct stakeholders and understand in what ways different authorities and the government are moving in terms of trends; having this network of stakeholders and 360 degree approach towards different legal issues are the most significant actions to overcome challenges’. Giaccardi is a proponent of stability and calls for Argentinian public bodies and institutions to be ‘more predictable in knowing where the law is going’. He started his formal legal career at Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal where he spent nine years building experience in the litigation department along with the corporate and antirust practices.
‘I believe that having an engaged team of well-prepared lawyers is the key to going smoothly through long days and achieving good results’, explains Santiago Gini, regional legal manager of global online marketplace OLX. A diligent lawyer who emphasises efficiency in processes, Gini has overseen a number of operational changes to ensure the provision of legal support to the business is as comprehensive as possible. The team works towards common goals that are ‘reviewed frequently’ including the setup of internal key performance indicators to further help organise and measure output. In his regional role, which he assumed in 2015 after previously managing legal for solely Argentina, Gini has directed a Latin America-wide communications program that is intended to ‘advance the mission of the company in a cost efficient and effective way’. A results-driven lawyer, Gini has recently reviewed the regional business and tax model and has implemented changes in order to have greater efficiency yet retain the ability of the company to achieve its commercial goals. Speaking highly of his legal team, which is comprised of five lawyers, including one based in Colombia, Gini is mindful of the often difficult context the company operates in. Citing Argentina’s 2015 measures that included ‘a complex foreign exchange policy and a very voracious tax legal frame’, efforts were needed to overcome these challenges. Playing a key role in communicating these complexities to other stakeholders, Gini found that presenting ‘tough scenarios and problems in simple ways could be very useful to get things in done in complicated situations’. Able to provide value to the business in several ways, whether directly monetarily or in less tangible ways, Gini always works towards achieving a high impact on the final numbers.
Grupo Arcor is the world’s leading candy producer and the leading food company in Argentina, supplying confectionary and snack products to over 120 countries, making it one of Argentina’s largest companies and among its most successful international exporters. It is also one of the country’s leading producers of packaging materials, dairy and other raw ingredients. The spread and diversity of Arcor’s operations give its relatively small team of lawyers a lot to deal with. As the head of the Buenos Aires office of the company and in supporting its recent international expansion, Federico Gottlieb is the highly respected legal affairs manager at the Group, and is known in the market as an outstanding corporate lawyer with excellent managerial skills. The internal legal department at Grupo Arcor is a full-service function who are able to deal with almost all legal issues the company faces, with external advice being sought only at specific times in jurisdictions away from Buenos Aires or Córdoba. Seeing fit to dispense legal advice on both a proactive and reactive basis depending on the requirements of each business area, Gottlieb is known for his ability to both predict change and react effectively to unexpected situations. Having to show an awareness of potential commercial risks and legal requirements in every continent while appreciating the commercial dynamics of a large, global business, Gottlieb has accrued significant experience at Arcor having been at the company since 2003.
Agustín Herrera is Atanor’s legal and public relations director, holding responsibility for legal, government relations and media issues the company faces across Argentina, Brazil and China. Atanor produces and markets crop protection products, polymers, sugar and chemicals in seven manufacturing sites in Argentina and one in China. With direct responsibility for all legal environmental issues of Atanor’s chemical production sites, Herrera explains how he has to deal with ‘very varied legal questions and matters’. Herrera has been widely acclaimed for his diligence and experience in guiding both the legal and public relations departments of the company. Playing a pivotal role in communicating with the wider industry, his responsibilities include acting as the main contact with three Chemical Federations, two Sugar Federations and the eight unions that are part of them, ‘negotiating actively’ with each to secure the best deals for the company. His hard work and results-driven approach has seen him promoted to Atanor’s board of directors, and he has overtaken management of the company’s human resources department. Herrera was ‘one of the top leaders to negotiate and to execute the documents’ to establish a joint venture transaction in China, also showing his and his team’s value whilst facing difficult financial times. Herrera explains that ‘my company was on technical default and we supported the negotiation and the way in which we restructured our debt, reducing it from $210m to the current $30m’, demonstrating the tangible impact of the team’s work. He is also involved in industry-shaping activities, being an Association of Corporate Counsel Member and treasurer of the Argentinean Chapter of the committee.
An in-house lawyer with strong corporate and compliance expertise, Victor Fernando Hoffman is described as a ‘business-oriented lawyer‘, who is capable of supporting the goals of his company. Praised for his exceptional contractual and negotiating skills and his ability to manage and coordinate an extensive regional group of people, he has held a senior legal role at Kimberly-Clark for 22 years. Currently serving as regional legal and corporate affairs director covering Latin America and Zona Austral, Fernando Hoffman is responsible for implementing Kimberly-Clark’s global policies in line with local requirements. Over the years, he has impressed with his strong transactional skills and is praised by nominators for his ability to ‘carry out complex deals with high standards’ and ‘delivering professional results’. Prior to joining Kimberly-Clark in 1995, he spent three years at the law firm Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi.
In his role of general counsel at IMPSA, one of Argentina’s largest metallurgic companies, Hernán Iglesias deals with local and regional issues on a daily basis. Praised for his in depth knowledge of domestic law, as well as for his ability to deal with challenges that arise from the business environment in the country, Iglesias has worked through the many economic and political changes in Argentina over the past 20 years, developing a practical and pragmatic approach to the practice. Described as a ‘knowledgeable and focused’ lawyer, Iglesias is highly valued by his business for his ability to draft privacy policies, structure commercial transactions and provide advice to new businesses on the formation of appropriate structures. Before assuming the general counsel role at IMPSA in 2011, Iglesias worked as legal manager at the company and before that he was employed at Compañia de Seguros La Mercantil Andina and the Argentinian Supreme Court.
Sebastian Kaplan is a multinational executive who manages legal, regulatory and government affairs for telecommunications companies in different Latin American jurisdictions. A lawyer with a detailed knowledge of local law, complimented by a practical understanding of both international and US legal practices, Kaplan is well-regarded for his strong specialisation in telecommunications and broadcasting, as well as his expertise in litigation management. Currently employed at Millicom, Kaplan supports the mobile money and regulatory affairs teams in the development of relevant argumentation in relation to proposed or existing regulation and legislation that impacts the company. In addition, Kaplan is in charge of supporting Latin American regulatory affairs staff in the management of relationships with officials at key agencies throughout the operations. Previous roles in Kaplan’s in-house legal career include regional general counsel roles at Groupon and Claro Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Magalí Klix leads the legal and compliance support for the Southern Cone region for Ingredion, a global ingredients and solutions company that has a multitude of food processing operations across the continent of Latin America including in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Peru. Previously known under the name Productos de Maiz, which has a history in Buenos Aires since 1928, the company was rebranded under the Ingredion name in 2012. Operating in the heavily regulated food industry requires expert care from the Ingredion legal and compliance team, led by Klix in her role as legal affairs manager for the Southern Cone region. Klix has an additional facet to her role in the form of responsibility for internal management; she is in charge of the internal efforts in drafting, interpreting and applying internal policies regarding human resources issues and labour relations. These include negotiation and interaction with union officials as well as communication with government agencies. A highly competent and loyal professional that can provide support in three languages, Klix is a member of the board of directors of the company and is well-known by her peers for being ‘open, transparent and efficient’ whilst receiving praise for knowing how to ‘inspire the people that work with her [and] always maintaining high ethical values.’
Solange Kurchan has been legal manager at L’Oréal Argentina since 2013. She leads a legal function that provides support across all areas of the company – from consumer and luxury products to active cosmetics and the professional products division – and advises on human resources, finance and operational matters. She is recognised for combining a wide range of technical skills with a detailed appreciation of L’Oréal’s business and is known as a formidable commercial negotiator. She began her legal career as an associate at Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, Argentina’s largest firm, working in the banking and finance practice. Immediately prior to joining L’Oréal Argentina she was legal counsel for the Southern Cluster at US telecoms company Level 3 Communications.
Germán Fernández Lahore joined the legal team of Argentine state-owned oil company YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) in 2002 and moved into senior management as corporate vice president of legal services in December 2015. Fernández’s time in the legal department has coincided with a number of significant changes to the national oil industry, including a 2012 renationalisation order which saw the government of Argentina take a 51.01% controlling stake in YPF. Although the company is now aligned with national interests, it still operates as a major commercial venture partner with a number of international oil and gas companies. Nominators pointed to Fernández’s recent work to protect YPF’s interests and competitive position during negotiations with a major international oil company as evidence of his skilled handling of potentially difficult situations. YPF acts as operator for the Vaca Muerta region of Argentina, where substantial reserves of shale gas are held. Exploiting these resources for the benefit of YPF, and the country as a whole, will see Fernández dealing with a number of unique legal questions in the coming years. Fernández has previously worked as an associate at Argentine firm Estudio Beccar Varela and as a foreign associate at the Dallas, Texas offices of Haynes and Boone. He is a member of the academic council of the energy, hydrocarbon and mining law journal “Revista Argentina de Derecho de la Energía, Hidrocarburos y Minería”.
One of Argentina’s most prominent in-house lawyers in the oil and gas industry, Fabiana López Leon has spent over 20 years in the sector and has acquired, according to one nominator, a ‘full view of the industry and great expertise in transactional and regulatory issues and challenges’. This wide range of skills enabled Leon to provide support to the business at many different levels including working at Shell’s headquarters in London and at the board of directors for oil and gas developments for the company in Buenos Aires. A ‘clear and knowledgeable professional’, López is noted for her flexibility and negotiation skills, helping the downstream portion of Shell’s activities in Argentina operate without being inhibited by legal or regulatory challenges. López left Shell in late 2016 after the research period of this publication.
Inversiones y Representaciones Sociedad Anónima (IRSA) is the leading real estate development firm in Argentina – the company’s diverse operations cover the acquisition, development, administration and operation of commercial centres and office buildings. IRSA’s mission statement is to generate sustainable growth in the flow of funds and increase the value of the company’s real estate assets in the long-term, and crucial to the long-lasting success is the corporate legal head Gaston Lernoud, who has earned an excellent reputation in the Argentinian legal market via a long tenure advising the company. Lernoud first started his career at an external law firm that was advising IRSA and related companies in 1997; he remained with the firm until joining IRSA in 2002. Lernoud’s cites the formation of a ‘perfectly assembled and consolidated working group’ at IRSA as the biggest highlight of his career to date – growing the legal department based on specific results and short, medium and long term objectives. Working within the sometimes capricious Argentinian economic, social and political context, Lernoud has developed an ability to cope with various externalities and the results he has achieved for a business he has been working ‘side by side’ with for more than 15 years embody this skill. As well as leading IRSA´s legal team, Lernoud oversees the insurance, security, governmental affairs and environmental departments – meaning that he has more than 1,500 people under his remit between independent contractors and professional and non-professional employees. Lernoud is also an executive officer, director, and president of the board of some of IRSA´s related companies, giving him the opportunity to display his commercial acumen.
As the general counsel of Telecom Argentina, a major telephone operator covering the northern part of Argentina including the city of Buenos Aires, Alejandro Quiroga Lopez is a highly rated in-house legal professional with an unblemished record in corporate law and a vast expertise in the management of highly complex processes within large multinational organisations. A lawyer with vast expertise in all areas of law related to the business world, particularly those linked to entangling regulations, Quiroga is known for his ability to negotiate complex joint venture agreements and M&A deals in a swift and efficient manner. Before his tenure at Telecom Argentina began, Quiroga was director of legal services and secretary of the board at the leading Argentinian oil producer YPF. At the onset of his professional career, Quiroga spent a decade at the law firm Nicholson & Cano Abogados.
Global consumer goods company Procter & Gamble has been operating in Argentina since 1991 and cites the country as one of its fastest growing markets – having three production plants and two distribution centres, mainly exporting to Latin America in addition to other markets such as China and Europe. Overseeing the growth of the business is Alejandro Lorusso, Procter & Gamble’s legal director in Argentina, whose remit covers legal advice amidst a volatile and changing marketplace. Described as an ‘expert’ in general legal issues, Lorusso is well-placed to deal with any risks that arise as a result of doing business in Argentina and the wider Latin American region. Described as an ‘an active player in the industry’, Lorusso takes a proactive approach to industry matters and discussions as a member of several chambers and organisations including AmCham and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Well known in Argentina’s in-house community for leading large legal teams at multinational organisations, as well as for her understanding of corporate law and governance, Deborah-Maria Luchetta heads the legal team and coordinates data protection at Mercedes-Benz Argentina. The company has a strong position in the local automobile market, operating a factory that manufactures buses, trucks and vans, being the first Mercedes-Benz factory built outside of Germany in 1951. Having this base has helped make Mercedes-Benz an undisputable leader in Argentina’s trucks, buses and vans business, holding around 30% of the market share. Luchetta has been a vital element of the company’s success, having held numerous leadership positions within the legal department over the last 12 years. Apart from contributing to day-to-day legal management and support, Luchetta also has an influence on important strategic initiatives undertaken by the company. A considerable proportion of Luchetta’s prior career (approximately eight years) was spent at healthcare company Baxter Argentina, while her first in-house role was of deputy legal manager at Molinos Río de la Plata, the largest Argentinian branded foods production company.
Described as being the ‘key resource’ in helping to establish and organise AbbVie Argentina, regional legal director Monica Lupi is well-known in the market for having the capability to ‘solve the various legal and regulatory challenges’ the pharmaceutical research and development company encounters when it operates in the Argentinian market. Arriving at AbbVie in 2013 as an already highly-qualified and respected lawyer, Lupi had previously spent almost two decades in a combination of roles at various law firms and other in-house positions, building her knowledge at the Economic Ministry of Buenos Aires, Neff law firm and Sanchez, Lupi & Asociados. In addition to these experiences, Lupi is also known for making a substantial contribution to the profession in other ways, being a tenured professor and currently holding positions at Universidad de San Andrés and Universidad de Belgrano as a professor covering law and technology matters. Lupi was praised by nominators for having a ‘full view’ of the industry and for her ‘great expertise’.
With a long in-house tenure that has seen her undertake roles at several large companies, Barbara Maggi is currently the general counsel for Siemens in Argentina, a position that she assumed in 2010. Overseeing a comprehensive managerial and legal remit in order to deal with the many issues surrounding transactions and day-to-day operations, Maggi has an extensive background in several areas of the law. Spending six years at Argentinian law firm Allende & Brea before moving in-house to join General Motors in 2001, Maggi gained further experience as Lenovo’s Latin America legal manager, a position she held for almost three years before joining Siemens in 2010. Siemens has been a recent investor in the local economy, having recently agreed to partner with the Argentinian government on $5.6bn worth of infrastructure projects as part of President Mauricio Macri’s drive to attract global businesses to the country. Such projects include creating high-efficiency gas power plants and wind-based renewable energy, automating rail transportation systems to improve traffic flow, and implementing measures to make Buenos Aires municipal buildings more energy-efficient. Such an ambitious venture will require Maggi and her legal team colleagues to keep up with each of these individual projects and make sure they are being conducted in a transparent, honest and legally compliant way.
Andrés Maldonado joined integrated fire and security solutions company Tyco as manager of legal and public affairs for Argentina and Uruguay in March 2015. This role saw him working to develop relationships with regulatory bodies in the region while also helping to develop ties between different stakeholders in the security services market and helping to oversee the company’s corporate and social responsibility programme. In 2016, Tyco merged with diversified technology and industrial components producer Johnson Controls. Maldonado continues to advise the newly integrated company on its interaction with local government authorities and his role has since expanded to include oversight of the Colombian market. He has over 10 years’ worth of experience advising multinational companies across a number of sectors and has previously served as legal manager for Argentina at both multinational agribusiness Monsanto and retailer Carrefour. Immediately prior to joining Tyco, Maldonado was senior counsel at GHB Abogados, where he advised multinational companies and Argentine business groups on regional investment projects and new business ventures.
Albert Eduardo Martínez Costa is a lawyer who stands out among peers for his relentless work ethic and drive to succeed. A top corporate lawyer with vast experience of working in-house, Martínez has established a legal department that has a reputation for being highly professional and ethical. Martínez has served at Aluar, the only aluminium smelter in Argentina and one of the largest in South America, since 2001 – initially working in the position of director of investor relations and subsequently as a general counsel. Martínez and his team are involved in all strategic efforts of Aluar, including its recently announced plans to expand into the field of wind energy. The company intends to invest over $600m to install 200 MW in the area between Puerto Madryn and Trelew. This significant diversification of operations required advice on new legal and regulatory matters, in which Martínez played a crucial role.
Silvia Martinucci joined automobile maker Peugeot Citroën Argentina in 2000 as legal director. In 2010 the company reorganised and unified its operations in Latin America and Martinucci became responsible for legal affairs in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. In addition to dealing with legal issues related to various different business divisions across four countries, Martinucci also coordinates with the company’s global headquarters. Nominators strongly praised Martinucci’s ability to cope with the wide range of legal issues that come across her desk and commented on ‘the respect she commands among senior figures within the company’. Recently, she led on the internal aspects of the incorporation of Peugeot Citroën Argentina Compañía de Seguros, a new insurance provider that will offer general asset protection insurance products to Peugeot’s clients in Argentina.
Mariano Mazur, current general counsel at Perez Companc Family Group, has received wide acclaim for overseeing complex litigation and negotiating financial transactions. Employed at the Group for over seven years, Mazur has acquired a wealth of international experience, which serves him well in his responsibilities to provide general legal advice across all areas related to different domestic and international companies of the diverse holding company, as well as to the group shareholders in all jurisdictions. Mazur’s current role also involves drafting and negotiation of different types of agreements, structuring and implementing legal schemes and coordination of multi-jurisdictional legal counsel in cross-border transactions. Prior to joining Perez Companc Family Group, Mazur spent over six years in private practice, working at Ruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi.
Having worked at the Argentinian pharmaceutical company Roemmers for 16 years, Rosario Mazzei has been involved with many of the company’s transactions over the years and has been a driving force behind its recent acquisitions. In 2016 Mazzei took part in the acquisition of Spefar based in Uruguay, an important step in positioning the company as a leading player in several pharmaceuticals markets. Mazzei has also contributed to Roemmers’ expansion in Latin America by securing regulatory approvals for new products in a timely fashion. Supporting the activities of Roemmers’ subsidiaries in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, Mazzei has showcased an aptitude in adapting to changes and swings in the political and economic situation of its key markets, fostering a culture of unity within the company that has helped immensely in alleviating crisis situations.
With ‘deep corporate and contractual experience’, Clara Mazzeo manages the legal department at agriculture company Simplot Argentina, one of two Latin American subsidiaries of the J. R. Simplot Company, one of the largest privately owned companies in the world. Spending the majority of her career in private practice Mazzeo has, according to one nominator, ‘acquired a strong legal expertise acting as outside counsel for years and has migrated to the in-house legal practice becoming a dynamic and business oriented lawyer’. Acclaimed for her legal expertise and ability to facilitate the smooth operation of business functions, Mazzeo is known in the market for having worked on ‘complex international transactions and start-up projects’ in Argentina.
One of Argentina’s truly standout counsel, Esteban Mazzucco has led the Latin America South (LAS) legal function at Swiss-headquartered global agribusiness Syngenta since 2011. He also sits as a member of the Syngenta LAS leadership team and contributes to strategic and commercial decisions at the company. In 2010, when the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) announced it would be establishing an Argentina chapter (also the ACC’s first Latin America chapter), Mazzucco was appointed president. At the time he was international senior corporate counsel of multinational consumer goods manufacturer and distributor The Clorox Company, where he served as regional counsel for both Latin American and Europe. His extensive experience at leading multinational companies includes advising on cross-border M&A, global compliance and regulatory affairs and intellectual property matters.
‘The value of a general counsel is not easy to calculate. There is a lot of work in preventing risks, contingencies and judgments that cannot be measured; applying legal knowledge with commercial experience makes the difference’, explains Carlos Mechetti who has served Cencosud, the third largest listed retail company in Latin America, for over two decades. Praised by peers for his longevity and dedication to the organisation, Mechetti first began his tenure in 1994 as a lawyer for the company’s shopping centre division in Argentina. Mechetti assumed the role of general counsel in 1998 and has since developed a heightened level of proficiency in regards to corporate law and negotiation. Mechetti currently leads a team of 42 lawyers and 33 paralegals across Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. He describes the legal division as having ‘developed itself from being a mere controller of lease contracts and secretary of the directory, to a key consultant in the important decisions of the company’, demonstrating the shift from a one-dimensional and separate legal department to becoming a fully-fledged business-enabling function. Mechetti has seen the legal function at Cencosud flourish into a trusted business partner, using his in-depth expertise in order to assist the organisation’s development of corporate governance and to navigate crucial M&A deals. With numerous accolades over his long in-house career, Mechetti previously featured in The Legal 500’s ranking of 100 influential corporate counsel in Latin America in 2014.
Santiago Monti is the legal manager of Honda Argentina, a subsidiary of the multinational automobile manufacturer, a position he has held since March 2016. Monti joined Honda in 2011 and is responsible for a variety of matters, ranging from corporate and commercial work, intellectual property, and employee relations. He is also in charge of Honda’s corporate governance program for Argentina and works closely with Honda’s regional base in Brazil and its corporate headquarters in Japan. He began his career in 2001 as in-house counsel for the retailer C&A. He was promoted to the role of head of legal in 2008 and, the following year, was appointed as part of the three-person management team responsible for winding up C&A’s operations in Argentina. Monti led on all legal aspects of the closure and sale of the company, receiving widespread praise for handling a wealth of hugely complicated issues that arose during the process.
Having been an in-house lawyer at Unilever since 1995, Paula Morrone has over two decades of experience in a variety of roles at the global consumer goods company culminating in her promotion to legal director of the Southern Cone region in November 2016. Tremendously well-regarded in the industry, Morrone holds legal qualifications including postgraduate degrees in business law and law and economics. Her work will be increasingly important to the consumer giant, with a recent trend in Unilever subsidiaries across the world having to deal with market-specific circumstances that are presenting volatile and uncertain consumer trends. In Argentina specifically, efforts to offset the difficulties the country’s hyperinflation is having on the consumer goods market will require input from Morrone and the rest of the legal function to ensure any solutions and new activities are conducted in a legally compliant and sustainable way.
A brilliant lawyer with strong skills in intellectual property and contract negotiation, Santiago Ojea Quintana has been the general counsel of Holcim Argentina since July 2014. Known as a ‘proactive and responsible’ lawyer, Ojea has received credit for his level of professionalism and personal ethics. His short tenure at Holcim, a global building materials and aggregates company, is characterised by vast improvements to the legal team’s work culture, as well as a closer cooperation between legal and the rest of the business. Prior to joining Holcim, Ojea was a compliance manager at GlaxoSmithKline’s office in Buenos Aires covering Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Prior to that, Ojea worked in-house at Techint and in private practice at King & Spalding.
María Mercedes Olano heads the legal function at the Buenos Aires branch of Japanese financial institution The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, where she takes a proactive approach in achieving optimal business development in a legally and regulatory compliant way. Reporting to the general counsel in New York and the bank’s head office in Tokyo, she is charged with providing comprehensive legal support for all activities related to the Argentinian branch of the bank. She has recently been tackling particularly challenging issues relating to the analysis of international regulations – the bank is subject to several of these including FCPA, UK Bribery Act and FATCA regulations. More locally, she is the key contact within the company for matters including the filing of relevant documents before Argentinian financial authorities and the selection and maintenance of external law firm panels. She has an excellent track record of providing legal services to banks including four years in-house at Banco Columbia, and six years practicing at the law firm Gonzalez & Ferraro Mila. Building her skills in these roles, she dealt with several aspects of corporate law and M&A whilst amassing a wealth of knowledge in conducting due diligence and presiding over numerous agreements and contracts at the firm. Admitted to both the Buenos Aires Bar Association and the Buenos Aires Banking Bar Association, she is notable for being active outside her corporate legal roles, having obtained postgraduate qualifications in finance and banking law and corporate economic law from Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires.
As legal affairs director for Argentina and senior counsel for Latin America, Mariana Oteiza heads a large legal team that supports the affairs of Turner Broadcasting Systems, a group of companies that produces and distributes basic television networks across the Latin American region. A highly ambitious, creative and proactive lawyer with a proven ability to solve problems both creatively and analytically, Oteiza provides advice on various issues facing the company, related to negotiation, production, human resources, marketing and ethics among others. Apart from achievements in shaping the compliance policy of her company and introducing comprehensive training initiatives, Oteiza’s eight year tenure at Turner is marked by shaping a flexible legal team that has received praise for its efficiency in analysing, negotiating, drafting and reviewing all supplier contracts in Argentina. Prior to moving to the media sector, Oteiza worked in private practice at the Buenos Aires based law firms Brons & Salas and Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martinez de Hoz(h) (PAGBAM).
Founded in 2005, Pampa Energía is the largest integrated electricity company in Argentina, which through its subsidiaries is engaged in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to more than 2.5 million customers. Led by highly rated Argentinian lawyer, Gerardo Paz, the legal team of the company is responsible for providing operational legal support across Argentina, as well providing key strategic advice on important deals. In 2016, Paz received praise for supporting the purchase of Petrobras Argentina by Pampa Energía for $1.2bn, enabling the company to widen its existing range of energy assets, including natural gas and oil rights. In addition, Paz has impressed with his ongoing advice to the company on various management levels. Prior to assuming his current role as director of legal and regulatory affairs, Paz worked in a less senior managerial role at the company and before that worked as legal affairs manager at Camuzzi Gas Pampeana. Paz started his legal career at Ente Nacional Regulador de la Electricidad.
Germán Guillermo Pennimpede joined the Argentine operations of Samsung Electronics in autumn 2016 as head of legal, public affairs and compliance for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Although relatively new to the company, he has already helped Samsung sign up to the new electronic notification system of the National Consumer Defence Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Defensa del Consumidor). This simplified platform will help Samsung and its customers reduce the need for lengthy and bureaucratic processes in settling disputes. He moved in-house in 2011, where he served as Pernod Ricard’s head of legal, public affairs and compliance for Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. He has previously held positions with a number of leading Latin American law firms, including Estudio Beccar Varela, and at the São Paulo offices of Pinheiro Neto Advogados. After the research deadline of this publication passed, Germán Guillermo Pennimpede moved to his current role at Coca-Cola FEMSA Argentina as their legal and corporate relationships director.
Since 1898 British American Tobacco has produced and marketed cigarettes in Argentina under various brand names and currently employs approximately 850 people across a corporate office, an industrial plant and distribution centres across the country. In 2016, it assumed the name and branding of British American Tobacco (having previously been known as Nobleza Piccardo), aligning it with the corporate brand used in more than 180 countries worldwide. The Argentinian subsidiary of British American Tobacco has established itself as a profitable entity in its own right, despite challenges in the market including severe price competition and new enforcement actions by the government. Despite being based in Chile, Rodolfo Perazzo has a remit that covers the entire Southern Cone region for British American Tobacco as its legal director. Highlighting his exceptional work in the region, Perazzo has received praise from nominators for succeeding in his role as ‘an Argentine lawyer working in a different country with different laws and regulations’. Perazzo is commended across several areas including his leadership, planning, business strategy and company law.
A tremendously experienced lawyer with a huge amount of expertise in the highly regulated telecommunications sector, Alejandro Pinedo is the secretary general of the Argentinean subsidiary of the Telefónica Group, one of the leading mobile and broadband operators in the market. In providing legal advice with regards to the various activities of the company, covering telephony and internet support services, Pinedo is challenged by a regulatory framework in Argentina that is constantly changing and tightening. In addition to his role at Telefónica de Argentina, Pinedo has had an extensive private practice career in Argentinian law firms including over five years at Estudio Basílico, Fernández Madero & Duggan and time at Estudio Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martínez de Hoz (h) (PAGBAM). Pinedo arrived at Telefónica in 2003 after completing a role as legal manager for oil and gas at Pecom Energía, meaning he has almost 15 years of experience as a corporate lawyer for one of the most important companies in the sector.
Taking charge of a team of 17 in her role as general counsel for Walmart Argentina, Brenda Puig has provided the Argentinian subsidiary of the world’s largest company with excellent leadership and consistent safeguarding against the diverse issues it faces in the country. A competent lawyer with a ‘high profile in her industry’ and a management style dedicated to ‘getting the team involved in the business and finding ways to add value’, Puig stresses that it has been a ‘priority’ to look for the most innovative ways of working, making her department’s processes as ‘efficient and simple’ as possible with a constant eye on managing expenses. With a solid reporting line to the Walmart International general counsel, Puig states that Argentina is a ‘very challenging market from a business standpoint, even more so during the last years’. Results for the legal team at the retail giant are predicated on being flexible ‘in order to be of help to the business, without compromising our ethics and compliance standards’. Assuming her current role in 2011, Puig is known in the market for being ‘a versatile lawyer with a vast experience and knowledge of the major retail market’. Before her move in-house, Puig spent six years practicing at M&M Bomchil Abogados in Buenos Aires.
‘I firmly believe that, in addition to accurately identifying potential exposure to liabilities and to help pre-emptively addressing them, a good in-house counsel should also seek to create value for the company, be that by making it more efficient or by spotting new business opportunities,’ says Julián Razumny, corporate legal manager and advisor to the board at Tapebicuá Group, a subsidiary of the forest industry company Celulosa Argentina. Upon joining the business in 2009, Razumny helped prepare the company for a smooth transition into its current international profile, by means of engaging in more international and cross-border transactions involving the different companies of the group. He says: ‘I assisted the Group in expanding the range of its business by providing tailored counselling with a holistic approach, taking advantage of my past experience with major firms. Rather than sitting in the back seat of any given transaction, I proactively engaged in-house and external counsel teams to maximise the legal input in consonance with the business needs’. Even though his employer is the oldest public company listed on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, Razumny’s arrival saw the company issue corporate bonds that were never issued before. Razumny, also, deployed a complex capital markets structure for his company that tapped into European and US capital markets. On the transactional front, Razumny has impressed with negotiating the acquisition of new machinery and production lines that were key to the changing profile of the group. ‘We achieved a turnkey production line for tissue paper, the first of its kind in Argentina in the last 25 years,’ he asserts. ‘I was involved in securing the most beneficial legal structure for the financing and the purchase of the new equipment’. Following several waves of regulatory changes in the aftermath of Argentina’s financial crisis of 2001 and the resulting restrictions on economic activity, Razumny and his team have been tasked with ensuring the swift operation of the group. ‘The key to successfully tackling all of these changes was to keep ourselves sharp and constantly updated, attending training sessions or industry meetings in order to anticipate the needs of the Group in said new context. Being able to immediately implement all regulatory changes, while minimising the impact of the lack of legal stability for our business was key to our Group’s success and where I was able to contribute. Having postgraduate degrees in corporate finance was certainly an asset in trying to deliver legally sound and economically adaptive efficient responses’.
Beginning her in-house career at global medical devices company St. Jude Medical in 2008, Ines Riobo first came to the healthcare industry after gaining years of experience in law firms and at the National Senate, most notably as an associate at Baker McKenzie where she was employed for a decade. These experiences suitably prepared her for her current role as the head of legal for three different subsidiaries of pharmaceutical company Sanofi. Presiding over the legal affairs of Sanofi-Aventis, Sanofi Pasteur and Genzyme, Riobo must take a cross-border approach to her work, with matters and responsibilities rooted in countries across the region including in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia. Nominators spoke of Riobo’s all-round approach to legal function management, in particular her efforts to ‘train employees, distributors and agents’ and her ‘broad involvement’ in policy-violation investigations, successfully saving huge amounts of time and revenue for the company.
In December 2015 Mercedes Rodriguez Canedo was appointed as vice president legal for the South Latin business unit within The Coca-Cola Company’s Global Legal Function, in addition to holding a position as the local ethics officer. With over 16 years of experience within The Coca-Cola Company in Buenos Aires, Rodriguez has a deep knowledge of the inner workings of the company and the legal affairs it encounters across Latin America. The Coca-Cola Company has a long history in Argentina having had a presence there for over 74 years, and is currently investing $1bn into four bottling plants in the market. In addition to her organisational skills and flexibility, she is known for her ability to tackle issues related to IP, trademarks, licencing and contract negotiation. A well-rounded lawyer who has the tools to continue to uphold the reputation she has accrued over her career, Rodriguez advises one of the world’s largest and most notable company’s.
Since becoming general counsel at the Argentinian IT and software company Globant in 2013, Patricio Pablo Rojo has contributed to the company’s rapid growth and expansion into new markets, including providing legal support to its initial public offering (IPO) in New York in 2014 – the first IPO by a Latin American company on the New York Stock Exchange. Driven by a growing demand for digital services and its attraction rate for customers in diversified sectors, Globant has established a solid presence in developed markets, deriving approximately 90% of its revenues from North America and Europe. A lawyer with a good understanding of business and a flair for innovation, Pablo Rojo has been a vital part of Globant’s strategy to offer “digital journeys” for its clients, moving away from a model of a traditional software business to that of an innovator in digital services. In particular, he is known for his contribution to several corporate transactions conducted by Globant globally, including the acquisition of the London based digital services firm WAE in 2016. Previously, Pablo Rojo accumulated over a decade of experience in private practice at the firms Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, PwC and Baker McKenzie.
Francisco Romano has comprehensive experience that he brings to a wide-reaching role as managing counsel for Chevron’s Latin America business unit. Building on time spent in various companies within the energy sector, Romano is a highly specialised lawyer who is the first non-American to achieve the position of managing counsel within Chevron Latin America. Romano assumed the position with a well-rounded academic background in addition to being ‘a Spanish speaking civil law lawyer with a lot of experience in common law jurisdictions and knowledge of the oil and gas business in Latin America’. With 12 lawyers and six non-legal staff reporting into him, Romano places great importance on satisfying stakeholders in the relevant jurisdictions and relies on his ‘disperse group of lawyers with very diverse skillsets and experience’ to help him achieve this goal. Enjoying a close relationship with senior leadership in the company, Romano is a close confidant for the business, in particular the CEO with whom he shares a direct report and works with ‘together… to always reach alignment on the best way to go’. Having been involved in an ‘unconventional oil and gas transaction’ with TPF, Romano explains that the most important aspects of the in-house role is adding value to business and taking steps to ascertain the importance of legal to the business function.
Praised by colleagues for being ‘an excellent professional, proactive and with a high sense of commitment’ who ‘stands out for his leadership and for his business vision’, Gonzalo Ruiz Diaz is legal and compliance manager for the Argentina subsidiary of ManpowerGroup, the multinational human resourcing company. With a presence in Argentina that extends to over 50 years in the market and approximately 2,400 clients, Ruiz’s day-to-day work is ensuring the Group’s activities in the country, which range from search and selection of staff, training and project outsourcing, are conducted in a legally compliant way. He also has his finger on the pulse of the wider legal industry, contributing to the pool of knowledge and resources available for lawyers having authored four articles on trade law treaties. Ruiz has spent over 15 years at Manpower Argentina undertaking a variety of legal roles in that period; after joining as a paralegal in 2000 he spent time as a junior and senior lawyer before being appointed legal and corporate relations chief, from which he was promoted to the role of legal affairs manager in May 2012.
Sergio Ricardo Salmi has spent nearly 20 years working in-house in the Argentine finance sector and has served as general counsel at Banco Itaú Argentina, a subsidiary of the Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco, since 2010. Ricardo Salmi currently leads a team of 12 lawyers and oversees legal, contentious and corporate affairs for the group across Argentina. Before joining Banco Itaú Argentina, he worked within the insurance division of BBVA for nearly 13 years. He was previously recognised in The Legal 500 GC Powerlist – Latin America for his many contributions to banking and finance law in Argentina and for his work to change the structure of the Banco Itaú Argentina legal team, including implementing legal directors. Since that time he has continued to innovate within his role, supporting the bank’s operations through a period of significant economic and political change in the country.
Mondelēz, the multinational consumer goods company that originated from the division of Kraft Foods in 2012, has invested more than $100m in Argentina over the last few years. Lead by Ignacio Santurio, legal director for the entire Southern Cone region, Mondelēz’s legal team has overseen the company’s accession to the position of leader in the Argentinian confectionary market with an annual turnover in excess of 5.6bn pesos. Over the years Santurio, and his highly qualified and flexible team of lawyers, has provided ‘outstanding’ legal support to Mondelēz’s four plants in Argentina located in Pacheco, Victoria and Las Heras in the province of Buenos Aires, and in Villa Mercedes, San Luis. In addition, the team has been praised for providing strategic legal advice to the wide assortment of global brands operated by the company, including Cadbury, Milka, Terrabusi, Royal, Tang, Clight, Beldent, Bazooka, Mantecol and DRF.
Daniel Seoane has served as vice president of legal and compliance at Seguros Sura Argentina since May 2016. A member of Colombia-based Sura Group – one of the largest financial services groups in Latin America and the majority shareholder in Bancolombia – Seguros Sura Argentina was formed during Sura Group’s acquisition of the Latin American assets of UK insurer Royal & Sun Alliance, where Seoane had served as legal director for Argentina since 2011. Seoane’s input and guidance during the acquisition and integration meant that he was the perfect candidate to continue the oversight of the new entity. Seoane is praised for his ‘excellent skills as a lawyer and his thorough understanding of a wide range of matters impacting the insurance sector’. Before moving in-house, Seoane spent 13 years at Argentine firm Estudio Beccar Varela.
Since July 2015, Paula Gonzalez Silvestrin has been legal manager at Banco Industrial, an Argentine bank specialising in loans to small and medium-sized businesses. Gonzalez has extensive experience advising domestic and international companies in commercial matters and has a detailed knowledge of Argentine and wider regional regulatory frameworks. She has previously worked within the Ministry of Economy as a legal adviser to the secretary of finance for Argentina, as director of legal and compliance for Argentina, Chile and Peru at US multinational telecommunications and internet service provider Level 3 Communications and as senior lawyer at leading Argentine firm Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi.
With almost three decades of experience at Socma and Sideco Americana, an engineering, construction, real estate development, concessions and utilities company, Antonio Solsona currently serves as its attorney general counsel and is responsible for the management of the legal department in its mission to assist the company over the various legal and compliance hurdles it encounters. Solsona has been praised for his ‘broad experience’ and is ‘greatly respected amongst his peers and colleagues as a seasoned leader with the highest calibre of professional skills and legal instincts’. Business law specialist Solsona mainly focusses on corporate matters and provides legal assistance in both Spanish and English.
Ramón Sosa heads legal affairs at Frávega, one of Argentina’s largest retailers of electrical and household appliances. He advises on a range of corporate and legal matters across the company, from negotiating contracts, reviewing documentation, managing and coordinating the legal team, and representing the company in consumer and employee related disputes. He is also closely involved in Frávega’s developing of responses to changing consumer behaviour. Recently, Frávega announced plans to offer mobile phone services to its customers via the networks of more traditional providers. The so-called virtual network operator model is common in many countries but, to date, the only such provider in Argentina has been the relatively small-scale operator Nuestro. Sosa had a key part to play in adapting this model to the scale necessary for Frávega. Before joining Frávega in 2015, Sosa was a lawyer at the Argentinian Ministry of Economy and Public Finance dealing with competition and consumer law cases.
Starting his legal career at notable Argentinian law firm Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal, Ignacio Terrera amassed over five years of private practice experience before moving in-house; assuming the role of legal affairs manager at Cervecería Argentina Isenbeck - SABMiller, one of the world’s leading brewing companies, in 2012. Praised by a nominator for having ‘extensive experience in corporate law’, Terrera has a day-to-day responsibility to ensure all of the company’s brands are protected and that the business is performing in both emerging and established markets. According to a nominator’s comments, Terrera is a ‘valuable asset’ to Isenbeck, a ‘very reliable’ leader with ‘an excellent capacity for team work’ and has a ‘unique and efficient approach’. Terrera is also noted as having the ‘education, legal skills, dedication, breadth and depth of experience’ to assist the portfolio of products which includes premium international beers as well as leading local brands. His knowledge and experience has been cited as ‘very valuable’ to his colleagues by a private practice source.
Tomás Thibaud has made a substantial contribution to multinational conglomerate 3M through a variety of roles across a wide range of legal and corporate areas, after first joining in 2005 as an intern in the Argentine legal department. Thibaud has become known for the high standard of his work and he has been a propagator of compliance culture that has the aim of being ‘best in class’. For example, he has piloted several compliance initiatives in 3M Argentina before they are subsequently implemented in other subsidiaries of 3M around the world. Thibaud explains how this change of culture was ‘embraced by colleagues at the board of directors [level] and cascaded to the whole organisation’, speaking to his excellent communicative ability with colleagues. Despite recent conditions providing ‘really challenging’ for a company whose headquarters are based in the USA, Thibaud has worked closely with senior management and other colleagues to lead efforts to implement a strategic business plan with the input of the legal and compliance functions, efforts which have resulted in ‘reducing losses on claims’. Further impressive results include a 55% reduction in total claims over total sales and a 45% reduction in the total claims liability. A private practice source praised Thibaud’s ‘great skills’ in handling 3M legal matters and stated that his work is ‘very proactive’ as he ‘fully understands the business’. In addition to his role at 3M, Thibaud is a well-respected and recognised industry figure, being a member of the board of directors of the Argentina chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and giving speeches to audiences at several different conferences and panels across Latin America.
Molinos Río de la Plata is Argentina’s largest branded food-products company and is a subsidiary of the Perez Companc Family Group. Heading up the legal and compliance function is Ana Carina Turco Grecco, who first joined the company in 2000 as its head of corporate matters, gaining six years of experience managing considerable transactional activity before becoming legal manager in 2006. In 2014, due to a special request of the board of directors, she added compliance responsibilities to her remit. With 12 lawyers, two paralegals and three food engineers reporting into her, she takes it upon to herself to maintain ‘a deep understanding of the organisation’. Succeeding in providing ‘innovative solutions to reach business objectives’ and ‘different ways of approaching problems and opportunities’, she keeps the business tuned in to all relevant compliance matters via her direct reporting lines to the CEO and the internal audit committee. Turco has managed numerous important transactions that were made more difficult due to political and economic changes in Argentina, which she states have a ‘great impact’ on her ability to perform them. She attributes success in navigating these challenges to the close ties between legal and senior strategic directors, which are necessary in the face of directly assisting the business of what has become Argentina’s largest food company. Turco is particularly proud of creating a ‘legal culture’ in the organisation and states that business people within the company see the legal department as a ‘partner’ and ‘solutions provider’.
As legal studies senior manager of the Central Bank of the Republic of Argentina (BCRA), Maria del Carmen Urquiza occupies a highly specialised and technical role at Argentina’s Central Bank covering all matters in domestic and international law, including various interspersed financial crises in Argentina over the last 20 years. First joining the BCRA in 1981, she has spent her entire career at the bank in various roles. She currently focusses on providing legal counsel on all technical matters concerning international law as well as research and educational provisions. In charge of multidisciplinary team of 21 employees, including lawyers, translators and administrative personnel, she states her goal has always been ‘to encourage the legal team to embrace new challenges’, which are plentiful in Argentina’s unpredictable economy. Her wide-ranging remit sees her report to various internal parties including the governor and board of directors, whilst contributing to the advancement of the profession through research and knowledge promotion. This work has assumed various forms in her long association with the bank including ‘several studies on central banking and the financial system’ including ‘delivering lectures on such topics at various international forums, such as the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies’. She has enjoyed numerous successes while at the BCRA, including intervening in the renegotiation of Argentine public international debt during the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in the development of the Brady Plan. She has also counselled on several bank restructures, implemented new financing instruments and represented the National Securities Commission and BCRA during the drafting of important securities law at The Hague Conference. One of her recent career highlights is providing legal counsel in a complex repurchase agreement between the BCRA and a consortium of international banks for financing purposes, achieved after an ‘intense’ period of negotiation.
Banco Macro is one of Argentina’s largest domestically-owned banks, and from its headquarters in Bueno Aires offers a range of banking and financial services including loans, credit cards and life insurance. With approximately 8,700 employees, Banco Macro is currently the private bank with the largest network of branches throughout the country. Ensuring the bank is compliant and in-line with a complex set of regulations in Argentina, María José Van Morlegan acts as legal manager for the company and is able to bring a competent, experienced and efficient way of working to ensure the bank’s compliance and security during its growth. A specialist in banking and finance law and M&A deals, according to one source, María José Van Morlegan has ‘sound experience advising local and international companies’, having ‘represented multinational companies in the acquisition and/or financing of assets located in the country, as well as banks in local and international debt and equity financing operations’.
Multinational conglomerate DuPont’s operations in Argentina are spread across Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Santa Fe and involve several different aspects of the global business including polymer production engineering, industrial biosciences plant and crop protection offices. Ensuring these activities are legally compliant whilst facilitating business growth, Juan Manuel Vaquer is both associate general counsel for Argentina and president of the wider Latin America region. A long tenured and dedicated in-house counsel, Vaquer first joined DuPont Argentina as a lawyer in 1990 and has worked in many different territories for the company, serving in positions across Europe and Latin America including senior positions in Switzerland and Chile. Reliable, knowledgeable and a trusted leader, Vaquer became vice president of legal for Latin America in 2003 and in 2008 was named president of DuPont for Southern Cone (covering Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay). Vaquer assumed his current role in October 2015, marking his 25th year with the company. Blending his duties as president and associate general counsel, truly highlights the nature of the in-house lawyer role today – no decision can be made without considering the implications from both a legal and commercial stance. In addition to his impressive career at DuPont, Vaquer holds positions in several industry bodies and committees, including serving as the current president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States in Argentina, a member of the Board of CEADS (Council of Argentine Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development), a member of the Executive Committee of IDEA (Institute for Business Development of Argentina) and vice president of AACCLA (Association of Chambers of Commerce of the United States to Latin America).
Praised for her impressive capacity to deal with legal requirements and political restrictions that affect Argentina’s automotive industry, Andrea Ventrice is a professional capable of approaching tasks from a critical and analytical standpoint and adapting to the needs of her internal customer. Currently working as a legal counsel at Yamaha Motor Argentina, Ventrice is highly valued by senior management, and often relied upon for advice on important strategic issues. Since joining the company in 2009, Ventrice has grown immensely as a professional, becoming a well-recognised figure company-wide for her contribution to the successful operation of the business. In particular, Ventrice has received praise for overseeing the legal affairs of Yamaha and ensuring that it is in good legal shape during a difficult time for the company, when it lacked importations permits in Argentina. Prior to moving in-house, Ventrice spent nearly 10 years at Abeledo Gottheil Abogados.
Federico Verdier has been head of legal and corporate affairs at the Argentine division of Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest global franchise bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, since 2008. Verdier advises the company on all internal legal matters including disputes, bank and intercompany loans, mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts and overseeing negotiations with suppliers and customers. Verdier is also responsible for external affairs including maintaining relations with public and regulatory bodies, overseeing environmental affairs and coordinating Coca-Cola FEMSA Argentina’s corporate and social responsibility initiatives. Before moving in-house, Verdier was a senior associate at Argentine firm Padilla, Kenny & Alchourron.
ESPN International in Argentina is advised by principal counsel Federico Vibes, who joined the Argentinean subsidiary of the global media company in June 2013. Vibes is an expert in entertainment and sports law, copyright, trademarks and internet law, all of which are essential for the continued success of the company. In addition to his outstanding in-house career Vibes has an extensive amount of experience in the academic realm; he has written several articles in legal and journalistic publications as well as publishing four books covering topics such as IP law, entertainment law and sports law. Praised for possessing a ‘great knowledge of an always changing and challenging industry’, Vibes is a ‘well known practitioner in the entertainment industry with a great knowledge of the local and global business’. In 2007 Vibes was given an award by the American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina, recognising his input into the industry as a corporate lawyer.
Gonzalo Videla is a young and brilliant lawyer, known for his leadership skills, team work and ability to communicate and negotiate effectively. Since joining Merck in 2013 as legal and compliance director responsible for the Southern Cone of Latin America, Videla has introduced fundamental changes to the legal unit that have resulted in noticeable improvements to its work. Apart from standardising work in the department and simplifying certain procedures, Videla also automated processes so that the direct involvement of his team was not always needed, thus freeing up resources and allowing for more efficient use of time. Videla is also known for his excellent transactional record, in particular, closing strategic partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies involving contracts that contained important legal and compliance content. Prior to joining Merck, Videla worked as a legal manager for Walmart in Argentina and as an associate at Perez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martinez de Hoz (h).
Working as legal director for the Southern Cone region at global sportswear brand Nike, Pablo Windhausen is commended for having developed ‘an impressive capacity to reconcile the high standards of the company with the local and regional legal challenges’ the company faces. Based in Argentina but with a remit that covers the countries making up the Southern Cone area of Latin America, Windhausen deals with the numerous legal and regulatory challenges the company encounters with efficiency and accuracy. Nominators praised his ability to cover ‘several areas such as customs, exchange controls, tax and contractual matters’ for one of the most reputable companies in the sports and leisure apparel industry. Nike currently has a number of high-level sponsorship deals within Argentina, including football club Boca Juniors, the country’s national rugby union team and the Argentine Basketball Federation.
Cablevisión is one of Latin America’s largest cable television operators and one of the region’s main telecommunications companies, operating pay-tv, internet and telephone services through a single network. In 2003 Cablevisión acquired Argentina-based internet service provider Fibertel. It was itself acquired by media conglomerate Grupo Clarín and merged with Argentine pay-tv operator Multicanal in 2006. In 2009, Walter Würst assumed the position of head of legal affairs for corporate matters at Cablevisión. The company’s legal affairs are handled thematically, with operations and human resources led by Maria Torrens and criminal matters and piracy led by Piris Sergio. Nominators praised the entire legal team as a standout in the Latin American media sector though Würst was singled out in particular for his broad-ranging contributions to Cablevisión. He oversees all drafting and negotiation related to commercial contracts as well as managing relationships with broadcast and regulatory bodies and assisting in intellectual property matters and cases related to piracy. Before joining Cablevisión, Würst spent around 15 years working at a number of prominent Argentine law firms. Würst left Cablevisión in late 2016 after the research period of this publication.
With almost 25 years in the legal department of global conglomerate Cargill, Cynthia Zarranz is one of the most experienced and well-known in-house lawyers in Argentina and currently holds the position of legal director for the Southern Cone (covering Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and Chile). Having worked for the company in the United States and Argentina she has a wide perspective of the company’s vast worldwide operations that encompass many different business interests. Cargill is the largest privately owned company in world, introducing a unique dynamic, and a significant emphasis on cross-border work, to its legal requirements. A multi-lingual lawyer with expertise in several complex practice areas crucial to the wellbeing of the company in the Southern Cone, Zarranz is known for her work on matters including litigation, corporate governance, corporate law, transactions, litigation and competition law amongst others. Zarranz is not only praised by nominators from private practice, but also received internal recognition from Cargill’s High Performance Leadership Academy, providing an excellent measure of her value and respect within the organisation.
Federico Fernández Zavalía is a general counsel with substantial international in-house and private practice experience gained in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, energy and recruitment industries. Well versed in dealing with day-to-day legal risk, as well as working on corporate M&A deals, compliance and governance matters, and extensive regulatory work, Fernández has been applauded for his deep knowledge of the law and strategic and commercial vision. Since October 2015, Fernández has been head of legal for the South American Cluster of multinational healthcare company Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Covering a region comprised of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, Fernández reports to the head of legal for Latin America and Brazil based in Mexico. Prior to this role he served as general counsel for Argentina and Uruguay for the company, and before that acted as a senior associate at Studio Trevisan Lawyers. The first in-house legal role in Fernández’s legal career was with Adecco Argentina between 2005 and 2007.
Ines Zerdan is the vice president of legal affairs for the Argentinean branch of global financial services company American Express, which provides various financial products for corporate and personal use including credit cards, charge cards and insurance products. Nominators praised Zerdan’s abilities, describing her as having developed ‘an impressive capacity to reconcile the challenges of a business that is growing fast’, echoing the changing nature of the financial services market in the wake of economic uncertainty both domestically and globally. Being in charge of legal affairs at one of the more dynamic companies in the sector, Zerdan has had to contend with a rapidly expanding business along with a local legal and regulatory environment that is known as being ‘demanding’. Dealing with these challenges and being at the forefront of strategic decision making, Zerdan ‘has become one of the most prominent general counsel in the Argentine financial services industry’, according to a private practice source. Zerdan spent five years in private practice at Ortiz & Asociados honing her skills and becoming an associate before she made the move in-house and passed the NY Bar in 1999.
Victoria Zolezzi, Roche’s legal and compliance director in Argentina, is recognised for her skills in negotiating contracts and conducting due diligence for corporate transactions. Zolezzi’s role at the pharmaceutical giant, encompasses leading a highly effective team of professionals that provides business support and ensures compliance with local laws, principles and corporate policies. Over the past nine years Zolezzi and her team have established a reputation internally for their capacity to provide top notch legal advice across the firm’s vast portfolio of services in the Pharma, Diabetes and Diagnostics divisions and oversee all corporate affairs and intellectual property issues in a prompt and timely manner. Before joining Roche as a legal counsel in 2005, Zolezzi worked at the Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal law firm.
Baker McKenzie is proud to be part of the first edition of the GC Powerlist Argentina. We congratulate everyone on this distinguished list for very well deserved recognition.
These are interesting times for the legal profession in Argentina with many potential changes of our legal framework. These proposed revisions highlight the important role that general counsel play, now more than ever, in our country. In our daily work with clients, we can see the challenges in-house legal teams face and we take pride in being able to work together to provide timely advice on the most complex matters.
The business climate in Argentina creates different challenges. After the first year of a new government, we are confident of more stability in the long term. However, we cannot rely solely on the government to promote that stability, we also need to create a genuine consensus across the political and social spectrum to go in a certain direction. We have to work together to build a more predictable and stable future for all.
We now live in a more business-friendly environment in Argentina, but it is still essential that foreign and domestic investors understand the current economic, institutional and social landscape. This market has a great deal to offer in order to attract investment into our country, and there are plenty of opportunities for companies to expand their businesses.
With over 30 years of experience in the Argentine market, Baker McKenzie is one of the most reputable law firms in the country, bringing deep local knowledge. As one of the largest global law firms in the world, we have a broad global perspectivethat allows us to solve complex legal matters for our clients.
Our strategic priorities are:
Growing our client’s business
We seamlessly combine the experience of an established local legal team with the unmatched resources of a global firm. Our advisers work collaboratively to help with all your issues, whether in meeting day-to-day compliance issues or implementing complex projects and transactions.
Strengthening business partnership
As a fully integrated practice, our attorneys specialize in different areas of law, which allow us to have a clear understanding of our client’s issues and implications. We choose the best and most cost-effective approach for our clients. Our work method is pragmatic, actively embracing any business situation and ensuring that our advice includes both commercial and legal solutions.
Managing key issues
We approach the client-attorney relationship as a business partnership, and we endeavor to truly understand our client needs. Our promise is to offer a tailored approach not only to protect our clients’ legal interests but also add commercial value to their transactions. We have designated partners, fully supported by specialist groups, who assume the responsibility of managing all matters.
Corporate social responsibility
Helping the communities in which we operate is an integral part of our work. We leverage our Talent, geographic reach, and resources to make a positive and lasting impact on many of today’s social and economic challenges. Through our Corporate Social Responsibility program we inspire our colleagues to make a difference, and collaborate with clients who share the same commitment to social justice.
Best wishes to everyone named in this publication, we look forward to working together with you in 2017 and beyond.
GC Powerlist is a trading name of The Legal 500 Series and Legalease Ltd, and operates in multiple legal jurisdictions worldwide.