GC Powerlist Chile
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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: Chile, 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 Chile, 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: Chile 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: Chile, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Chile 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: Chile
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Diego Aedo de la Cuadra
Francisco Javier Allendes,
Juan Pablo Araya
Banco Central de Chile
Jean Paul Azaro
Head of legal and compliance officer
Vice president legal, external affairs and sustainability
Sierra Gorda SCM
Legal vice president – general counsel
Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco)
Pablo Bauer Novoa
General counsel and company secretary
COMPAÑÍA SUDAMERICANA DE VAPORES (CSAV)
Legal affairs manager
Compañía Cervecerías Unidas (CCU)
Rafael Bilbao Deramond
Chief legal advisor
Mutual de Seguridad
Nicolas Cabello Eterovic
Alejandro Barack Canut De Bon Lagos
Manager of legal and compliance
Lumina Copper Chile
General counsel Latam Pacific
Legal director Chile
Barrick Gold Corporation
Matias Concha Vial
Compass Group Chile
Diego Corp Hoces de la Guardia
General counsel and director of technical services
Head of legal services
Mainstream Renewable Power Chile
Juan Carlos Corvalán Reyes
Legal affairs and corporate social responsibility manager
Rafael Cox M.
Group general counsel
Alfredo del Carril
General counsel and head of business development
Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP)
Legal manager South America
Indura SA Air Products Group
Corporate legal manager
Ana María Emilfork
Vice president of legal
General counsel Chile
Enzo Ferrari Montofré
Director of legal and regulatory
Chief legal counsel
Raúl Patricio Fuentes Mechasqui
Gustavo G. Mármol Alioto
Legal director, commercial and privacy and security Latin America
Rafael Goldsack Trebilcock
Atiaia Energía Chile
Duncan Grob Urzúa
Corporate legal manager
José Tomás Guzmán Rencoret
Corporate counsel and secretary of the board of directors
Mauricio Halpern Alamos
Chief legal counsel
Francisco Javier Hernández Merino
Legal affairs manager
Williamson Balfour Motors (BMW Chile)
General counsel and corporate secretary
Legal counsel, Pharmaceutical, Consumer Health & Vegetable Seeds Legal Business Partner Chile
Legal head and compliance officer
Roberto ladrón de Guevara
Legal director and general counsel
Freeport-McMoRan South América
Juan Esteban Laval Zaldivar
Banking Association of Chile
Legal affairs manager
Empresas La Polar
Oscar Lira Valdes
Andres Lopez Campos
Abertis Autopistas Chile
Jaime Luarte Julio
Head of legal – Minerals Americas
Rodrigo Mackenna Cooper
General counsel Chile
Legal director Chile
Kinross Gold Corporation
Pablo Mattar Oyarzún
Chief counsel of normative legal services, deputy general counsel and attesting officer
Banco Central de Chile
Cristián Maturana Miquel
Paul Reginald McDonnell Huerta
Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (BCI)
Juan Carlos Mencio
Senior vice president of legal affairs
LATAM Airlines Group
Jose Ignacio Merino
Regional compliance director – Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia
Alan Moya Dupre
Legal counsel and regional compliance officer LATAM
Corporate lawyer and compliance
Regional legal director
Juan Eduardo Naylor Razeto
General counsel and lead power generation lawyer
Pedro Neira Asenjo
Banco del Estado de Chile (BancoEstado)
Empresas Jürgen Paulmann
Concha y Toro
Vice president legal and corporate
Juan Pablo Suffiotti
Echeverría Izquierdo Montajes Industriales
Diego Peró Ovalle
Carlos Prat Guarachi
Aníbal Prieto Larrain
Chief legal counsel
ENGIE ENERGÍA CHILE
ENEL GENERACIÓN CHILE
Senior legal counsel - South Cone region
GE Energy Connections
Patricio Reyes Urrutia
Sebastian Rivera Martinez
Legal manager Chile and regional compliance officer
Nelson Rojas Preter
General counsel and secretary
Banco de Chile
Alejandro A. Rubilar
Senior country counsel Chile
Rafael Salas Cox
Director of legal services
Legal and corporate affairs director
Hernán Silva Villalobos
Corporate manager of legal affairs and governance
Michael Timmermann Slater
Chief legal officer
Latin American Power (LAP)
Cristián Toro Cañas
Luis Andrés Ulloa M.
Corporate affairs, legal and compliance head
José Pedro Urrutia
General counsel Chile
Domingo Valdés Prieto
Hernán Felipe Velasco
In-house legal counsel
Andes Mining & Energy
María de Lourdes Velásquez
Head of legal
Deputy legal counsel and head of litigation and regulation
Legal manager, Projects and Supply – Minerals Americas
Resiter operates waste management services throughout Chile, and in recent years it has expanded its services to new sectors such as forestry, oil, aquaculture, dairy, food, retail, agro-industrial, and entered the wastewater treatment business. In 2017 Resiter completed the acquisition of a 70% stake in Colombian company Andria Logística, thereby creating the company Andria-Resiter in the country. To facilitate its growth plans, Resiter recently hired Diego Aedo de la Cuadra as general counsel. He previously worked in the Chilean legal teams of Compass Group, world-leading food services company, and ISS, the world’s leading facility services company. Having achieved expert skills in labour law, litigation and collective bargaining matters in those roles, he was hired by Resiter to manage relations with its extensive workforce and also handle compliance with a number of regulations the company is subject to in Chile. Aedo obtained a Master’s degree in Labour Law at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in 2012. He completed his diploma in Company Labour Law from Universidad de los Andes in 2010, the same institution where he graduated in law in 2001.
Gonzalo Aguirre is a Chilean lawyer with a wealth of experience of providing advice to both local and international companies with a specific focus on financial transactions, energy and corporate governance. Having impressed with his work as the head of legal of SunEdison between 2014 and 2016, Aguirre was hired by SQM, a large Chilean lithium mining and chemical company, to resolve legal difficulties faced by the company in the form of allegations of bribery and tax evasion. Aguirre’s strong resolve and patience when dealing with these issues has been highly impressive. Previous work experience in Aguirre’s career include work as a professor at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, in-house counsel position at AES Gener and private practice roles at Paul Hastings, Carey and Vial & Palma. During his time in private practice, he represented both local and international clients on finance and corporate law transactions and developed his expertise in providing legal advice to construction projects and mining ventures.
Praised for his strong leadership, Francisco Javier Allendes oversees various complex processes of Teck’s large operations in Chile, which include the Quebrada Blanca copper mines in the Tarapacá region and the Carmen de Andacollo in the Coquimbo region. Together, these mines have the capacity to produce between 110,000 and 125,000 tons of copper annually and employ approximately 1,500 workers. Particularly noteworthy has been Allendes’ delivery and leadership of two significant projects designed to expand Teck’s production in the region, namely the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 development project – aimed at significantly increasing the mine’s copper production, extending its life 30 years – and NuevaUnión – a copper, gold and molybdenum project, located in the province of Huasco, Atacama Region. During his work on these projects, Allendes impressed with his ability to integrate seamlessly into multidisciplinary teams of professionals from various background, whilst providing business specific advice.
Like other Central Banks, Banco Central de Chile is tasked with ensuring the stability of the national currency as well as the financial system as a whole. Juan Pablo Araya originally joined in 2004 as a lawyer in the Office of the General Counsel, becoming senior lawyer in 2008, a position he maintained until 2012. During this first stint at the Banco Central de Chile, he gained significant credit for his supporting role in circumventing the effects of the global financial crisis when the Bank adopted several traditional and non-conventional monetary policy tools to safeguard the liquidity to financial institutions. As part of the legal department Araya provided analysis, reports and regulatory and contractual proposals to draft and implement the new tools required to successfully deal with such crisis. This was part of the Bank’s strategy of adopting and promoting ‘new standards in accordance with global recommendations from the BIS, IMF, FSB and other international forums, to prevent or mitigate the consequences of any other financial crisis in the future’. After a two year period as general counsel of the Chilean Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, Araya re-joined the Banco Central de Chile in 2014 as general counsel. Demonstrating the Bank’s confidence in his abilities, Araya has been known to step in for the CEO when he is absent. In his general counsel role he manages a team of 15 in the legal department, a team he helped build and reorganise to ‘inject fresh wisdom... and provide specialised counselling to the Board and staff in the various technical fields the Bank is responsible for’. Also during his current tenure, and with his legal team’s help, Araya played a crucial role advising and supporting the Bank’s Board and Financial Policy Division in preparing new financial regulations including the rules applicable to electronic payment means. Before his original move to Banco Central de Chile in 2004, Araya worked for two years in the legal department of the Chilean Superintendence of Securities and Insurance and played a crucial role in alleviating problems concerning a financial scandal in Chile known as the “Inverlink case”. His innovative problem-solving suggestion allowed clients of the soon to be bankrupt broker/custodian company (Inverlink Corredores de Bolsa) to enforce their rights, as the real owners of securities under custody, before the receiver divested its assets to pay off its creditors. Following his thorough and rigorous analysis ‘one of the most sensitive aspects was rapidly and satisfactorily solved’, says Araya.
Jean Paul Azaro is described by colleagues as a creative team player, capable of adequately responding to the pressure associated with working on complex projects in the mining and pharmaceutical industries. Praised for his proficiency in influencing the business strategy of the companies he works for, Azaro was recently hired to lead the Chilean legal department of Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis. Just over a year into the role, Azaro has already made a tangible impact on his division and company, supporting Alcon’s growth initiatives in the region. Previously, Azaro was a legal manager and compliance officer at pharmaceutical company Roche, where he covered all legal aspects related to a wide array of issues, such as trade, foreign investment technology transfer and labour law. He was also tasked with developing, reviewing and implementing the compliance policy of Roche in Chile. His first in-house experience was in the mining sector at Codelco, a state-owned company. Before that he worked in private practice at Mackenna, Irarrázaval, Cuchacovich & Paz Abogados, Ernst & Young and Schweitzer & Cia.
Miguel Baeza has been vice president, general counsel, corporate affairs and sustainability at Sierra Gorda SCM, the last large mining project development in Chile, since 2014. With a total investment of $4.2bn, Sierra Gorda SCM has been in the process of developing and operating a molybdenum and copper concentrate producing mine in Chile. As a lawyer with long-term experience in the mining sector, Baeza changed the culture of his company concerning legal matters. ‘Before the legal department existed, the project team would call outside lawyers with no limitation whatsoever’, he says. ‘I built an internal legal department from scratch and implemented a corporate policy in relation to use of outside counsel, positioning the legal department as the hub for all regulatory and political matters’. This achievement brought cost and time efficiency benefits, as it introduced an element of longer-term planning. 2016 was a particularly challenging and memorable year for Baeza, as he successfully led the negotiations with trade unions that lasted 11 months. Prior to joining Sierra Gorda in 2014 Baeza worked at two Canadian gold mining companies, Goldcorp and Kinross, initially as senior lawyer and subsequently as vice president and general counsel. During his time there he impressed with his negotiating skills, while quickly and positively closing key transactions for the company, and his outstanding personal skills and network in the local market. He says: ‘I proudly remember I brokered a deal worth $7m, through a very tough negotiation with a very complicate third party and received a round of applause from the board upon completion!’
With annual revenues of around $11.5bn, Chile’s state owned copper mining company is the largest producer of copper in the world and a lynchpin of the country’s economy. The company’s size and profile allows it to attract the country’s best legal talent, and a perfect demonstration of this came when Codelco hired Nicolai Bakovic in October 2016. Bakovic gained recognition in the Chilean in-house legal market through his work at renewable energy company Pacific Hydro between 2006 and 2009, and then at global engineering and construction company Bechtel between 2009 and 2015. At Bechtel he was first hired as regional counsel in Latin America (2009-2012) before being assigned to senior legal counsel role in Brisbane, Australia (2013-2014). Of his time in Australia, Bakovic says it ‘helped me broaden my legal knowledge, allowing me to work with other colleagues in the delivery of solutions to complex projects in remote locations, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, understanding the particularities of different jurisdictions, their risks and how such risks can be mitigated contractually and commercially’. Between 2015 and 2016, Bakovic was the regional counsel and then director of corporate affairs of Komatsu Latin America. Now at Codelco, in his current role as legal vice president and general counsel Bakovic heads a team of 24 lawyers, one paralegal and seven secretaries. Despite his relatively recent arrival at Codelco, he is already getting to grips with the company’s operations and is currently working to establish a system for managing all documents issued by the legal department to ‘save time and allow us to have a consistent approach to legal problems across the different divisions of Codelco’. Because of Codelco’s status as a state company, its size and the fact that it’s an important contributor to the Chilean Treasury, Bakovic is acutely aware ‘that decisions made by Codelco need to be analysed not only from a commercial and legal perspective, but also from the perspective of its multiple stakeholders’. And for Bakovic ‘that requires putting yourself in the shoes of those stakeholders, which makes the decision making process longer and more complex’.
Founded in 1872, CSAV is one of the oldest shipping companies in the world and with annual revenues in excess of $3bn it is one of the largest in Latin America. Pablo Bauer has been with the company for a number of years and since 2014 has worked on the merger between German company Hapag-Lloyd and the container business activities of CSAV. The merger has seen Bauer gain critical acclaim for helping it overcome hurdles in numerous national competition authorities to ensure the deal was finalised. Following a recent surge by US and Mexican national competition authorities on a number of line carriers for alleged cartel offences, CSAV will rely on Bauer to support its response to any matters arising from this.
CCU is a Chilean diversified beverage company with operations in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Colombia. With over $2bn in annual revenue, it is Chile’s largest brewer, its largest bottler of mineral water, second largest wine producer and third largest soft drink producer. Felipe Benavides joined the company in March 2015 and leads a team of 17 employees in his role as legal affairs manager, 15 (12 lawyers) of which are based in Chile. In addition to this management role he is the secretary of CCU’s Board of Directors and also a member on the Board of Directors for CCU’s international subsidiaries in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. After Benavides’ appointment, the legal department began to acquire a regional responsibility overseeing legal matters for the company’s overseas subsidiaries. As a result of his internal changes to the team, it is now ‘more closely related to headquarters’ and can offer more support, according to Benavides. Following new regulations relating to the labelling of non-alcoholic beverages with a high sugar or calorie content, Benavides and his team have been recognised for ‘working closely with the industrial department in order to look in detail at the components of such products and determine which will have to be labelled, and also reviewing all marketing materials’. Before joining CCU, Benavides worked at SMU, Chile’s largest supermarket chain by number of stores, between 2013 and 2015. As SMU’s general counsel he is particularly proud of successfully renegotiating credit facilities after covenants within them had been broken. He also restructured the whole legal department there by creating a real estate legal team, a labour legal team, and reinforcing the corporate legal management. Of his time at SMU, Benavides says, ‘this was my first experience as an in-house lawyer and it obliged me to look deep into the necessities of my internal clients, and figure out what was the best and most efficient way to fulfil their needs’. Benavides also spent over 11 years at the Chilean law firm Cariola Diez & Perez Cotapos, in two separate stints between 2001 and 2013, either side of a spell at the New York office of Debevoise & Plimpton as international associate between 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Benavides also completed an LLM at the Duke University School of Law in North Carolina.
Rafael Bilbao Deramond’s first spell at the Chilean arm of Scotiabank, the Canadian financial services company, came between 2007 and 2010 when he was initially providing advice to the corporate banking and the money table divisions. Over time he took charge of the corporate banking legal team, to cover the entire business, except for labour and mortgages. At the beginning of that period he helped expand Scotiabank’s presence in the country when working on its acquisition of Banco del Desarrollo and incorporating its new business segments. ‘I was actively involved in all the stages of the purchase, and throughout the entire integration process, which took two years’, Bilbao says. He also highlights that the deal stood him in good stead for Scotiabank Chile’s purchase of Royal Bank of Scotland’s wholesale banking operations in 2010. A year later he accepted an invitation to join the Cabinet of the Minister of the Interior of the Chilean Government for two years, as an advisor in all kinds of matters including drawing up bills of law. After this period and a one year spell as partner of a law firm, Bilbao re-joined Scotiabank Chile in 2014. When re-hired by Scotiabank, which today has approximately 3,800 employees and almost 140 branches in Chile, he took the position of senior counsel and is now in charge of a team of 36 people. Bilbao says his main challenges have been ‘the renewal of teams, the generation of effective plans for succession and the modernisation of the legal services of the senior counsel’s office, which has required a change in the model’. He has overcome this in part by digitalising external legal services nationwide, eliminating the use of physical documents and implementing software. ‘This has enabled us to centralise, in Santiago, a significant part of the legal services previously performed in regions’, he says. ‘This has generated significant effects in terms of shorter response times, enhanced service standards, reduction in the size of physical spaces required for filing, reductions in use of paper and lower management and external legal services costs’. As part of the bank’s strategy to increase its Latin American market share, Bilbao has overseen a number of large-scale transactions – for example, the purchase of the Cencosud Credit Card in 2015 and the acquisition of the portfolio of Banco Paris in 2017. He has already shown how to address new regulations as they are announced, and before their enactment, such as the new bankruptcy law, the labour reform and the recently announced reform of the General Banking Law. Before originally joining Scotiabank in 2007, Bilbao was at the law firm Alvarez Hinzpeter Jana (currently known as Bofill Mir Alvarez Jana) from 2003. He joined ABN AMRO Bank in 1997 after completing his degree, where over a period of six years he acquired a comprehensive understanding of banking activities, and also learnt the corporate governance activities required in a bank. He has a postgraduate diploma in Economics and Finance for Lawyers from the University of Chile, a diploma in Corporate Finance from Universidad Finis Terrae, and an LLM in Economics and Finance from Universidad Gabriela Mistral.
In May 2017 Felipe Bunster joined Mutual de Seguridad, a mutual healthcare company committed to being leaders in the development of social security in Chile, to head a legal team of 14 lawyers and nine administrative staff. Bunster was headhunted by the company as he has developed a strong reputation in Chile’s in-house legal market for achievements in previous roles. Immediately prior to his current position, Bunster was manager of legal matters at Empresas La Polar, one of Chile’s largest retail companies. From 2013 onwards, Bunster was responsible for successfully closing the company’s Colombian subsidiary and the full corporate restructuring of La Polar, which involved the creation of new subsidiaries and tributary planning. He was part of the team that achieved the issue of VISA La Polar (the new credit card offer to the clients of the group). Another of Bunster’s significant achievements at La Polar was overseeing the lender renegotiation process where in 2015, as part of a bond swap, he facilitated ‘the capitalisation of the historical debt of the company, which initially amounted to $1bn’. Bunster gained further recognition at La Polar for tackling a number of issues such as reforms in labour and tax laws and the impact of Supreme Court judgements that led to the creation of SERNAC Financiero, part of Chile’s National Consumer Service, which forced the company to change all contracts and rates as well as appreciate greater regulatory scrutiny. Before his time at La Polar, Bunster was legal manager at Viña Undurraga, one of the most prestigious and historical vineyards in Chile, where he says his biggest highlight was opening a representative office in Shanghai. He also had successful in-house stints in the financial sector serving the legal departments in CorpBanca between 2010 and 2011 and Banco de Chile immediately prior.
As legal manager at Banmédica, a leading financial institution in Chile, Nicolas Cabello Eterovic has been praised by colleagues for his strong subject-matter expertise and tenacity in dealing with complex legal matters. Hired by Banmédica in 2011 to provide day-to-day operational support to its various business areas, Cabello’s role has since evolved to provide more business-centric advice. His team is recognised for supporting the company’s ongoing efforts to digitise its service offering, as well as assisting with the efficiency push at Banmédica by facilitating a cultural shift within the various divisions of the bank. Prior to joining Banmédica, Cabello gained substantial expertise in financial law, whilst working as a private practice lawyer at law firms at Carey and Larraín & Asociados. He has also spent considerable amount of time in academia, teaching at Universidad Diego Portales and Universidad Alberto Hurtado.
With a track record of advancing exploration and development projects in Latin America, Lumina Copper has significant presence in the region, developing and operating resources in some of the most promising terrains. Jointly owned by two Japanese companies – Pan Pacific Copper and Mitsui & Co. – Lumina Copper Chile owns and operates the Caserones copper-molybdenum project in the northern Atacama region. Managing the legal and compliance matters for the mines is Alejandro Barack Canut de bon Lagos, a highly experienced and distinguished Chilean corporate lawyer with a career span of over two decades. Having been in the role since March 2015, Canut has received praise from colleagues in the industry for his negotiation and contract management skills. Prior to that he spent nearly five years at Minera Escondida, a partially owned by BHP Billiton company that operates two open-pit copper mines in the Atacama desert. He was previously employed as a legal manager at the Dutch subsidiary of BHP Billiton, working in The Hague and Singapore offices for nearly three years. This long-term experience in the mining industry has made Canut one of the standout lawyers in Chile.
General counsel of Alstom Chile for the last 14 years, Carolina Carrasco provides legal advice to the company’s wide array of complex infrastructure projects in Chile, assisting with the negotiation of tenders, providing strategic legal advice and dealing with a broad range of environmental issues and matters that affect the public image of the company. Since 2010, she has also held responsibility for the transport business of Alstom in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. Since joining the company, Carrasco is credited for transforming the legal function from an operational support role into a necessary tool for the business, one that has an important role in all strategic decisions made by the company. Described as a ‘knowledgeable legal director’ and a ‘competent lawyer’, she receives praise from peers for a dynamism that enables her to simultaneously deal with several projects at the same time with excellent results, as well as for her ability to close large, complex and long-term contracts. Carrasco began her in-house legal career at the family-owned forestry group, Maderas Condor in 1997. Before that she spent several years in private practice, working for Aylwin Abogados.
Described as a ‘uniquely talented attorney’, Francisco Charlín’s tenure as Barrick Gold legal director has been characterised by his remarkable work ethic. ‘There seems to be no hour at which he will not take a phone call or answer an email’, one source says. ‘Even better, he can consistently be counted upon to have the right answer for whomever is calling or emailing. His understanding of not only the legal matters surrounding his company’s industry, but the industry itself, is astounding in both its depth and its breadth’. Possessing a detailed understanding of his employer’s goals for expansion in Chile and how these goals relate to broader legal issues, Charlín has been a driving force behind key transactions for Barrick, which is currently the world’s largest gold mining company. Very recently Charlín captured attention in Chile with the swift execution of a transaction that resulted in a formation of a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with the Canadian gold producer Goldcorp. This JV will develop projects in north Chile’s gold belt and invest $520m into 20,000 hectares of mineral properties in the Maricunga District in the Cerro Cesale and Caspiche deposits. When asked about Charlín’s transactional expertise, a source shares: ‘His ability to think not just about the legal issues facing a given transaction, but the future ramifications of the transaction and what legal issues might flow from those ramifications, is something that all companies seek out in a GC, but few ever really find’. The mining industry is infamous for the legal challenges it faces, and having the support of Charlín will definitely help Barrick to expand its operations in Chile. When he joined Barrick in 2013, Charlín began reorganising the company’s Chilean legal structure and currently manages an expanding team of nine members. Before his successful tenure at the company, Charlín worked at Antafagosta, one of the Chile’s biggest mining companies. Between 1997 and 2013 he worked on various projects including one in Pakistan, when the company began investing in overseas projects.
Compass Group is the largest contract food services company in the world, and also has operations in cleaning, property management, and support services. Matias Concha Vial not only heads up the legal and tax department in Chile but is also responsible for leading the governance and compliance policies. During his eight-year tenure at the company, Concha has built virtually every procedure in the legal department, as well as implementing an array of innovative structures. These include the methodology behind the company’s participation in bids, a procedure to negotiate new contracts, the implementation of a manual for approvals for all internal areas and the creation of a tax committee to discuss internal issues, among others. Highlights that demonstrate his legal expertise include several important court victories, which have been crucial for Compass Group’s results. Other impressive achievements include devising a strong legal strategy to exit loss-making contracts and an overhaul of the company’s approach to corporate governance. In 2012, Concha worked in the Compass Group PLC corporate legal department in the UK, providing legal advice to some of the 52 countries where Compass provides services. Utilising the commercial skills gained from his Tax Master’s degree qualification in 2007 and MBA qualification in 2012, Concha briefly served as provisional director of HR (2015) and head of treasury (2016). Prior to that, he worked in private practice at EY and a local law firm and also a taught tax law course at a Chilean University for more than eight years.
Andrea Convalia’s three-year tenure at global consumer products company L’Oréal has been defined by her widespread impact on the Chilean legal department and the wider company. She has enhanced the use of technology in the legal team, encouraged the use of new tools, fostered relationships between legal and business colleagues, and generally improved the efficiency and effectiveness of internal legal advice. She is known for spending time on the ground, which allows her to have a close relationship with her fellow co-workers and a true understanding of the retail and consumer market in Chile. She is also recognised as a great team enabler beyond the frontiers of legal work. As general counsel of a multinational organisation, she has to stay up-to-date with the ever increasing number of global regulations. With significant increases in Chile’s regulatory law having taken place in the past five years, Convalia has actively taken the initiative to form close relationships with fellow colleagues and reach out to the wider industry, enabling a swift and informed response to new regulations. In the past she has participated actively in law making processes and discussions in Congress, on matters such as the consumer act, data protection and insurance and credit card markets. Before joining L´Oréal she served Cencosud for five years and spent four years at a law firm. Her talent as an in-house counsel was recognised by her peers when she reached the final of the Idealis Ranking of “Chile’s Leading Lawyers” in 2015.
After eight years litigating in civil and criminal matters in Chile, Diego Corp Hoces de la Guardia realised that he was capable of helping clients unlock the value of infrastructure projects in early stages of development. ‘That [realisation] motivated me to accept the challenge of joining a start-up, HydroChile’, he says. HydroChile was established in 2007 to develop and operate hydroelectric power generation projects in Chile. In his role as general counsel and director of technical services of HydroChile, Corp helped build the business, including the acquisition of water rights, the development of the engineering project, the environmental permitting, the debt and equity financing, the construction and finally the launch of operations for two hydropower run-of-river generation assets with a total installed capacity of 100MW. His team of direct reports includes professionals from various backgrounds and technical expertise: corporate law, contracts, resources, health, safety, environmental, and community relations, among others. On describing the challenge of setting up HydroChile, Corp says that, ‘setting the basis for a business, while simultaneously articulating long-term strategic goals with short-term problem solving, require a whole new level of focus and commitment. I have to admit that learning to find the right balance between business priorities, technical rigour and fast-paced decision-making instances have challenged me and helped me grow as a corporate lawyer’. Corp ensured that the legal department he designed and led was conceived with enough flexibility to adapt and manage risks that are unique to each one of the different stages of project development, as well as the ever-changing legal and regulatory environment of the power sector in Chile. ‘Developing a project, a facility that will eventually become a company on its own merits is only possible with a very clear three to five-year roadmap and precision in the execution. You need to be able to see the big picture, anticipate and not forget your long-term goals, not to be blinded by daily details but also not neglecting them either, as your company will also live or die by them’, he says. Having overcome the initial challenge of sourcing the ‘intensive equity’ required for Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (ERNC), Corp helped secure all concessions, permits and operational agreements, as well as accessing the international and domestic financial markets to successfully obtain non-recourse project finance. Corp says the current challenge for the company is operating its first ERNC facilities from deep in the Andes Mountains.
Known as one of the most formidable lawyers in Chile’s renewable energy sector, Andrés Curia currently leads a team of four employees at the multinational renewable energy development company Mainstream Renewable Power. Armed with eight years of private practice experience, Curia made his first step into the energy sector in 2011, when he started working at CGE. While the company’s main focus in on utilities, it also has important investments in power generation, enabling Curia to work on the Ñuble Hydro Plant project. At CGE he impressed during his representation of the company before local government authorities and communities, as well as demonstrating impressive work on drafting land agreements. Taking every opportunity to learn and develop his career in the sector, Curia spent two years at Pacific Hydro Chile, before joining Mainstream Renewable Power in 2015. During his time there Curia has worked on some of the most attention grabbing renewable energy projects in Chile, including the Punta Sierra wind farm and the Nido de Aguilas hydropower plant. His involvement in these projects covered the necessary negotiation and drafting of contracts, but most significantly included managing mining rights holders, formulating litigation strategy and other legal tools to handle speculators. Most recently, Curia and his team worked on the largest renewable energy tender in Latin America to construct 1,000 MW of wind farm projects to supply energy for 20 years – a successful feat which required the support of exceptional legal documentation and strategy. Curia is also established the legal department at Mainstream Renewable Power, assisting with the implementation of better processes and coordination for tender processes and updating contract templates.
Part of the Falabella group of companies, Sodimac is a leader in the home improvement market with warehouse stores across Latin America. Juan Carlos Corvalán joined the company in 2004, and since 2006 he has led its corporate social responsibility policy. His expertise in corporate institutional management, consumer law, commercial matters and trademark rights has led him to become the manager of legal affairs as well. Corvalán’s success and integration with Sodimac has seen him hold a position on the company’s Executive Committee for over a decade. One important transnational deal Corvalán has been involved in is the planned entry of the company into Mexico, which involves a deal between Falabella and Soriana, Mexico’s second largest supermarket chain. The partnership, worth around $600m, will see Sodimac open 22 stores over the next five years. Meanwhile in Peru Corvalán assisted on the parent company’s purchase of Sodimac’s competitor Maestro, in a deal worth $490m. As a proactive man, Corvalán is also busy with Sodimac’s other projects, which have cost more than $15bn, to combat climate change, promote efficient water use and energy savings and measure its carbon footprint. Outside of Sodimac, he is president of the Sustainability Committee of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2001, Rafael Cox Montt has overseen legal matters for CMPC, a pulp and paper company headquartered in Chile. With operations throughout Latin America and worldwide revenues of over $4bn, CMPC is one of the leading companies in the region for the production and sale of forestry, pulp, paper and tissue products. Cox helped the company expand into wider Latin America in 2009 to overcome domestic land and environmental restrictions by making the largest foreign acquisition by a Chilean company, when it bought a Brazilian company for $2bn. A related follow-on investment overseen by Cox, helped CMPC build a strategically important mill in a deal worth another $2.5bn, taking the total cost of the deal to almost $5bn. Following an investigation into the company’s Consumer Products Business Area, Cox successfully applied for leniency programmes in the affected jurisdictions and remains in charge of guiding the legal side for the company during this period. Since completing an LLM in Corporate Governance at Stanford Law School in 2012, Cox returned to the company to become general counsel and corporate secretary. He began creating an executive legal team in all jurisdictions and currently leads a team of 12 lawyers – a number which is due to expand as the team supports CMPC’s growing business operations in different jurisdictions. Having also gained experience in private practice, Cox had a spell with law firm Sullivan & Cromwell as a visiting lawyer between 2004 and 2005 and served as an associate for Yrarrázaval, Ruiz-Tagle, Goldenberg, Lagos & Silva between 2000 and 2001 immediately prior to joining CMPC.
Empresa Nacional del Petróleo, or ENAP, is a state-owned hydrocarbons company, which has been charged with the exploration, production, refinement and marketing of Chile’s oil deposits since the 1950s. As well as supplying the vast majority of Chile’s fuel needs, ENAP also has expanded operations to Argentina, Ecuador and Egypt through its subsidiary ENAP Sipetrol. Since May 2014 Alfredo del Carril has managed all legal matters for ENAP, using experience gained while advising multinational construction and energy companies on corporate issues. In a unique, hybrid role del Carril is also head of business development, demonstrating his ability to blend legal and commercial matters in a way that is essential the energy company. This role, while unusual for an in-house lawyer, has allowed him to understand the needs of the business from two very different angles – ultimately making him a fantastic asset. del Carril has always had a penchant for international learning, as demonstrated by his studies across Argentina, Italy and the US. Using these academic experiences, his career has seen him advise a variety of large companies on their legal strategies. He first worked in private practice with law firms Pozo Gowland & Koch and Rosso Alba, France & Ruiz Moreno, as well as having a role as a consultant to the World Bank. del Carril’s first in-house legal role was as a Latin American legal advisor for Swedish multinational construction company Skanska. His next career step was into another Scandinavian company, this time serving as the head of legal for South America at Danish wind-energy company Vestas. These two experiences placed him in a prime position to advise ENAP on its legal and business strategy both in Chile and abroad. Nominators pointed to del Carril’s outstanding ability to manage corporate law matters, dispute resolution, joint ventures and negotiations.
As the legal manager for South America of Indura and the most senior lawyer in the region, Ivana Domitrovic reports to the regional vice president and to the assistant general counsel of Air Products Group, Indura’s parent company. In this role, Domitrovic is tasked with overseeing all legal, regulatory, ethics and compliance matters, as well as supervising and coordinating the internal legal team and external counsel, fostering a collaboration between the legal function and various lines of business. Having been with Indura since the start of 2017, Domitrovic has been undertaking a reorganisation of the legal department’s procedures and processes, aligning them across the region. As Indura went through an acquisition by Air Products Group, Domitrovic has been supporting the alignment of the structure and corporate cultures of both companies. Prior to moving to Indura, Domitrovic spent over six years at Tyco (now Johnson Controls International) in charge of the South of Latin American regional legal department, assuming global roles as part of corporate committees, international M&A deals and other projects. Before joining Tyco, Domitrovic had accumulated wide and varied experience working in-house for various Chilean organisations, namely Polla Chilena de Beneficencia, Embotelladora Andina, Compania Chilena de Fosforos and General Audit Office.
Chilean company Molymet processes and develops molybdenum, a vital chemical element in various industrial activities. International in scope, the company operates six plants in total with two in Chile and one in Mexico, Belgium, Germany and China respectively; to support this there are commercial offices in Santiago, London, Hermosillo, Miami, São Paulo and Beijing. Handling the legal affairs Molymet is Miguel Dunay, who joined as corporate legal manager in 2015. Since then he has shifted his department’s approach ‘from a structure aimed to provide basic in-house legal services, to managing all corporate legal issues’. Despite implementing this new mind-set, Dunay is conscious this is an ongoing process and works closely with the vice president of corporate governance, whom he directly reports into, as well as the CEO and all the company’s other vice-presidents in order to maintain high-quality and business-focused standards within the legal team. Before Dunay joined Molymet, between 2007 and 2015 he worked at the prestigious Chilean law firm Claro & Cia in its corporate group as counsel in charge of the public-private partnership field, construction and real estate. Between 2002 and 2006, Dunay worked in the legal department for a group of companies owned by the German-Chilean entrepreneur, Jürgen Paulmann. During this period of his career he gained extensive experience in the airline, retail and real estate sectors.
For Maersk, the Danish business conglomerate, Chile represents a significant proportion of its maritime container business. Founded in 1993, Maersk Chile’s line of business includes the transportation of freight on all inland waterways. Described by one peer as a ‘hands on counsel‘, Ana María Emilfork is ‘very practical in her approach to problems’ and has been lauded throughout her time as Maersk Chile’s general counsel. When Maersk Container Industry (MCI) decided to open a factory in 2016 in San Antonio, it turned to Emilfork for advice before creating the first refrigerated container factory in Latin America. With an estimated production of 25,000 units per year, not only did the factory turn a page in the world trade of perishable goods it also accelerated economic growth in the area by creating 1,000 new jobs in an area of high unemployment. Emilfork’s ‘great leadership skills and proactive [manner]’ were an important facet of ensuring the factory opened on time. One nominator has commended her on being ‘a leader, [and] a very strong team player who always is encouraging her team’.
In his over 20 years as an in-house lawyer in the mining sector, managing legal teams at some of the largest international copper companies with operations in Chile, Patricio Enei has established himself as one of the most reputable advisers in the sector. In charge of the legal department at the Chile- based copper mining group Antofagasta, Enei has received wide praise from external nominators. ‘We have worked with Patricio on a number of transactions over the last 10 years, and each time we have found the experience to be collaborative and supportive’, a source shares. Recently, Enei impressed peers in the market with his work on a $500m unsecured loan agreement with six international banks. The financing represented a big victory for Antofagasta, as it was the first of its kind for the company and was obtained on favourable terms, notwithstanding depressed copper prices and a difficult market for borrowers in emerging markets. ‘This important step for the company could not have been achieved without Patricio and his leadership’, a nominator says. ‘Throughout the process, [he] displayed a solid command of local and international law, as well as a unique insight into the specific challenges of Antofagasta and the Chilean mining industry’. Enei’s past experience includes a stint as general counsel at Codelco, a state owned mining business and one of the largest companies in the country, and senior lawyer position at BHP Billiton.
Andres Eyzaguirre, the ‘excellent’ general counsel at Nestlé Chile boasts 15 years of experience as an in-house and private practice lawyer and has been educated across Chile, Switzerland and Italy. Known as an ‘inspiring leader who knows [how] to keep his team focused and motivated’, Eyzaguirre has developed a legal function with a strong technical expertise, capable of tackling the legal issues of a multi-billion enterprise with strong footprint in the region. Reporting to the chief legal officer of Nestlé Group based in Switzerland, Eyzaguirre has made important contributions to the food and beverage company’s operations in Chile, Latin America and worldwide. Key highlights include input to the successful reorganisation of the global intellectual property legal department, leadership of Nestlé’s Central American corporate and tax structures and the design and implementation of an agreement management tool. In addition, Eyzaguirre’s efforts to lead diversity initiatives within the Latin American legal profession have drawn attention and praise from across the industry. Prior to joining Nestlé in 2008, he worked as an executive director at the financial services company Fusion Factoring, where he was in charge of the legal department, focusing on corporate, banking and commercial litigation and implemented anticorruption procedures.
Formerly legal head at SunEdison Chile and SunEdison South America, Enzo Ferrari Montofré is an in-house legal professional with extensive experience in all matters related to civil, commercial and public law. In his extensive legal career, Ferrari has showcased the skills necessary to run multidisciplinary teams of professionals from different fields of expertise across the energy and telecommunications sectors. Since 2016, he has led legal and regulatory affairs at Energia 360, a Chilean renewable energy business, and has since supported key projects in Chile. Praised by his peers for his ‘clear vision’ and capacity to lead diverse teams, Ferrari’s ability to manage legal requirements in line with the strategic challenges faced by the company has been truly remarkable. Prior to his roles at Energia 360 and SunEdison, Ferrari was employed by Enel Green Power Chile, where he set up the legal department covering Chile and Peru. Before his venture into the energy sector, Ferrari was employed by the Chilean telecommunications leader VTR, where he participated actively in matters related to pay-TV and provided legal evaluation of new products launched by the company.
The CAP Group is a holding company that operates in the mining and steel sectors. Through its operations over the world the company’s value chain covers iron-ore mining, steel production and steel processing, employing almost 10,000 people. The mining sector in Chile has a position of high-importance, but that only means that companies operating within it face significant operational and reputational risk. Eduardo Frei has been chief legal counsel at CAP since 2006. CAP places a great deal of importance on its environmental compliance and health and safety record, and Frei has helped the company to act with responsibility and transparency for both the environment and the people their operations may affect. By using sustainable technologies and process innovation, CAP has been able to grow its operations internationally at an impressive rate despite the serious depression in global iron ore prices. Frei has also contributed more broadly through his role on the management committee. His legal and strategic advice have been crucial over his tenure with the company, especially during challenging times when CAP has had to reconsider its operations and mitigate adverse market conditions.
Part of the Matte Group, BICECORP was founded in 1978 and is now widely considered as one of the most important financial holding companies in Chile. Having developed its business in various capital markets areas, it provides various financial products and services in Chile, through its subsidiaries. Raúl Patricio Fuentes Mechasqui’s association with the company dates back to its incorporation and since 1979 he has been legal adviser to both BICECORP and its ever-growing list of subsidiaries – which includes the retail bank, Banco BICE. In his role and as a result of his nearly 40 years of service, Fuentes Mechasqui enjoys a close working relationship with senior management and reports to the board of directors. One of his many recent achievements includes negotiating and concluding a number of significant deals to help the company realise its strategic ambitions. For instance in 2013 he helped achieve a $75m loan for Banco BICE from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which was used to fund long-term renewable energy projects. In 2017 Fuentes Mechasqui went further by concluding a deal with the China Development Bank for a $150m loan to finance small and medium-sized investment projects in Argentina. Outside of BICECORP, he was a member of the first board of the Legal Committee of the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions, as well as a professor of commercial law at the University of Chile, his alma mater.
Gustavo G. Mármol Alioto has been at the helm of the Chilean legal department of Oracle since its foundation in January 2014. He currently holds a dual role of head of the commercial legal department in the country as well as the legal privacy and security head for the Latin American region. Apart from creating the legal department in Santiago, Mármol’s time at the multinational information technology company has been defined by his efforts to ensure that contributions and major changes implemented by the department are reflected in concrete results. This dedication to delivery has helped Mármol to foster an ‘excellent relationship with senior management and local CEO’. His approach to the in-house lawyer’s role is one of pragmatism and respect: ‘As an in-house counsel I have always believed that you need to [possess] seasoned legal and internal rules, knowledge and excellent skills and relationship management in order to establish, maintain, instil and hold others accountable for standards of integrity, trustworthiness and respect consistent with the standards of the corporation’. Since Mármol joined Oracle from Sun Microsystems in Argentina, following its acquisition in 2010, he has become even more of an expert in privacy, software licensing (commercial and open source) and services cloud subscription models. As well as selling to businesses and consumers, Oracle also distributes products to the government. According to Mármol this can pose lawyers with another level of intricacy to manage, even on top of the different licensing models the company has: ‘There are normative rules, for example, for the distribution of products for the government sector, discount rules applicable to the private sector and public, ethics and compliance rules for distributors of products and services, suppliers and employees and managers, rules of exports control, etcetera’. With his experience, Mármol has become respected in the industry, and has often spoken about his desire to see the Chilean and Latin American technology markets develop alongside global markets. ‘In Latin America, and with respect to privacy and security regulations, I would expect to see a rapid adaptation to the new rules that will come into force next year in the EU, that for sure will impact the cloud computing market’, he says.
Rafael Goldsack is a lawyer highly experienced in the development of energy projects and management of legal processes in the electricity market, with a demonstrated expertise in overseeing matters related to the exploration of natural resources. In his current role of legal director at Atiaia Energía Chile, Goldsack supports the development and implementation of renewable energy projects, such as hydroelectric power plants. Goldsack is known for his ability to ‘focus rapidly on key issues’, and has therefore been a strategic partner in all legal matters related to recent energy projects. He recently impressed with his work to support the development of Rucalhue hydroelectric power, a 90 MW hydropower plant projected in Chile’s southern Biobío region, with an expected total investment of $240m. Other key projects for Goldsack include the Río Bueno hydropower plant, which is at an earlier stage of development. Prior to joining Atiaia Energía Chile, Goldsack worked at Enersis Chile, where he participated in a variety of M&A transactions, including the sale of its subsidiaries Synapsis and CAM, and at Endesa Chile, where Goldsack supports the implementation and construction of Ojos de Agua hydroelectric power plant, San Isidro II and Quintero thermoelectric power plants and the Canela wind farm.
GNL Chile is the importer and marketer of liquefied natural gas for Central and Southern Chile, providing natural gas services to wholesale customers with long-term contracts. Partially owned by ENAP, Enel Chile and Aprovisionadora Global de Energía, GNL Chile records an annual turnover of $1bn and services gas utility companies, refineries and power generation facilities. Described by a colleague as ‘a lawyer with patience and care to details’, GNL Chile’s legal manager Boris Gonzalez provides legal advice to the diverse activities of the company. Having been in the role since 2012, Gonzalez’s achievements have centred on commercial litigation and signing of joint venture agreements. Previously, while working as a private practice lawyer with Carolina Diaz Perez-Cotapos & Cia, Gonzalez impressed with his advice on the implementation of a compliance program at Siemens.
Heading a team of 14, Duncan Grob Urzúa manages the legal affairs for Parque Arauco. With 31 shopping malls spread across Chile, Colombia and Peru the company is one of Chile’s largest shopping mall chains. Now a distinguished figure for his specialised skills in corporate and trade law, M&A, capital markets and financing Grob has been honing his expertise at Parque Arauco since originally joining in 2011 as head of corporate legal. After a brief return to private practice between 2013 and 2015, he returned to Parque Arauco to his current position as corporate legal manager in 2015. During the period of his connection with the company, Parque Arauco has doubled its gross leasable area and therefore significantly increased its revenues. Grob also identifies ‘strong development through greenfield projects and M&A, with more than 500,000m2’ since he originally joined the company, as a significant career highlight. This along with the issuance of a bond by Parque Arauco in Chile – as it had the lowest rate obtained for corporate emissions company excluding regulated and state entities – have been some of Grob’s key impacts on the company, which he achieved through a joint effort between the finance and legal teams. In terms of changing the legal department during his time at Parque Arauco, Grob says, ‘our main concern has been to build a successful growth path and identify the critical processes in our business in order to minimise the risk associated to those processes… I believe our work in improving the corporate governance of the company has been important. The changes imply that our workers are more aware of the company risks and they are more capable to deal with them’.
As the general counsel of the largest Latin American forestry business in terms of surface area and plantation yield, Felipe Guzmán heads up the legal support of five strategic business areas: forestry, wood pulp, timber, panels and energy. His team covers all legal issues facing ARAUCO’s pulp mills and engineered wood manufacturing plants across Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and supports its commercial offices and world-wide agent network, enabling the company to sell products in over 60 countries. Over the year Guzmán’s legal department has been at the heart of ARAUCO’s commercial affairs, assisting on international trade transactions and large-scale industrial projects, including a $2.3bn MAPA Project (Modernización y Ampliación Planta Arauco), Stora Enso-Arauco’s joint venture Montes del Plata (Uruguay), and Teno MDP Mill, among others. Guzmán’s recent highlights at ARAUCO focus on facilitating a culture of strong links and communication with various areas of business, as well as building clear policies that enable the company to alleviate a plethora of external challenges, related to issues such as market fluctuations, regulatory changes, competition and labour issues.
Throughout its 80 year history, Empresas Copec has been involved in large-scale investment programs. The company now operates in two main industries, covering more than 80 countries and generating over $20bn in annual revenues: natural resources, where it has a thriving forestry and fisheries business; and energy, where it operates a successful fuels business. After a successful private practice career, José Tomás Guzmán Rencoret joined Empresas Copec and today, in the capacity of corporate counsel and secretary of the board of directors, has significant influence within the company’s hierarchy. In 2016 he oversaw a number of deals that were crucial to the company’s growth strategy. Firstly in May he concluded a deal that saw Empresas Copec’s subsidiary, Abastible, acquire Repsol’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) operations in Peru and Ecuador – this transaction resulted in Abastible becoming the third largest LPG player in South America. Later in 2016, Empresas Copec further extended its presence when it signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to produce and distribute lubricants and fuels in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In August 2016, Guzmán Rencoret helped execute an agreement between the company’s Chilean fuel business and US company Delek US Holdings. The $535m deal results in Copec gaining a greater presence in the US market. Guzmán Rencoret graduated from Universidad de Chile in 1982 and, in 1987, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Comparative Jurisprudence from the New York University School of Law.
Based in Las Condes, Chile, SMU is a national retailer owned by wealthy businessman Alvaro Saieh. There are a number of well-known brands under the SMU umbrella, including chains of supermarkets under the Unimarc, OK MARKET and Telemercados names, as well as wholesale stores under the Alvi and Mayorista10 names. As a lawyer heavily praised for his skills in conducting due diligence for transactions and closing joint venture agreements, Mauricio Halpern Alamos was hired by the retailer in April 2015 to run its legal department. So far 2017 has been a very memorable year in Halpern’s professional career, as he participated in the finalisation of the $200m initial public offering of the company in Santiago. This transaction is the second following Lipigas, in November 2016, to take place after a four-year drought in the country. Before moving to the retail sector, Halpern spent four years as the Chilean executive legal manager at Pacific Hydro, where he provided advice on a number of marquee renewable energy projects. Prior to that he worked at law firms Bahamondez, Alvarez & Zegers, Clifford Chance and Yrarrázaval, Ruiz-Tagle, Goldenberg, Lagos & Silva.
Ruben Henriquez had to face one of the biggest professional challenges of his career upon joining Australis Seafoods in 2013, undertaking an ambitious restructuring of the legal department, which now consists of an interdisciplinary team of incorporated professionals from several fields. ‘This has allowed us [lawyers] to gain deep knowledge of the salmon industry and the specific characteristics of this business, which has in turn enabled us to provide more specific legal advice to all the company departments’, Henriquez explains. Consequently, the services his team now provides offers an enormous added value in comparison to the legal advice the company could obtain from external lawyers. Other major achievements for Henriquez on the operational side include introducing a regulatory compliance methodology into the legal department and taking over certification of production processes and facilities to comply with international aquaculture standards. Henriquez’s work to roll out regular reporting to the other departments on legal issues, has had a profound impact on their operational and production processes. At the same time, Henriquez and his team has significantly improved communication between the legal team and other parts of the company, hence ensuring smooth and timely interaction. ‘This allows us not only to offer legal counsel on a “when needed” basis, which we continue to do, but to provide ongoing support for all the company processes’, Henriquez says. The exposure of Australis Seafoods to legal and regulatory contingencies and to conflicts with local communities and interest groups has decreased during Henriquez’ tenure, with the legal department now playing a critical role in the drafting and implementation of new sustainability policies. To this effect, Henriquez has incorporated new technologies to manage information on operations and production, enabling a more effective control and monitoring of regulatory compliance and maintenance of a personal relationship with stakeholders and regulators. ‘Our goal is that our department prompts a new corporate culture that is not only committed to observing the rules, but one that also seeks to do the right thing in everything we do’, says Henriquez.
A corporate lawyer with a decade worth of professional experience in both national and multinational companies and a solid grasp of policy and regulatory issues in the Latin American automotive sector, Francisco Javier Hernández Merino leads the legal department at Williamson Balfour Motors in Chile. As the company is a subsidiary of Inchcape and a major importer of BMW, Honda and Rolls Royce automobiles in the country, it is essential that Hernández stays on top of developments in both the regional and global automobile market. In addition to directing the management and implementation of all legal affairs of Williamson Balfour and other related companies nationwide, Hernández has showcased an ability to influence the strategy of the larger company, demonstrating a willingness to lead, interact and collaborate in multidisciplinary teams. He has achieved this goal partially by successfully streamlining legal management in order to reduce cost, ultimately contributing to company profits and creating value for shareholders. Other notable achievements for Hernández in this role have been significantly reducing the legal risk of the company in various business units, and carrying out extensive staff training on anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies. Hernández’s previous in-house legal role was with Falabella, a large Chilean retailer and one of the largest companies in Latin America. His work there focused on advising and supporting the various managers in the company on legal and corporate affairs.
With a $71bn asset management portfolio and annual revenues around $20bn, Quiñenco is one of the largest business conglomerates in Chile. Chief counsel Rodrigo Hinzpeter assists the company participate in the banking, maritime shipping and retail sectors among others in international locations. He says this facet of the company’s operations ‘forces him to be very connected to different legislations, markets and cultures and to be always flexible during the process and firm but polite when a decision is necessary’. One of the biggest impacts Rodrigo Hinzpeter deals with is the constantly evolving corporate governance practices defined by regulators worldwide, and ensuring the company’s entities are always fully compliant with FCPA statutes. ‘I give permanent attention to this issues’, he says. Hinzpeter’s background is almost as diverse and as impressive as the sectors the company operates in. He has worked in private practice law firms in both Chile and New York (Simpson Thacher & Bartlett) but between 2010 and 2012 worked in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and in the following two years Ministry of Defense, during the government of President Sebastian Piñera. Whilst his private practice law firm experience gave him ‘knowledge to manage and lead complex transactions and to identify key issues in complex contracts’, his time in government gave him ‘aptitude to manage and solve problems at a national level, of tremendous size that affect millions of people’. ‘Also, my time at the Ministry of State gives me the opportunity to understand the way the authority reasons; the way they approach problems, and how they solve them’, he says. This makes him perfectly placed to fulfil his current duties of being director of several companies in the group, such as CCU Chile, CCU Argentina, Tech Pack and Invexans and continue to excel in his handling of activities related to corporate law, acquisitions, mergers, and financial matters.
Bayer officially began its activities in Chile in 1914, with its first corporate building built the Vicuña Mackenna industrial district in 1957. Currently its operations in Chile cover the areas of human health (which incorporates pharmaceuticals and consumer products), animal health, agriculture and environmental health. Described by sources as ‘one of the most experienced, innovative and hard-working general counsel in the industry’, Karin Ioannidis is tasked with providing legal advice to this diverse spectrum of activities. A lawyer known for being creative, accessible and easy to work with, Ioannidis is well-trusted by the company’s senior management and is often called upon to provide strategic business advice. Particularly noteworthy is her work to support the company’s strategic initiatives concerning social responsibility in Chile – these initiatives are aimed at improving education and general wellbeing in the country. Previous roles in Ioannidis’ career include legal leadership roles at the global chemicals company BASF and the large German pharmaceutical business Grünenthal Group. She started her in-house career as a lawyer at Telefónica.
Having an impressive career that spans two decades as an in-house lawyer within the financial services sector, the knowledgeable and widely respected Rony Jara serves as general counsel and secretary at BBVA Chile. Having worked at the bank since 2004, Jara’s more recent career has been focusing on navigating through a difficult regulatory and economic situation in Chile. To overcome difficulties associated with the significant expansion of the regulatory framework in Chile, with the impending adoption of the Basel III framework, Jara and his legal team have adopted a more proactive approach to new compliance requirements – by using their expertise to predict regulatory impact, the team is able to help the bank to prepare. To overcome the country’s change in economic fortune, BBVA’s legal team has adopted a more cautious approach to managing its expenses, while at the same time remaining creative and achieving substantially more work with fewer resources. Jara has been able to spearhead this initiative and has developed a high-quality team internally to handle this. Prior to joining BBVA in 2004, Jara worked at Citibank Chile. In addition to his in-house career, he has also served as law professor at Universidad de los Andes for the last 21 years.
Upon joining multinational healthcare company Roche in 2015 as legal head and compliance officer for Chile, Jorge Julio has transformed a small legal department of two attorneys into an enthusiastic, well-known, well-trusted internal team. Eager to stimulate the generation of new ideas in the unit, Julio has changed the mind-set in his team, giving more responsibility and freedom to his junior attorneys, while training them to approach tasks differently and set new objectives every day. Apart from leading the legal function, Julio is also in charge of dealing with Roche’s response to changes in the regulatory framework, ensuring that the company is adaptable and flexible in its approach. Between 2010 and 2015, Julio served as a senior corporate counsel at British American Tobacco, covering all legal matters and litigation in the Southern Cone region. In this role, Julio impressed with his support of product liability litigations, as well as with his work protecting the interests of BAT’s important cigarette factory in Chile. Prior to that, he worked for Yell Group in Chile (now known as Hibu), supporting all Chilean legal matters, working in close contact with the UK-based general counsel. Before his move in-house Julio gained experience while working as a private practice lawyer across several leading law firms.
Described as ‘one of the most experienced, innovative and hard-working general counsels in the industry’, as well as ‘accessible, creative and easy to work with lawyer’, Roberto Ladrón de Guevara has facilitated a number of important corporate projects during his tenure as the general counsel of MetLife. These include among others: the due diligence process and legal advice that culminated in the acquisition of Compañía de Seguros de Vida Santander by MetLife, the creation of MetLife Chile Administradora de Mutuos Hipotecarios, the M&A of La Intermericana Compañía de Seguros S.A. and MetLife, and the inception of MetLife Chile Seguros Generales. Well-respected for his transactional expertise, Ladrón is widely applauded by nominators for his ability to work under high levels of pressure associated with large transactions: ‘He is an excellent general counsel who focuses rapidly on the key issues, is very easy to work with, even when the workload is heavy and intense’, a source claims. They go on to say that ‘he is capable of adding value to the legal functions with great delivery’. Besides his strong expertise in transactional work, Ladrón’s time at MetLife is defined by fostering a culture of support and collaboration within his year. He says: ‘Building personal relations is not easy and neither is getting a team to work together. When I started my career at MetLife there was only one person working alongside me, and currently we are six. At the moment we work as a very close-knit team and constantly exchange experience with one another, which empowers each lawyer. This makes you realise that continuous exchange information and ideas gets a team to work better and more actively and proactively’. Prior to assuming his current role at MetLife in 2001, Ladrón worked as chief attorney of social security and insurance business at Santander Group, where he was in charge of providing legal assistance to AFP Summa Bansander and to Compañía de Seguros de Vida Santander.
Recognised as an in-house counsel capable of participating in complex projects and always being able to generate creative and efficient solutions, Mario Larenas has led Freeport-McMoRan’s legal department in Chile for the last four years. Upon joining the US-headquartered mining company, Larenas was tasked with reorganising the Chilean legal function and managed to successfully reduce the headcount of the team without compromising the quality of work. Key highlights in his more recent career focus on fostering a culture of support and cooperation between his staff lawyers in a department that now works as a single unit, as well as successfully participating in overseeing Freeport-McMoRan’s negotiations with local communities to ensure the smooth running of mining operation and projects. In addition, Larenas was intricately involved in the sale of Candelaria Mining Complex to Lundin Mining, as well as with his successful negotiations with unions of Sociedad Contractual Minera El Abra. A significant portion of Larenas’ career has been within the mining sector with previous in-house roles held at Minera Antucoya and Antofagasta Minerals. Before joining the mining sector, he worked in private practice for the law firms Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos.
Consorcio Financiero is a leading financial services group in Chile, engaged in a wide range of activities that manages a total of $13bn in assets. In charge of the legal department of the banking segment of the group Banco Consorcio, Alvaro Larraín provides legal support to three distinct lines of business: individuals, small and medium-sized businesses and financial investments. Described by a source as a ‘highly knowledgeable GC’ with a ‘fantastic technical understanding of the financial services industry’, Larraín is tasked with overseeing the legal defence of the bank and is responsible for the bank’s compliance with all existing standards. In addition, Larraín has been key in all new initiatives undertaken by the bank, recently supporting its efforts to introduce current accounts for corporate banking, to launch a preferential banking service and to open a fourth branch for customers with incomes of less than $1.2m. Prior to being appointed as the general counsel at the Banco Consorcio seven years ago, Larraín worked there as a lawyer providing assistance to the bank on a variety of issues. His experience of the bank’s operations over time has placed him at the centre of the organisation’s strategy, offering both legal and commercial advice.
The Banking Association of Chile plays an important role in bringing together the domestic and international financial institutions that operate in Chile’s banking community. In addition to analysing new banking regulations and finding solutions to common problems in the industry, the organisation represents its members before an array of state bodies in order to facilitate change. General counsel Juan Esteban Laval is at the heart of this process having presented the arguments of the banking community before the Commission at the National Congress in the legislative process of several bills of law. Since joining in 2014, Laval has ‘developed a strong relationship with the general counsels’ of the banks associated to the organisation following excess regulatory developments that occurred after the current government took office. In successfully negotiating between the GCs and regulators, his approach has been to help develop sound public policies capable of being accepted. Also in his current role Laval heads a team of six and takes an active role in the discussions of relevant committees within the Banking Association. Immediately prior his current position, he was senior partner at the prestigious Chilean law firm Larrain, Rencoret & Urzua. Before that Laval was deputy general counsel of the Central Bank of Chile (CBC) from 2004 until 2012. In that in-house role he was an instrumental figure following the financial crisis in 2008, during which time led and advised the Board on the development of the legal framework regarding policies aimed at providing liquidity to the Chilean financial system. Moreover in another major career highlight, he led the CBC Fiscal Agency’s legal implementation in accordance to the Fiscal Responsibility Law, where he had to negotiate significant contracts with external managers and custodians, subject to foreign jurisdiction, which amounted to $20bn. Further demonstrating his expert skills in contracts, Laval was responsible for the legal matters relating to the management of CBC’s international reserves where ‘he had to negotiate sophisticated agreements subject to foreign law and jurisdiction’. Laval Zaldívar was senior associate with Carey, the largest Chilean law firm in Chile, from 1996 to 2000.
Empresas la Polar is the fourth largest retail company in Chile, operating 43 stores and offering a wide assortment of consumer products. The company also provides a range of other services, such as debit cards, general and life insurance and extended warranty on durable products. The company’s highly praised legal unit is led by a young and dynamic lawyer, Alvaro Lavín, who is highly experienced in corporate law, insolvency, labour and tax. In his role, Lavín is in charge of the direction and planning of legal advice of the company and its subsidiaries, directing all legal support to La Polar’s senior management team. Having only recently taken the helm of the legal function of La Polar, Lavín previously worked as a senior lawyer within the legal team for three years advising internal clients on a multitude of corporate legal matters. Prior to that, Lavín worked at Superintendencia de Quiebras (the National Superintendent of Bankruptcy), where he was a member of the technical commission that drafted laws concerning reorganisation and liquidation of assets of companies and individuals. Lavín started his career as a private practice lawyer at Alessandri Abogados.
Before Rafael Le-Bert joined the Chilean fishery and seafood company Camanchaca, it did not have a legal department, with all of its legal work done by external firms. Le-Bert immediately started to have a transformative impact on its work: ‘The introduction of a legal department represented a major change on the domestic culture of Camanchaca, consolidating the direction of its legal affairs, making the company more efficient’, he explains. ‘We added a permanent legal strategic advice to all of its business areas, which has made the company more aware of the relevant legal aspects and gave transparency and order. We also created policies that allowed us to do work quicker. The legal department contributes to the creation of value. A continuous legal guidance is very important for the correct assessment of risks and the avoidance of potential legal problems’. Arriving at the company from a private practice background, Le-Bert managed to develop a strong legal department with specialisation of individual lawyers and standardised contracts in place. In addition, Le-Bert altered the approach that the company uses to select law firms, while reducing outsourcing expenses in the process. On the commercial side, Le-Bert impressed with his work on Camanchaca’s US$234m debt restructuring, contributing with his involvement in complex negotiations, contract review and enabling more convenient new ways of signing new contracts. With approximately 90% of Camanchaca’s sales derived from exports to a diverse range of countries such as China, the US, Russia and Brazil, Le-Bert and his team have to keep an eye on changing fish market regulations in various markets, and closely follow Chilean drafts legislation. ‘As such regulations could have implications on the completion of potential projects, we have to be aware of even the tiniest changes’, he says. Prior to moving in-house, Le-Bert worked for various law firms, namely Morales & Besa; Russi & Eguiguren Ltda; Uribe, Hübner & Canales Abogados; and Jorquiera & Rozas.
A lawyer with a proven track record of adaptability and versatility and solid experience of creating value via business process improvements, Oscar Lira Valdes boasts a career of 15 years leading teams that cover legal, sustainability, contract management, human resources and investment projects. In charge of the legal department at Pacific Hydro, a global clean energy solutions provider, since December 2015, Lira has undertaken an impressive overhaul of the legal function, establishing interdisciplinary committees to address problems arising from across the company. In addition, Lira was appointed to lead the contracts, procurement and bidding department, achieving the implementation of a strict compliance policy. However, not all of Lira’s achievements have been operational or legal, he has also made considerable impact on Pacific Hydro from a commercial point of view: ‘I have also taught my lawyers to solve problems from a business perspective’, he adds. Adding immense experience to the legal team, Lira has been able to increase work efficiency, whilst significantly reducing external spend. Prior to joining Pacific Hydro Lira spent eight months at U. Central developing a corporate structure and dealing with government institutions. His first in-house role was with CODELCO, the world’s largest copper producer, where he was responsible for provision of direct advice to the CEO and board of the company. As one source said: Lira’s biggest value adds probably come from his ‘experience, dealing with people-negotiating, and solving problems fast and being a [business] partner’.
‘A leader with an enormous capacity of handling complex legal problems’, Andres Lopez Campos heads the legal department of Abertis Autopistas Chile, a subsidiary of the Spanish conglomerate corporation Abertis Infraestructuras and the largest operator of highways by volume of traffic in the country. Described as ‘an excellent professional’ and ‘a dynamic and creative lawyer with excellent interpersonal skills’, Lopez has supported Abertis’ efforts to invest in new infrastructure projects in Chile, demonstrating a seamless ability to tackle any matter, however complex, with a high standard of efficiency, while achieving excellent result in the process. In addition, Lopez has been praised for his capacity to negotiate contracts for his company, his expertise in commercial litigation and ability to find and apply the best alternatives while dealing with legal matters. Lopez’s previous work includes experience of working for large multinational corporations and prestigious law firms with senior positions held at Cointer Chile, Parque Arauco, Farmacias Ahumada and Pini & Cia.
Jaime Luarte Julio was hired by ARAUCO Group in 2011 to develop the contractual area of its legal department. The task at hand was a tremendous challenge for Luarte, not only because ARAUCO is ranked as one of the five largest renewable forest producers worldwide, but also because the position presented a challenge to Luarte’s professional and personal capacities. When Luarte joined the company, he had to undertake the ambitious task of setting up the contract function from scratch, establishing a unit now known for its responsible, organised, efficient and proactive approach to work. To achieve this goal, Luarte had to successfully develop various contract templates and to establish corporate contractual policies, as well as different criteria for contracting and negotiating. To enable fluidity and efficiency in contract management and negotiation, Luarte also had to make technical innovations to his function, namely a corporate platform for electronic signature of contracts and a corporate software for the management of corporate documents. Currently in the position of chief counsel at ARAUCO, Luarte is responsible for the group’s contractual issues in Chile, as well as the legal administration of ARAUCO’s foreign commercial branches and worldwide intellectual property matters. Luarte assumed his previous role at the financial services company Multicaja at the age of 28 and was responsible for its corporate legal management, playing a key role in its quick growth. Prior to that, Luarte worked at Citibank Chile and Banco de Chile as an attorney in banking and financial affairs, receiving awards for his outstanding performance.
In his role at the Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton, Nicolas Lustig oversees the legal strategy of Minera Escondida, the largest copper mine in the world. Having joined BHP Billiton in 2015, Lusting has already captured the headlines in Chile with his exceptional work on one of the most complex negotiations on collective bargaining in the mining sector. After more than 15 years of experience in the financial and securities market, employment law was not one of Lustig’s specialisms. Nevertheless, Lustig managed to successfully oversee the Minera Escondida legal strategy during a sanctioned strike, recording several victories, with estimated daily losses at over $20m. Lustig’s strong negotiating skills, dedication, long-term planning and strategic foresight were visible throughout the process. Previously, Lustig worked as the head of legal of LarrainVial, one of the largest financial intermediation and advisory firms in Latin America. Before that he was employed as an associate general counsel of Grupo Nueva, an investment holding company, specialised in the business of forestry and wood derivatives. He started his career in private practice at law firms Claro & Cia and Greenberg Traurig, where he developed his skills and expertise in corporate law and financial transactions.
Rodrigo Mackenna Cooper has worked in-house for a range national businesses including large multinational corporations, covering different industries and types of businesses. According to him, ‘this means that I have been involved in and have worked in many branches of law, having to handle the concept of the “internal customer” and the relationship with the operation of the company’. In March 2014, he joined Australia-headquartered Transfield Services, now known as Broadspectrum, as general counsel for all the operations of the company in Chile. When Broadspectrum was acquired by the Spanish Ferrovial Group in 2016, Mackenna played an important role in the integration process and became general counsel of the Ferrovial Servicios companies in Chile. Ferrovial Servicios specialises in providing a different kind of industrial services for mining, energy, ports and general industry, which includes engineering, construction, environmental and project management services. In a short space of time he has restructured the legal team in terms of specialties related to the processes and legal matters that are required by the company’s operations. The changes have enabled him to establish the legal workflow in relation to the business and the support areas, setting down detailed internal procedures that are in turn taught to business peers across the relevant departments of the company. This was part of an initiative to instil the ‘education of the legal culture and risk protection’. As Mackenna says: ‘This has positively affected both the legal department and the different areas of the company, since the legal requirements are made on time and with the necessary information which benefits the times of response and quality of work. All this has also influenced the company’s financial issues, reflecting a notable decrease in labour and all kinds of litigation and associated costs, substantial savings in contractual penalties and lower external legal costs’. This is an especially important feature of his tenure as the changes coincide with the decline in the global market value of metals and especially copper, which of course caused significant strain on the company. Prior to 2014, Mackenna was chief legal counsel for over two years at SK Comercial, part of the SIGDO KOPPERS Group, a Chilean leader in implementing construction projects and large-scale industrial assembly and industrial provider to mining, energy and construction industries. Between 2010 and 2011, he was legal counsel at Consorcio a leading financial services group with assets totalling over $13bn, where he actively participated in all types of financing projects, regulated market and contracts. He also had a two and half year spell at law firm Pérez Donoso where he learned corporate law, tax and governance. This impressive career has led to many highlights for Mackenna, but he believes his best work has come out of complexity or uncertainty. He highlights restructuring companies in financially and operationally complicated circumstances, financing operations and corporate restructurings and the setup of legal risk matrices, models of contract negotiation, implementing uniform legal policies and procedures as some of his biggest career achievements.
Toronto-based gold-mining company Kinross began operating in Chile in 1998 after it purchased a 50% stake in in the Maricunga open pit mine. Today it is one of the world’s top five gold mining companies by production, attracting the best legal talents, including Ximena Matas the legal director for Chile. Matas is described by one peer as ‘a very competent and innovative general counsel who manages a broad range of issues’. In 2017 she helped the company divest its 25% stake in the Cerro Casale gold and copper project in northern Chile in a deal worth a reported $260m, and its 100% interest in the adjacent Quebrada Seca exploration project. The deals follow a challenging year for the company, which had its mining and crushing operations suspended by Chile’s environmental enforcement authority to temporarily curtail the pumping of water from the groundwater wells. In addition, its wholly owned subsidiary, Compania Minera Maricunga (CCM), was served with two separate lawsuits filed by the Chilean State Defense Counsel. Matas has gained recognition for her role in handling the appeals to the Chile’s Environmental Tribunal, filing the defences for the CCM litigation and for coordinating her team during a difficult time – as one source says, ‘she is a leader, a very strong team player, who is always encouraging her team’. This is in fact Matas’ second spell at Kinross in Chile; she re-joined in 2014 after two years as an intendant for the Chilean government. Her first spell in Kinross’ Chilean legal team immediately preceded her time in government and she was also an attorney at the National Environmental Council (CONAMA) in a four year period between 2002 and 2006.
Pablo Mattar Oyarzún has been at Banco Central de Chile (BCCh) since 1997 and has amassed a wealth of experience in the banking and financial sector as a result of his two decade association with said organisation. Mattar Oyarzún fulfils a dual role for the country’s Central Bank: Acting as deputy general counsel and attesting officer he authenticates the decisions of the organisation’s Board and safeguards that its decisions and resolutions comply with applicable legal provisions; as well in his role of chief counsel of normative legal services, a position which he has held for almost 10 years, in which he advises and provides specialised legal opinions on regulatory issues covered within the scope of the ample legal powers granted the BCCh. According to an official source, the scope of the legal service he provides covers ‘regulatory issues regarding the exercise of normative powers in connection with monetary, financial and foreign exchange operations, the issuing of institutional or internal by-laws to implement transparency, lobbying, conflict of interest and ethics legislation’. As part of his responsibility he also oversees and reports on legislative discussions in Congress related with prospective legislation relevant to the ‘organisation, composition, functions and attributions of the Central Bank’. He also provides legal opinions concerning resolutions, provisions and contracts issued or adopted by the Bank regarding banking, capital markets and payment systems, including its review in accordance with the policies adopted by the Board. Mattar Oyarzún also plays a crucial role in relation to other authorities and the legal compliance or applicable transparency requirements applicable for its authorities and employees. Before taking up his current position, he had been the first lawyer of the Bank’s legal department since 2004. Said responsibilities have included, among others, being part of several internal and external working groups, regarding the law-making process adopted by Chile in order to modernise and assess the General Banking Legislation and to adopt higher standards on transparency and ethics legislation applicable to State entities; of regulations issued by the BCCh on High Value Payment Systems operating on real time basis and on payment cards or associated electronic fund transfers; being also part of the negotiation of several Free Trade Agreements agreed by Chile and of international evaluations on Chilean standards referred to financial, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and counter financing terrorism matters.
With revenue of almost $3bn, Entel is the largest telecommunications company in Chile, operating mobile phone networks, landlines and internet connectivity. Originally created by the Chilean government in 1964, the company was privatised between 1986 and 1992 and is now a major constituent of the Chilean stock market. Part of Entel’s development included the reinvention of its legal department to make sure documentation and processes were are the highest level for investors. As part of this process Cristián Maturana Miquel was hired as legal manager in 1994. Upon joining Entel, Maturana already had a wealth of in-house legal experience: he had been a lawyer at Grupo Gómez Gallo (1981-1985); a lawyer at Compañía de Teléfonos de Chile (1985-1990); and chief legal counsel at ENAP (1990-1994). Entel was able to draw on Maturana’s experience as it sought to gain international investment, increase its network coverage and expand into new markets. He has been a key part of the company’s continued expansion both within Chile and into Peru – providing the legal advice behind Entel’s three-year investment of over $2bn. As well as assisting Entel, Maturana has held positions of importance to the wider legal industry in Chile. He has been counsellor of the Chilean Bar Association since 2013, and is a counsellor for the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the Chamber of Commerce of Santiago.
BCI is a Chilean bank that operates across four business areas: savings and deposits; insurance; asset management; and securities brokerage. Founded by the Yuar family in 1937, BCI has grown into one of Chile’s leading financial institutions, enjoying a significant international presence with 22% of its assets and revenues derived from abroad. The legal department of the bank, led by Paul Reginald McDonnell Huerta, has been an increasingly important part of all operations – as indicated by recently supporting several transformative initiatives implemented by the company. For example, 2016 has seen BCI implement a significant organisational change, with the company restructuring its retail, SME, institutional banking and finance areas, achieving enhancement of its value offering through specialised products and channels. The company has also rolled out digital transformation initiatives, such as a fully digitised opening service of checking accounts and an online debt consolidation service in its retail banking service, as well as a personalised service model and specialised service platform in its SME banking division. McDonnell and the legal team have played an important part in this restructure, helping the change run as smoothly as possible. As well as supporting these initiatives, McDonnell’s legal team has received acclaim for its pro bono work, recently receiving a ‘Most Outstanding Legal Department of the Year’ award from Fundación Pro Bono – a distinction for the work and voluntary contribution of professionals of the legal department.
LATAM Airlines Group’s Juan Carlos Mencio has been praised for his ‘perceptive legal mind and unique insights’ and his ability to ‘focus his team on being productive and ensuring top-line work’. Having served as the senior vice president of legal affairs and compliance for LATAM Airlines Group since September 2014, Mencio has impressed with his knowledge and expertise of capital markets matters. Mencio’s unique skill set has been invaluable to the completion of several noticeable transactions, including the merger of Chilean flag carrier LAN and Brazilian airline TAM (forming LATAM Airlines) to LATAM’s more recent subscription agreement with Qatar Airways. ‘Mencio consistently displays extensive knowledge of the matters’ cross-border implications, and provides deep insight into LATAM’s business verticals and the airline industry at large’, a source states. ‘His unparalleled subject-matter expertise and strong legal mind has driven the success of several transactions and better positioned the company to continue its extensive global operations, serving about 138 destinations in 25 countries, as well as cargo services to about 140 destinations in 29 countries’. Previously Mencio held the position of general counsel for North America, as well as general counsel for its worldwide cargo operations, both since 1998. Prior to that, he worked in private practice in New York and Florida representing various international airlines.
Jose Ignacio Merino has 16 years of legal experience in the mining, financial services and healthcare industries. A skilled negotiator and specialist in legal and compliance frameworks, Merino boasts industry-wide reputation for his ability to manage multidisciplinary and multicultural teams in different jurisdictions. Merino joined Abbott Laboratories in November 2014 when the pharma company acquired CFR Pharmaceuticals. His priority after this appointment was to lead the implementation of Abbott’s corporate policies in the acquired company, without compromising productivity. He managed to achieve this goal by ensuring smooth compliance with US Foreign Corruption Practice Act (FCPA) regulation and actively seeking compliance synergies among affiliates in Latin America, enabling Abbot to save 20% of its budget. Another major achievement during Merino’s time at Abbott involves the design and execution of a full compliance program to be implemented in the Southern Cone of Latin America, following a deep compliance assessment of each individual country. Before joining Abbott, Merino served as head of legal and compliance at Energia Andina NCRE, a company engaged in geothermal energy exploration. His relatively short stint there was full of important professional victories, including the successful negotiation and closing of contracts to guarantee $100m worth of green energy projects, presenting a plan to develop 500 MW in geothermal energy concessions and advising the company on the commercial and business strategy for 12 renewable energy projects in Chile. Previously, Merino served as senior lawyer and chief compliance officer at financial services company ING and at law firm Assouline & Berlowe.
One of the most impressive achievements in Alan Moya’s legal career has been fundamentally altering the culture of SNC-Lavalin Group in Chile, introducing legal training to employees across the company. ‘My goal is to offer expedite and integral legal services to my clients’. he states. ‘However, I believe that the legal influence should go beyond just providing on-demand answers. In my opinion, companies can benefit if legal analysis comes from everyone. For these purposes, I engage in permanent training and I try to be very didactic when I explain my opinions to my non-lawyers colleagues. This is an ongoing process, but I already started to see changes in simple things like, for example, an engineer using legal terms in their letters to a counterparty, or using capitals for terms defined in a contract’. As SNC-Lavalin’s focus in Latin America is primarily on providing engineering services to mining and oil and gas companies, the recent commodities crisis has impacted the company, with recent cost-cutting measures requiring Moya and his team to be more involved in providing business advice as well as legal security. Previously, Moya worked at Pattern Energy, where he participated in the development, financing and construction of major renewable energy projects. In his first in-house legal role, Moya founded the legal department at Echeverria Izquierdo, a public infrastructure company with a headcount of approximately 6,000 employees and presence in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
The beginnings of Nissan’s history in Chile go back to 1962, when its Datsun model was installed as the first automobile manufacturer in the city of Arica. The Japanese automobile manufacturer made a considerable push into the Chilean market in late 2014, and as a signal of its intent hired top in-house legal talent Anita Munoz in 2015. With the parent company developing its emissions-free vehicles in a number of international markets, Munoz oversaw a deal to deliver a fleet of 25 of its LEAF electric vehicles to employees of Enel, Chile’s largest electricity group. As the vehicle integrates a number of new technologies, Munoz has been a key player in alleviating any data protection concerns with domestic regulators. The partnership was heralded by Nissan Chile CEO, Santiago Castro, who is quoted as saying: ‘In the case of Enel, we share the vision and internal culture of using technology for the environment. We are pleased with the interest of its partners in being pioneers in Chile, in the same way that Nissan was when we launched the first electric vehicle of mass use in 2010‘. Before joining Nissan, Munoz spent over five years at Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP), Chile’s national oil company. After demonstrating her skills there as legal head of trading, in under two years Munoz was internally promoted to compliance director where she developed the company’s ethics code. Before ENAP, she spent a brief time at private practice firm Cariola Diez Perez-Cotapos & Cia Abogados, after gaining recognition at Unilever Chile where Munoz was legal manager from April 2007 until December 2009.
Pfizer’s operations in Chile can be traced back to 1959, when the company was the first multinational pharmaceutical business to enter the country. Since then Pfizer has established a significant presence, forging its reputation as a key player in the local pharmaceutical market. In his role of regional legal director, Ricardo Muza oversees Pfizer’s legal affairs across all business areas in Chile and other countries in the Andean region. Muza has provided legal support to Pfizer’s ongoing strategy to focus on innovation for the last six years, including the company’s investment in its flagship Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine (CEPM), which focuses on cancer diagnostics and personalised medicines. This and other initiatives have enabled Pfizer to form strategic partnerships with external entities in Chile, facilitating the country’s capacities for research and development. In a previous role as legal advisor at the leading Chilean utility Transelec, Muza impressed with his work on successfully conducting negotiations for and closing studies on environmental impact with Arcadis Chile and MWH Americas for the Energía Austral Project. Prior to that, Muza worked as a senior associate and junior associate lawyer at Honorato & Russi and Larrain & Asociados, respectively.
As general counsel and power generation lead lawyer at Siemens Chile, Juan Eduardo Naylor Razeto provides support to the company’s mining and energy business lines in the country. In this role Naylor is tasked with ensuring that all legal matters pertaining to general corporate affairs, contracts, M&A and labour law are dealt with in close coordination with the company teams in Germany, the US and South America. Naylor’s advanced negotiation and relationship building skills can be seen in his work with suppliers, as well as with his consultancy on proposals and tenders. Naylor previously served as senior counsel and legal coordinator focusing on the healthcare sector cluster, coordinating legal issues across the Southern Andean region for Siemens. Naylor developed his expertise in corporate law and contract negotiations during his time at Ernst & Young, where he was in charge of coordinating international policy in the US and South America.
Created in 1953 by governmental decree, Banco del Estado de Chile (also known as BancoEstado) is Chile’s only state-owned bank and since the 1970s has been the country’s largest bank. In April 2014, the bank hired Pedro Neira Asenjo as legal director for his formidable experience in providing legal advice to high profile Chilean institutions. In 2017 he has already helped the bank open new branches and issue a number of bonds in Japan, Australia and Switzerland. With new domestic banking regulations reportedly requiring BancoEstado to obtain a capitalisation of $1bn to comply, they will rely on Neira to draw on his experience in order to manage the additional requirements. Immediately prior to his appointment, he was a consultant at Proter, a retailer in construction tools. Prior to that, Neira was legislative legal advisor and chief of staff for Senator José Antonio Gómez between 2007 until 2014. During that period he also served on the board of directors of ENAP Refinerías for a one year period immediately after the global financial crash. In other senior legal positions Neira has been deputy secretary general of government, from 2006 until 2007, head of the Communications Department and advisor to the National Directorate of Legal Medical Service for three years between 2003 and 2006 and he was a legal adviser at the Chilean Copper Commission at the turn of the century. Neira holds a Master’s degree in environmental law from the University of Chile and also holds a diploma in administrative and economic law, and a degree in mining from the Universidad Católica de Chile. Given his vast experiences at different governmental institutions, he has also spoken at various national and international seminars, including in China and Costa Rica.
General counsel at Chilean holding company Empresas Jürgen Paulmann, Ricardo Olivares leads and directs the management and implementation of all strategic matters of the group and all related companies both nationally and abroad. ‘A competent in-house counsel, capable of managing a broad range of issues’, Olivares is a professional known for his ability to negotiate and obtain consensus even in an adverse environment, minimising the legal risks of the group across its diverse operations and business units. Having joined the group initially as a lawyer in 2012 and then promoted to general counsel in 2015, Olivares has successfully undertaken the ambitious task of streamlining all processes within the department. As a result, the legal operation is now defined by the excellence and reliability of its advice and prompt response times to the problems faced by the group. Prior to moving in-house in 2012, Olivares worked in private practice in Santiago.
With revenues close to $1bn, not only is Concha y Toro Latin America’s biggest wine producer it also one of the leading companies in the global market for wine. It owns famous brands such as Casillero del Diablo and is the second largest wine producer in the world in terms of planted surface area, with near 11,000 hectares in vineyards in Chile, Argentina and California. Working at its headquarters in Santiago is chief legal officer Enrique Ortuzar, who advises on legal matters for the company and its foreign subsidiaries. He has been recognised for serving the growing company, which requires the full range of legal skills. He has been a key player in taking Concha y Toro’s products to foreign markets and has facilitated an increase in partnership, distribution and agency agreements. Ortuzar has also been key in the expansion of the corporation abroad where the company has more than 24 subsidiaries. The company’s involvement in all stages of the production process, the supply chain and the global distribution network has also meant Ortuzar has had to demonstrate strong skills in contract negotiation and understanding deeply the business’ commercial aspirations. The company’s commitment to constantly strengthening its brands, in an industry marked by challenging advertising regulations and laws throughout the world, has meant that a great deal of work has gone into trademark and intellectual property protection. In part due to Ortuzar’s advice in facilitating the company’s activities, Concha y Toro has won numerous industry awards in recent years such as awards for its corporate responsibility and branding in jurisdictions with famously strict labelling laws. He was involved in the company’s acquisition of Fetzer Vineyards in California in 2011, the creation of its Center of Research and Innovation in 2014 and the company’s entry into the real estate market in 2017.
One of Chile’s most prominent telecommunications lawyers, Miguel Oyonarte recently joined VTR Globalcom to oversee legal support to the company’s large network of services in Chile. A wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Global, VTR is the largest provider of cable television in Chile, with over one million subscribers, and the second largest provider of fixed broadband internet. However, it was during his tenure at Claro Chile, another leading telecommunications company, when Oyonarte became recognised as one of the sector’s most exciting legal talents. Described by sources as a lawyer capable of ‘attending to the legal necessities of an important telecom organisation and dealing with complex legal issues in an adverse environment,’ Oyonarte developed the legal department of the company and was a driving force behind the promotion of innovative technologies. In particular, in 2016, Oyonarte helped Claro push 4G+ technology to the region of Bío Bío, enabling customers to access mobile internet at significantly faster speeds. In the past, Oyonarte also led the legal department at Nextel Chile.
Juan Pablo Suffiotti joined the leading Chilean construction company Echeverría Izquierdo Montajes Industriales (EIMISA) to support the company’s growth strategy by leading an in-house legal department. His task, from the very beginning, was to ‘design policies, practices and methodologies applicable to our legal department so as to shape a commercial practice that is fully in line with a regulatory framework which is becoming day-by -day more sophisticated’, he says. ‘I think that this challenge has positively and widely impacted the company’. At the same time, Suffiotti has contributed to the success of EIMISA immensely with his involvement in a wide spectrum of projects, mainly related to construction, engineering, mining pulp and paper, oil and gas, completing valuable work in the bidding phase, the preparation and negotiation of contracts, lodging legal claims and leading the litigation strategy before arbitration courts. Other achievements in the role focus on leading labour and corporate law matters, as well as the supervision of outsourced legal resources. Suffiotti’s first in-house role was with ABB, where he had the opportunity to put in motion the theoretical knowledge he had previously acquired in private practice. His work at ABB focused on supporting the company’s engineering, construction and infrastructure projects in Chile, as well as providing advice on miscellaneous matters in labour and corporate law.
Andres Palacios is a legal professional in charge of managing all legal and compliance matters of LG Electronics in Chile. With a demonstrated capacity to minimise all legal risks to ensure the long and short term completion of the company objectives, Palacios has successfully shaped the legal function into a well organised unit that has a tangible impact on the commercial affairs of LG in the country. Praised for being a ‘dedicated and efficient’ lawyer with a ‘commercial vision when making decisions’, Palacios reports directly to LG’s senior corporate structure and maintains a direct connection with the different lines of management within the company for the provision of legal advice for the due diligence of transactions or negotiation of contracts. Before assuming his current role at LG in 2015, Palacios worked in the Chilean in-house legal department at Golder Associates, a global provider of consulting, design and construction services to the environmental sector and before that worked in private practice.
As the first telecommunications company to offer direct-to-home satellite service in Latin America, DirecTV currently holds a leading position in the Chilean home entertainment market. Joining the company in 2014, Gianpaolo Peirano instantly hit the ground running by streamlining the legal service to achieve quicker response times, a feat that enabled him to establish an internal reputation for excellence among his colleagues. In addition, Peirano took a leadership role in the company’s antipiracy efforts. By helping to protect against content theft, Peirano is contributing to the company’s distinct content differentiation strategy. Prior to his role at DirecTV, Peirano was in charge of legal and regulatory affairs for Chile at Claro, a subsidiary of America Movil and the fourth largest telecommunications company in the world. Before that he also headed the legal department at Telemex, a large Mexican telecommunications operator. His experience has made him one of the most impressive telecoms corporate counsel in Chile and the wider Latin American region.
Specialising in the generation and distribution of electrical energy in Chile since 1985, Colbún currently has 23 power plants in the country with another plant in Peru. Earning around $1.4bn in annual revenue, Colbún operates through a number of affiliated companies. Following an executive restructure in 2007, the company recruited Rodrigo Pérez to fill the newly created position of legal manager in order to govern all legal matters impacting the company. This year has already proven to be rewarding for Colbún as Pérez helped secure a 12 year $400m liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply deal with ENAP, Chile’s national petroleum company. The agreement enables Colbún to hire shipments from ENAP or third parties to access resources and in a wider sense allows it ‘to have direct access to the international LNG market’, according to Colbún’s CEO, Thomas Keller. Also this year Pérez’s negotiation skills led to a mitigation agreement with Chile’s Superintendence of the Environment, which will suspend the sanction it initiated against Colbún a result of the noise generated by its thermoelectric Santa Maria plant. Before joining Chile’s electricity giant, Pérez was based in the US and served PPL, a multinational energy company, in a position where he was responsible for the management of legal matters in Latin America. He holds two Master’s Degree; one in Humanities from Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and another in Philosophy from Los Andes University.
Diego Peró Ovalle has implemented several changes in the management of the legal team at SalfaCorp, one of the largest and most important Chilean construction and real estate companies. To reduce legal spend the team ‘brought in a significant share of the legal work previously being outsourced and designated new specialised in-house attorneys in charge’, Peró explains. ‘We also put in place a strict control of the external counsel fees and compliance with the budget’. At the same time, Peró has advised the company on the implementation of a new business structure, reorganising the legal department accordingly. As a result of these efforts, delivery of advice has been improved significantly without altering the strict control of the legal risks. Peró’s transactional work has also been a particular success, specifically his efforts to lead complex negotiations with authorities regarding certain public infrastructure projects, and providing oversight on negotiations for structured credit facilities for approximately $250m. Faced with new labour and tax reforms in Chile, as well as ever increasing regulation in competition and compliance, Peró and his team of 16 employees have developed new internal policies and procedures and have introduced amendments to the company’s standard subcontract agreements.
Glencore, the Swiss multinational mining company, has a significant presence in Chile’s extensive network of copper mines. When the company took over Xstrata in 2013 to create one of the world’s largest natural resources groups, it also took over its operation in Chile. Carlos Prat Guarachi had been legal manager for Xstrata’s Chilean operations and projects since 2007, and he maintained his position, albeit with changes in scope, after the takeover. He joined Xstrata after six successful years at law firm Cariola Diez Perez-Cotapos between 2001 and 2007, during which time he was awarded the Rio Tinto/Chevening scholarship to study an LLM in Mineral Law and Policy at the CEPMLP University of Dundee, Scotland. He describes the subsequent transition to an in-house counsel as ‘not easy and taking time to reset your mind’. Adding to this Prat Guarachi says: ‘As an in-house lawyer you have to handle different topics, laws and problems at the same time, so you need to learn how to manage your time and how to delegate efficiently and effectively’. Following the move to Xstrata he began building the legal function and gained recognition for demonstrating his ability to fashion the team into his own image. ‘There were other lawyers in the company that I had to deal with. I gave them the time to adjust to my way of working and I had to make the changes that I felt necessary. I learnt that if you do not make those changes, the team loses efficiency and that harms the organisation’. Glencore was keen to keep Prat Guarachi’s services after acquiring Xstrata and he is now in charge of all legal and corporate issues for operations in Chile. One of Prat Guarachi’s most impactful pieces of work has come from handling the legislative and social changes around the mining industry, as well as obtaining environmental permits required for the approval of Glencore’s extractive projects. Having gained internal recognition and trust, Prat Guarachi will be relied on to help oversee the company’s forthcoming challenges.
Almost since the beginning of his legal career, Aníbal Prieto Larrain has been involved in energy deals and the construction projects of energy related facilities. Starting out as a private practice lawyer at Prieto & Compañía in 1998, he joined Engie (formerly GDF Suez) as a legal manager and chief legal counsel of the Chilean subsidiary of the company, where he has been working to date. Key highlights in his career include the negotiation of various EPC contracts and resolving conflicts associated with them, as well as participating the sale of 50% of Transmisora Electrica del Norte to Red Electrica de España. The latter deal was one of the most exciting transactions in Prieto’s career, as it was the first occasion that he worked in the selling team. He states, ‘the experience showed me the other side of the coin in these deals. I believe we got to agree a very good arrangement for both parties’. In addition, Prieto has had an active role in various negotiations of long-term (10-20 years) power purchase agreements with mining clients, as well as negotiations of sale and purchase agreements for the long term supply of natural gas. ‘This aspect of my career has been a great opportunity to participate in long and complex negotiations in which is pretty common to have different nationalities and cultures interacting. In these contracts I would say you really came to know the business,’ he says. Another major achievement in Prieto’s career at Engie has been changing the culture of Engie’s legal function. Apart from making the department less reliant on external counsel, Prieto has also integrated his team into the quality control process in the company, with every relevant contract and letter now being checked by the team to avoid mistakes. Education of business peers within Engie has been one of the keys to Prieto’s in-house success, and he believes that it is crucial that everyone within the company understands the benefit that collaboration with the legal team can create.
PepsiCo has been present in Chile for more than 30 years and currently provides a broad portfolio of well-known food and beverage products, such as Lay’s, Quaker, Pepsi, Twistos, Gatorade and Toddy. Cristóbal Quezada has been in charge of the company’s Chilean legal department for the last six years, providing legal advice to PepsiCo’s leading brands within the market for snacks, cereal, soft drinks and cookies. Of particular note has been Quezada’s provision of support in matters related to regulatory issues and frameworks, as well as his management of the various projects undertaken by the company, assessing legal risks and providing solutions and alternatives to achieve strategic objectives. ‘He maintains the quality of his team and the commitment to excellence in the legal service provided’, a source says. ‘He is an excellent lawyer and an outstanding counsel, one who trusts his lawyers, maintains focus and clarity’. Quezada’s previous expertise includes work at the law firm Aninat Schwencke & Cia, where he provided advice on corporate, commercial and real estate law.
Operating a total generating capacity of 6,351 MW, Enel Generación Chile is one of the country’s largest electricity generator. Around two thirds of its operations are focused on hydroelectric production, one third is dedicated to thermal and it also has a smaller wind generation business division. To highlight the company’s significance in the country, it provides around 38% of energy to The Central Interconnected System (SIC), Chile’s main electrical system which covers 93% of the total population. Ignacio Quiñones has been general counsel for Enel Generación Chile since 2013, having accumulated 27 years of experience in other companies beforehand. Leading a team of seven, he successfully undertook cost saving exercises in the legal function and has been commended for his handling of various ‘reorganisations and M&A of companies with high results in a controversial environment with minority shareholders’. Quiñones’ formidable CV includes eight years as general counsel for Anglo American Chile, where he was commended for his role in resolving a dispute with Codelco over a stake participation in Los Bronces Mine. Another feature of his successful tenure at Enel Generación Chile has been working on various cases on arbitration disputes concerning power supply agreements to relevant copper mines in Chile. Whilst a legal advisor for Compañía Minera Zaldívar, a subsidiary of Placer Dome, Quiñones highlights his involvement in Las Cristinas Gold Project association with Edelca to connect Venezuela and northern Brazil using a 400 kV power line as another career highlight. According to one source Quiñones is described as ‘a professional with 27 years of legal experience as an in-house lawyer in major companies with active participation on corporate functions, project development, compliance, energy, procurement, litigation, conflict solution and arbitration management’. With such distinguished pedigree it is no wonder that he enjoys a trusted and close working relationship with the CEO Valter Mero and the rest of the senior executives in Enel Generación Chile.
GE Energy Connections, part of the GE conglomerate, creates industry-leading technologies to improve the transmission, distribution and conversion of electricity through its grids and systems, which provide electrical power to a diversified customer base. Based in Santiago, Vjera Razmilić is senior legal counsel for the entire South Cone region for GE Energy Connections; covering company operations in Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Peru. In Chile, she in fact supports all GE businesses. Razmilić is ‘responsible for the day-to-day activity, structuring and drafting commercial contracts of the company’s key strategic and corporate account customers, including both private and public sectors’. She also maintains the company’s commercial policies and procedures, and ensures its consistent application throughout the business. Geared for success, Razmilić has held other high profile positions within the GE conglomerate. Immediately prior to her current role she was legal counsel South Cone region for Current Powered by GE, in a four mouth spell where she covered Chile, Argentina, Peru and Colombia’s operation of GE Current and Lighting Businesses. Between 2012 and 2016 she covered the same jurisdictions as legal counsel for GE Lighting, her first role at the conglomerate and where she first demonstrated the skills which led to her subsequent promotions. It was during this period, June 2015, that she was admitted to GE’s LATAM Labour & Employment Center of Excellence, a position she has maintained ever since. Describing her enjoyment of in-house life Razmilić says, ‘you can grow as much as you want in an in-house role’ and ‘in-house jobs allow you to work with multi-disciplinary teams’. Before her time at GE, Razmilić worked at E-CL (now Engie Energía Chile) and was in charge of supporting the group’s different Chilean entities by negotiating power purchasing agreements, helping in finance projects, corporate and labour matters. She obtained a Master’s degree in international business law from ESADE Business & Law School in Barcelona in 2009.
‘Hard working, thorough, with a good analytical mind’, Patricio Reyes Urrutia heads up the legal team at Masisa, a wood products company headquartered in Chile. Reyes has a reputation of being a flexible international lawyer capable of overseeing the legal affairs of a company with manufacturing operations across several Latin American countries. Part of the senior management team at Masisa, Reyes has important say on strategic decisions and has contributed to instilling a culture of openness within his company. Masisa has, on several occasions, achieved leading position in the “Corporate Transparency Index” metric developed by Inteligencia de Negocios (IdN). ‘Patricio is a hands on general counsel who knows when and how to delegate without taking his eyes away from the ball’, a source says. ‘Articulate, direct and intellectually honest, he does not shy away from making tough decisions’.
With over 1,000 stores in Latin America, over 125,000 staff and a global revenue of around $19bn, Cencosud stands out as Chile’s largest retail company. Sebastian Rivera’s first spell at the company came in 2001 where he developed special expertise in shopping centre regulation, contract law, litigation and negotiation among others matters. He notes leading the credit cards operation as an important milestone during this spell, as he was working closely with the finance department to implement Cencosud´s new credit card. Between 2009 and 2012 Rivera was general counsel for Sociedad de Inversiones Norte Sur, a diversified investment company, handling business and corporative law, contractual matters, compliance reporting management and public policy advocacy. In August 2012, he re-joined Cencosud as compliance officer and was asked to create the compliance area by developing the main policies and procedures for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance with crime prevention and antitrust rules. ‘Creating a new area is not easy. You must take on challenges and save organisational culture barriers. This appointment allowed me to acquire important tools to relate with internal clients seeking legal advice, and also important knowledge’, he says. In 2013, Rivera added the role of manager for the real estate legal department to his remit – marking his professional development, since this is an area of great importance to the company. According to him, ‘working [in the real estate team] required a very rigorous, precise and highly creative deployment in order to meet the expectations of the business’. His success meant Rivera was promoted again in less than 12 months. He assumed his current position in 2014 as legal manager for Cencosud Chile whilst maintaining his compliance role, and now leads a multidisciplinary team of professionals. He says, ‘from a legal perspective, operating in one of the biggest companies in the country is great but also challenging at the same time, given the growing pace of legislation and the complexities and the risks which it presents for the business’. Rivera has already achieved a great deal in his dual role: he built an ‘efficient, quality- and business-oriented legal department’; he participated in the negotiation of a joint venture with Scotiabank; he led the defence before the Competition Court over an alleged collusion of supermarkets; he was also involved in making a placement of a bond and supported in the sale of a share package of the controller in his ‘most recent career highlight’. He also points to providing legal support for all the areas involved in the functioning of the Costanera Center Tower, the highest building in Latin America, and whose construction cost about $1bn, as another career highlight in a long list of significant achievements. He is currently working on compliance with the latest national laws on food labelling and public parking payments which affects Cencosud’s supermarket businesses, in addition to the day-to-day challenges of legal work in a company of the magnitude of Cencosud.
The second largest banking institution in Chile by total assets, Banco de Chile provides a complete range of financial services to its client base, which includes large corporations, SMEs and private clients. Nelson Rojas Preter is general counsel and secretary at the company, leading the department that supports the company’s vast network of 434 branches and almost 2,000 ATMs. Having worked at the bank since 2002, Rojas is among the most experienced and reputable corporate counsel in Chile with his 30 years of in-house legal experience. Having navigated the company through a severe economic crisis and several important litigations over the years, his more recent focus has been on facilitating and supporting the company’s strategic vision for the future. One area of focus for the company recently has been improving customer experience, recently launching a new website that features state-of-the-art security standards and provides greater flexibility and ease of use. As a result of this and other significant improvements in its remote channels, Banco de Chile was recognised as the financial institution with the best digital and banking platform in the country. In addition, the company has been increasingly targeting the microenterprise segment through its consumer banking division, CrediChile, which in 2016 was the bank with most microenterprise customers in the country. Prior to joining Banco de Chile, Rojos worked at Edwards Bank in a similar role.
Walmart Chile is one of the main players in the national retail industry, selling food and merchandise through various supermarket brands, including Lider, Express of LIDER, Lider.ch, Ekono, SuperBodega aCUenta and Central Mayorista. Carmen Román, the general counsel in Chile, is a professional known for her experience of successfully organising and leading teams in the retail sector. Highly experienced and skilled in dealing with corporate requirements within a multinational company, Román’s strengths lie in conducting legal risk analysis and her ability to handle emergency situations. This has enabled Román to successfully oversee legal support for Walmart Chile’s diverse scope of activities in recent past, advising the company on corporate work, labour, real estate and other issues. Managing legal risk in all areas of competence for the retailer, Román has demonstrated an ability to anticipate and evaluate risky situations before they arise. At the same time, Román has impressed with her ability to lead and organise teams and evaluate the impact of legal management on internal clients. In the past, Carment has been awarded as one of the 100 female leaders in an initiative organised by El Mercurio and Mujeres Empresarias. Before joining Walmart, she served as legal manager at Cencosud.
‘He is a very competent general counsel who manages a broad range of issues with creativity and innovation. Working with him on complex matters is simply a privilege’, one source says when describing J.P. Morgan’s Alejandro Rubilar. Described as ‘one of the most experienced, innovative and hard-working general counsel’ in the financial services industry in Chile, Rubilar joined J.P. Morgan in 2008 and currently serves as senior country counsel. Arriving at his current employer with a wealth of technical expertise attained within the financial sector in Latin America and the US, Rubilar was presented with the challenge of managing a legal function facing a number of challenges when it comes to coordinating regional work on projects. He says: ‘The ongoing challenge is ensuring appropriate and accurate coverage acting as trusted advisor for the business while at the same time motivating people, fostering colleagues’ careers, not only with respect to direct reports but contributing to the development of the legal department as a whole’. Balancing business needs with the control and oversight agenda, while safeguarding relationships with regulators requires a continuing rethinking of the role of a lawyer. Forced to redefine its strategic priorities due to increasing regulation and the changing market practices on transparency and compliance, J.P. Morgan’s senior management is increasingly turning to the legal department. ‘While transactional activity continues to be critical, focus on implementing regulatory changes, adequate mapping of applicable rules and laws and strengthening controls, supervision and escalation protocols are the name of the game’, Rubilar asserts. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan, Rubilar worked as head counsel for corporate banking for nine years at Citibank, N.A. and as an international associate with Shearman & Sterling, based in New York.
In charge of around 40% of electric energy in Chile, Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE) is the largest electric distribution company in the country but also operates natural gas and other services and has significant presence in Argentina. Rafael Salas Cox joined CGE in 1988, starting as one of a number of lawyers in the legal department. Before long he was promoted to become CGE’s chief lawyer and attorney. Owing to his expert legal skills and understanding of the business, in 2006 Salas Cox became corporate manager of legal services and a decade later gained the position of director of legal services. One of his most important impacts in recent times was overseeing the sale of CGE to Spanish company Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) in 2014. Worth a reported $3.3bn for 100% of the shares, the deal was the largest of its kind in Chile for a listed company. More recently Salas Cox oversaw CGE’s merger with its subsidiary Transnet, a milestone in the company’s “Corporate Reorganisation Plan”. Later that year he was tasked with managing a dispute with the O’Higgins Regional Prosecutor’s Office which resulted in a settlement. Salas Cox serves on the board of directors for a number of CGE’s subsidiaries including its Energía San Juan, EJESA, EJSEDSA and EDET businesses in Argentina. He graduated in law from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
A lawyer with a strong background of working in-house and leading international teams, Nicolás Sánchez is a professional widely rated for his business orientation, creativity and strategic thought. As legal and corporate affairs director at WOM, a Chilean telecommunications company formed following the acquisition of Bextel Chile by Novator Partners, Sánchez is responsible for ensuring full compliance with relevant regulations, and assessing the regulatory climate in the country to detect potential opportunities or risks that may affect the business. Tasked with directing both an internal and external team of lawyers and maintaining close contact with key industry stakeholders, Sánchez has successfully ensured the best legal and regulatory outcomes for the business during his time in the role. In his previous role as regional corporate affairs manager at Grupo Bimbo, Sánchez was in charge of managing the corporate affairs strategy of the company in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Before that he worked in the in-house legal department at British American Tobacco, covering legal and regulatory issues across the Southern Cone region. Major areas of praise in Sánchez’s in-house career include the negotiation of complex contracts, development of internal compliance frameworks and self-regulation policies.
Mall Plaza, the Chilean chain of malls owned by Falabella, first opened its doors in 1990 just outside Santiago. Today it is one of the country’s biggest companies and operates 15 retail complexes in Chile as well as three in Peru and one in Colombia. Not content with its size, Mall Plaza is currently developing a further four stores in Chile and two in Colombia. Heading legal affairs for the company is Hernán Silva Villalobos, who works within Mall Plaza’s executive management to assist the company in achieving its growth plans. With industry-leading skills in contract negotiation and real estate matters Silva has been facilitating Mall Plaza’s latest addition to its retail centre portfolio, Mall Plaza Los Dominicos, which will be located in the commune of Las Condes and will begin trading in August 2017. The company is also currently building a commercial centre in Arica which has required a $68m investment – with an area covering more than 34,000 square meters, this centre will house all the usual distinguished retail brands. In another important recent development, when Inversiones Padebest (a subsidiary of Ripley Corp) executed the division of its shopping centre operating company, Aventura Plaza, Silva was involved in securing a stake for Mall Plaza.
Widely praised for his ‘bright legal mind’ and ‘high executive ability’, Gonzalo Smith is a legal professional with over 20 years of experience both in-house and in private practice. Praised for his decisive mentality and his ability to deal with complex situations head on, Smith’s work experience features an array of impressive projects, the implementation of complex legal systems and the creation of several ground-breaking initiatives to redesign organisational processes. Currently in charge of the legal department at Falabella, the largest Chilean retail company, Smith provides legal support to the company’s flagship department stores and Mall Plaza shopping centre. A ‘natural team leader’, Smith has spent a year-and-a-half at the company, during which time he has impressed with his first-class strategic advice to senior management. Previously, Smith worked for 11 years at Wal-Mart, conducting legal work and business transactions across several jurisdictions. Smith’s tenure at Wal-Mart is defined by his efforts to improve the company’s ethics and compliance processes.
‘Michael is a general counsel that you wish to interact with when facing sophisticated issues. He is very easy to work with, even when the workload is intense’, a source says when describing Michael Timmermann Slater, chief legal officer at Latin American Power (LAP). Having joined LAP shortly after its inception, Timmermann was promoted within six months to the position of chief legal officer after originally being recruited as the head of legal for its Chile business. He has been at the core of several leading renewable energy initiatives across Chile and Peru, including the flagship 184.8 MW San Juan wind farm which involved transnational deals with Swedish and Danish companies totalling around $350m. Timmermann and his team currently provide legal and commercial support to 22 projects undertaken by the company, thirteen of which are in operation and nine in development. Widely acclaimed for his strong negotiating skills, Timmermann leads the M&A and project financing practices in the United States, Netherlands, Chile and Peru and is secretary to the board of the holding company with an active role in the strategic and operational committees. Owing to the respectful position he has earned in the company’s hierarchy through his understanding of the business, LAP’s shareholders usually instruct Timmermann directly. In 2016 he was asked to co-lead a US-wide roadshow for the company whilst it sought a $420m private placement for some of its wind assets. In another career highlight he was responsible for leading LAP’s litigation proceedings against SunEdison, after the US renewable energy company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016. Since 2015, Timmermann has been combining his role at LAP with a directorial at the educational foundation Panal-Chile. Previous roles in Timmermann’s career include associate positions at law firms Barros & Errázuriz Abogados and Juan Carlos Cerda & Cia.
Headquartered in Santiago, Itaú CorpBanca is the largest commercial bank in Chile and is owned by Itaú Unibanco, the largest Latin American bank by assets. Itaú CorpBanca operates almost 400 branches in Chile and Colombia, employing nearly 10,000 people. Cristián Toro Cañas, one of the most experienced in-house lawyers in Chile’s financial sector, joined the bank shortly after its inception, following the merger of Banco Itaú Chile and CorpBanca in 2016. Toro’s vast experience of overseeing legal teams in the financial services sector has been extremely useful, as his role currently involves streamlining processes of a now merged legal unit, ensuring smooth legal support in a period of financial difficulty for the newly formed financial institution. Prior to that, while working as the vice president at the Chilean airline company LAN, Toro made his mark by facilitating another significant M&A transaction in Chile – namely the merger between LAN Airlines and Brazil’s TAM Airlines, which created LATAM Airlines. Prior to that he led the legal department of Citibank Chile, one of the largest multinational banking institutions with a presence in the country, developing a reputation for excellence and strong leadership. Toro also has private practice experience, having worked as an international associate at Sherman & Sterling and Montt Iruarrizaga & Cia. He started his professional career as an attorney at Banco O’Higgins.
Luis Andrés Ulloa M. is widely seen as ‘one of the most hard-working general counsel in the industry’, which is perhaps not surprising given the abundance of impressive achievements in his legal career. Currently at the helm of the legal department at Energía Llaima, Ulloa has provided legal advice during the development and operation of market leading hydraulic and solar energy projects in Chile, including Pampa Elvira, the largest solar thermal plant in the world. He is currently working on the development of several projects for a total of 400 MW of electricity, which in the next few years will be injected into the national electricity network, and other solar thermal energy. Known to be ‘accessible and creative at problem solving’, Ulloa currently supports the company’s most ambitious project to date, a hydroelectric power plant located in the Biobío region with a capacity of 109.3 MW. One colleague describes Ulloa as having ‘deep knowledge of both water and energy law as well as issues related to corporate law, civil law and public law. Luis has a great capacity of leadership and an excellent disposition to work in a team, and to help to the others, which is a great contribution in work groups’. Previously, Ulloa worked at Carey and Conservation Land Trust Fundación Pumalín focusing on water law projects. ‘Luis Andrés is an excellent professional, possessing a high intellectual level, persistence and common sense’, another colleague praises Ulloa.
Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis, established itself in Chile 1996 and has since gained a significant share in a number of markets by launching new and bestselling products in the country. Following a resolution passed by Chile’s Chamber of Deputies in early 2017 to encourage the use of compulsory licences to import generic versions of patented drugs, Novartis’ Chilean chapter has recruited Loreto Urqueta, a bilingual attorney, with 20 years of experience in various areas of law and compliance. She is highly regarded by her peers for her ability to ‘participate in complex litigations that are very demanding and always [providing] innovative and creative solutions’. Urqueta gained significant recognition in the Chilean pharmaceutical in-house legal market between 2009 and 2013 when she served as legal head and compliance officer at Roche Chile, another global pioneer in pharmaceuticals. As one source says of her, ‘she is very detail focused, easy to work with, even when the workload is heavy and intense’. Immediately prior to her role at Roche, Urqueta worked in the corporate legal department for Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, for two years in her first in-house role. Developing her ‘excellent command of technical legal terminology and legal concepts used in documents’ throughout her career, Urqueta also spent four years at 3rd Floor Translations, a translation company. She also worked for the some of the most prestigious law firms in Chile such as FerradaNehme between 2001 and 2007 as partner, Barros, Letelier & González from 1998 until 2001 as senior associate and Harasic & López as her first role in 1994.
Known as an ‘exceptional GC: dynamic and proactive with a unique understanding of both the mining industry and the relevant legal issues’, José Pedro Urrutia has been at Anglo American since 2013. The London-headquartered global mining company operates the Los Bronces, El Soldado and Collahuasi mines in the country to produce copper. Prolific in getting important company activities across the line, in June 2017 Urrutia helped facilitate a $77m investment to modernise housing facilities for workers at the Los Bronces mine. In the previous year he helped negotiate and close a new four-year collective agreement with two workers’ unions at the same mine, which ended a legal strike by miners and thus resumed the company’s operations. The CEO for one of the unions stated that the deal was ‘fair and responsible and we are satisfied with the agreement reached’. Following an illegal five-day takeover of the mine that same year, Urrutia was again relied on by the company to lead legal proceeding against the contractors involved. Despite not being in direct conflict with the contractors, Anglo American continued to promote dialogue between service providers and their respective employees in order to establish a healthy and constructive relationship as result of the legal team’s activities. Before joining Anglo American, Urrutia was legal and corporate director for South America at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. between 2007 and 2013. Before that he was a senior associate at law firm Urenda, Rencoret, Orrego & Dörr from 1998 until 2006.
Domingo Valdés is one of the most outstanding general counsel in Chile. For more than 17 years he has been head of the corporate and legal affairs department at Enel Group in Chile – either at Enersis or in its current form as Enel Américas and Enel Chile. In this time, Valdés’ wisdom has supported the company through an amazing amount of internal restructuring as well as significant market and regulatory change. Valdés summarises the change that the utility company has undergone during his tenure: ‘Continuous M&A transactions changing the landscape and configuration of our group; takeovers and restructuring processes; finance operations here in Chile and in all the countries we operate; bonds issuance in Chile; American Depositary Share (ADS) and Yankee Bonds issuances in the USA; among many other transactions we could mention. To that scenario, we could add the constant changing in the regulatory framework that applies to our activity in each country we operate. Ceaseless changing in the electricity regulation, in the stock market regulation, in the corporate government regulation, in the financial and banking regulation and an always increasing demand of transparency and information on behalf of our shareholders and stockholders, is one of the most characteristic features of our times’. One of the landmark events for Enel in South America was a corporate reorganisation in 2015/16, which saw Enersis S.A. conduct a spin-off that ended with two publicly held stock companies, Enel Chile and Enel Américas. This has resulted in a double workload for Valdés as he is now general counsel, secretary to the board of directors and committee of directors for both companies. The way that he has taken this in his stride is indicative of his approach to his work life. Valdés believes that in-house lawyers, ‘must be prepared for every imaginable change of circumstances. The most demanding feature of in-house practice is the change itself. And the lawyers must be duly prepared for that challenge. I think that every challenge I have faced during all these years, has been tackled with a personal and professional disposition to flexibility, keeping the enthusiasm to assume new risks and maintaining myself and my team updated in the understanding of the environment and in the knowledge of the new tendencies that may come up or may have come up in the regulation and the law’. There is no doubt that Valdés has enabled the actions that Enel has taken in order to obtain its dominant place in the energy market, and his leadership has inspired the entire legal team. His connectivity with and understanding of the business is something that he has consciously sought to disseminate to other Enel lawyers – in fact he believes that he has ‘encouraged [Enel’s] lawyers to take some risks in order to acquire expertise and skills in other areas related to their respective practices, such as accounting, business, electricity operation, and so on’. As Valdés continues to advise, mentor and adapt he will remain a great support to Enel’s business strategy and to be one of the standout counsel in Chile.
Andes Mining & Energy is a Chilean power producer with assets in operation and development across Chile and Peru. It was founded in January 2008, when it began developing its 600 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Peru, and now has over 4000 MW of energy projects in Chile and Peru, with 3200 MW of gas and renewable energy generation in Chile alone. Supporting these initiatives is Hernán Felipe Velasco, who has been the general counsel at the company since August 2013. Velasco is responsible for providing strategic advice and risk analysis on all key energy projects and natural resource transactions and is tasked with coordinating due diligence processes for these deals. A well respected lawyer in the national energy industry, Velasco has been commended for his ‘ability to negotiate and obtain consensus even in complex scenarios’. Particular praise was given for his track record of work on project finance and corporate restructuring, as well as his expertise in drafting and negotiating leases related to energy projects.
Kimberly-Clark, the US-based global hygiene products company which produces numerous distinguished personal and baby care brands including Huggies and Kleenex, entered Chile in 1994 and currently operates a production plant located in the commune of Lampa. After joining the Chilean branch of Kimberley-Clark in early 2016 as head of legal, María de Lourdes Velásquez proved an almost instant success with her ability to ‘understand the business environment, anticipate scenarios, contingencies and business opportunities’, according to one source. With her help Chile’s national competition regulator closed a 13 month case against Kimberly-Clark Chile for an alleged collusion to fix the price of nappies without handing it any sanctions. Velásquez was recruited as a result of her successful six and a half year stint at Melon, a leading producer and supplier of cement and construction materials in Chile. From mid-2008 until early 2015, she was head of legal and public affairs manager for Melon and led the two departments with a total of 10 people, reporting directly to the company’s CEO. In terms of legal work she demonstrated a superior skill-set in the areas of civil, labour, commercial, mining, environmental, real state, antitrust regulations, financial and corporate law. Velásquez was a senior associate at law firm Carey between 2002 and 2008, but her first taste of in-house life was at VTR GlobalCom in 2001 to 2002.
The Spanish-headquartered global banking company BBVA began operating in Chile in 1998 by acquiring BHIF Bank and AFP Provida the following year. At around the same time Alberto Vergara was completing his law degree whilst also working as a paralegal with Baker McKenzie in their dispute resolution practice group in their Santiago office. After graduating he was made an associate in 2003 and a year later began teaching constitutional law at his alma mater. Vergara was at Baker McKenzie until 2010 but during that period he won an international scholarship granted by the firm to its top associates, which allowed him to obtain an LLM at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. Having acquired vast knowledge at prestigious institutions up until that point, Vergara accepted the invitation to join the new administration of President Piñera, joining the legal staff of the Ministry General Secretariat of the Presidency, to provide legal advice directly to the President as a deputy legal counsel. For Vergara ‘the recruiting and coordination of a whole new legal team of young talented attorneys, that served for almost four years, with high quality and passion, as legal advisers of the Chilean President’ was a particular career highlight. In 2012 he was appointed general counsel of the Chilean Ministry of Education and managed a legal team of more than 50 lawyers and paralegals, overseeing the legal contingencies of the biggest Ministry in Chile in terms of fiscal budget. Following his government roles he returned to private practice for a two year spell at boutique firm Arteaga & Gorziglia to focus on litigation and antitrust. Having further developed his expertise in these areas, Vergara assumed his current position as deputy legal counsel at BBVA Chile in 2016. In this role he oversees the bank’s litigation and regulation matters, and oversaw the integration and coordination of the two areas. ‘In my opinion, that change is allowing the wider company to use ligation as a tool to prevent future contingencies and to have a more proactive and less reactive approach to the regulation area’, he says. Vergara is also using his ‘deep, close and fluid relationship’ with the general counsel, CEO and other senior management to handle the expansion of several regulations impacting the financial industry by taking a more proactive and early approach to new regulations.
Founded in 1981 with the launch of Chile’s modern private pension system, ProVida functions as the manager of pension funds in the country. Andres Veszpremy Schilling has been in charge of the legal department of the organisation for over 10 years and currently provides advice on all general corporate, social security and insurance law matters, as well as M&A transactions. Drawing on his vast expertise in the Chilean pensions and insurance sector, Veszpremy is known for overseeing the sale of 64.3% of ProVida’s interest to US insurer MetLife from BBVA for $1.54bn in one of the largest transactions in the sector. Previously, Veszpremy worked in private practice at the law firms Morales, Noguera, Valdivieso & Besa and Carlos Poblete & Company, specialising in labour law, corporate finance and insurance and in-house at AIG Chile. Veszpremy started his career as an in-house lawyer in the public sector, working for the Chilean Internal Revenue Service, Ministry of Planning and Latin American Institute in Washington DC. Veszpremy is widely viewed as one of the brightest financial sector lawyers in Chile and is widely praised for his expertise in corporate law, governance and the execution of financial transactions. External nominators describe Veszpremy as ‘a very competent in house counsel who manages a broad range of issues’. A source says: ‘He has the ability to negotiate and obtain consensus even in an adverse environment’.
Having spent over eight years in private practice for both Chilean and international law firms, Daniel Weinstein decided that he wanted more impact by working in-house rather than as an external lawyer. Whilst at law firm Morales & Besa he had the chance to act on all projects for a client from inception to stability in its market. This experience made him realise that ‘the best way to have an impact was to be involved in all aspects of the business and operations of a given company, overseeing projects since inception. And the best way to do that was to work in-house’. As result, in 2013 he joined SNC-Lavalin, an international engineering and construction group with around 40,000 employees globally, to take charge of its legal matters in Chile and Peru. He created the legal department in those countries, overcoming a negative internal perception by teaming up with executives and simplifying complex legal matters for them. Weinstein did the same in his next role as general counsel of QPX, which is part of Quantum Pacific Group, a conglomerate with interests across a broad range of industries in five continents. At QPX he negotiated and executed a strategic alliance and joint venture with Barrick Gold in 2015, in one of the largest green field exploration agreements in the world in recent years, with a deal value of $150m. Weinstein says of the deal that it was: ‘Key to thoroughly understand the strategy, risks and goals of both Barrick Gold and QPX in the negotiations’. He was also instrumental in a deal between QPX and Asset Chile, which involved obtaining financing granted by the Fenix Program of CORFO (Chilean Economic Development Agency), an agency interested in promoting mining discoveries in Chile. He was subsequently appointed as director of the board of Exo29, the company created by the deal with Asset Chile. In early 2017, Weinstein was recruited by global mining behemoth BHP Billiton. As a legal manager in the Minerals division, the company’s major operation in the region, Weinstein leads the legal team in charge of Projects and Supply. He is ‘involved in the negotiations and the execution of the company’s infrastructure projects. In this position, I have been involved in infrastructure projects aiming to extend, sustainably, the life of the mines that the company operates and to secure water for the operations’.
A skilled negotiator with 20 years of experience as an in-house lawyer in Chile, seven of which were spent in the energy sector, Alberto Zavala currently serves as general counsel at AES Gener, the second-largest power generation company in Chile. Zavala’s tenure at AES is defined by his work to support the company’s most important strategic energy and infrastructure projects, including Alto Maipo, the largest hydroelectric power plant project in the country. With a combined capacity of 531 MW the project is expected to be completed by 2018. Apart from providing support to all operational legal aspects of the project, Zavala and his team have recently impressed with their work to handle the project’s complex restructuring process. Highly valued for his critical way of thinking, Zavala is frequently called upon by senior management to provide input on the legal implications of long term strategic decisions. Recently, for example, he provided advice to the signing of a multilateral agreement with GE’s Power Services for services and tools to overhaul up to nine stream turbines and generators at four thermal power plants. Prior to that (1997 to 2010), Zavala worked as a regional counsel for Latin America at the insurance company ALICO.
This edition of the GC Powerlist recognises the leading and most innovative general counsels of Chile. They were chosen by The Legal 500 after careful evaluation, which included many consultations with significant players in the Chilean legal community.
Carey is honoured to have been invited by The Legal 500 to be part of its first coverage of individuals that are playing a significant role in the business success of their respective companies.
In recent decades, Chile has been one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America and it presently has the first or second (depending on how it is measured) highest per capita income of the region. The liberal reforms of our economy which have sustained such growth were kick-started in the mid-80s and consistently improved thereafter. Chile has entered into free trade agreements with most, if not all, of its trading partners and has a low, uniform tariff duty applied to all imported goods. Chile is a member of the OECD and is widely recognised as one of the most open and stable economies of the world. It is also perceived, together with Costa Rica and Uruguay, to be one of the countries in Latin America where there is less corruption. Chile has a free press, an independent judiciary and a generally honest political class.
Starting in 2015, however, Chile has been facing many scandals involving illegal financing of political campaigns by the private sector. These scandals, presently under judicial and public scrutiny, are small compared to the ones that have been exposed in other countries of the region. By way of example, Odebrecht did not pay any bribes in Chile in comparison to the huge amounts it paid to gain undue advantages over its competitors in many other countries.
Recently, the laws applied to political campaign financing have been deeply changed, inter alia, to make it illegal for corporations to fund such campaigns. These changes should greatly improve the relationship between money and politics, particularly if our authorities actively enforce them (which should be expected) and also if the press and social media continue to relentlessly scrutinise the activities of our politicians and governmental officials.
Chile has also faced in the recent past several cases where price fixing schemes have been discovered and many already severely punished by our free competition authorities. As a consequence, our entrepreneurs are now taking free competition regulations very, very seriously.
Recent polls confirm that the illegal funding of political campaigns and the above mentioned exposure of collusion cases have caused Chileans to believe that they are living in a corrupt environment. We believe that this perception is wrong and will soon fade away and, as a consequence, our nationals will, once again, feel proud of Chile’s long-standing reputation of institutional honesty.
Important legislative changes made in the first half of President Bachelet’s administration have kept the legal profession very active, as they have in many ways directly affected the business of its clients. These changes include a major revamping of our tax laws, a labour reform that increased the power of unions in collective bargaining and a major educational reform which adversely affected private educators. Many believe that these reforms are partly responsible for the severe reduction of Chile’s economic growth in the last three years and this is why their design, implementation and consequences will be in the heart of the presidential election which will take place by the end of this year.
Although we might be sailing in some rather turbulent waters at present, at Carey we have a positive view of the future of Chile. We are confident that 2018 and the years to come will mean more challenging work for our specialised teams of practice in a transparent and reliable country. In this spirit, we will continue exerting our best efforts to help our clients understand and correctly apply our laws and regulations.
We wish the general counsels and their teams mentioned herein and The Legal 500 great success in their respective endeavours.
Nominations now open!
Nominations are now open for: Africa Teams, Australia, Brazil, Central America, Central and Eastern Europe Teams, China Teams, Germany Teams, Hong Kong Teams, India, Ireland Teams, Italy, Middle East Teams, Norway Teams, Russia Teams, Southeast Asia, Switzerland, Turkey and United States.
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