GC Powerlist Norway
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For 30 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: Norway, 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 Norway, 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: Norway 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: Norway, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Norway 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: Norway
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Executive vice president, general counsel and chief corporate affairs officer
Håkon D. A. Amundsen
Group legal counsel
Executive vice president, primary market and legal affairs
Finanstilsynet (the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway)
Apotek 1 Gruppen
Chief legal officer
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Vice president, legal operations and legal director Europe Africa
Tor Olav Carlsen
Group legal counsel
Norsk Gjenvinning Norge
Vice president legal and licensing
Simen Aasen Engebretsen
Legal counsel – senior business developer
Stein Ove Erdal
Associate general counsel
Head of legal – Northern Europe
Arild Støren Frick
General counsel, Norway and Denmark
Nils Arne Grønlie
Director global product supply
Chief legal officer
Daniel Lindebjerg Haaland
Vice president and general counsel
Sapa Extrusion Europe
Head of Legal Europe
Sara Neumann Habberstad
Greta Kelwing Haugberg
General counsel, Nordic and Baltic region
Senior vice president head of group tax
Hans Olav Holmen
Katrine Hverven Sontum
General counsel and human resources director – head of HR, compliance and legal
Senior vice president, legal and compliance
Stine Renée Jarslett
Chief legal officer
Solør Bioenergi Holding
Arild Kvanvik Jørgensen
Total E&P Norge
Vice president, general counsel
Knut B. Kjøsnes
Hans Henrik Klouman
Senior vice president, legal and general counsel
Executive vice president and general counsel
Johan Woo Kvandal
Forsvarsmateriell (The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency)
Karin Stakkestad Laastad
Konkurransetilsynet (The Norwegian Competition Authority)
Sopra Steria Holding
Chief legal officer
Vice president, legal
Santander Consumer Bank
Kjell Clement Ludvigsen
Legal manager and general counsel
Executive vice president for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and general counsel
Group general counsel
Chief legal officer
Get AS and TDC A/S
Rune Olav Pedersen
Executive vice president and general counsel
Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS)
Otto Sivertsen Roheim
Ragna Bergholt Rom
Executive director and general counsel
Executive vice president and general counsel
Ingvill Mari Saunes
Group general counsel
Head of legal Norway
Senior vice president legal and compliance
Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GEIK)
Karl Otto Tveter
Executive vice president, group functions and legal affairs
Per Anders Vaagenes
Executive vice president and general counsel
Human resources and legal director
Chief legal director
Head of legal and business affairs
Wenche Agerup moved in-house in 1993 after a successful three year spell at law fi rm Thommessen, Krefting, Greve & Lund. She made the move having worked closely with in-house counsel as an associate and relishing the opportunity of having greater connection with the company and its businesses. As a result she joined Hafslund Nycomed, a large Norwegian pharmaceutical company, working on various corporate legal work, negotiations and M&As. In 1997, Agerup joined the legal team at Norsk Hydro, the global aluminium and renewable energy company. She held a number of senior positions there including Head of the corporate M&A department where she was instrumental in delivering a NOK 10bn divestment program ‘which resulted in approximately 10 divestments during the 3 year period’ from 2001 until 2004. In 2004 she was also responsible for successfully arranging Yara’s listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Another notable position Agerup held was project director for Norsk Hydro’s joint venture with the Australian company UMC which involved her moving to Perth, Austrialia for two years. However she returned to Norway in 2010 to become Norsk Hydro’s executive vice president, corporate staff s and general counsel spending a total of fi ve years in the position. Highlights for Agerup in that distinguished position include developing key corporate strategies and action plans and delivering corporate cost improvement programs, change management processes. Having worked hard to create a formidable career, Agerup was recruited by Telenor Group in 2015 to become the major mobile operator’s executive vice president, general counsel and chief corporate aff airs officer. Fearless in her approach Agerup is quoted as saying ‘I wasn’t worried about entering a new industry‘, when describing the move. In 2017, she was involved in a deal that saw Telenor sign a global agreement with Netfl ix that will see the streaming service integrated with both Telenor’s TV platforms in Europe and mobile operations in Asia.
Håkon Amundsen has been integral in leading the Storebrand legal team through a number of new regulations eff ectively, achieving both commercially and legally viable outcomes. His astute project management has resulted in a well-functioning interdisciplinary team which has been able to negotiate and implement several strategic partnerships and transactions. As the responsible lead lawyer for Customer Norway (sales and marketing) and business development, Amundsen advises on and handles a wide range of issues covering the entire span of product and service off erings at the asset management company as well as its corporate governance. Discussing his most eff ective methodologies, he explains that he has created a “one stop shop” for legal services within the organisation, entailing a more personalised system where clients can call upon one lawyer who coordinates all relevant subject matter expertise. This has in turn created a feeling of ownership with regards to the business outcome, encouraging the team to strive to ‘understand the business equally as well as the relevant decision-makers’. Amundsen sees it vital to leverage the importance of being able to take lead of diff erent projects and be action-oriented. Amundsen has consistently proven his contentiousness by overcoming a ‘regulatory tsunami’ which has impacted every part of the business. Illustrating this he claims ‘it was challenging to give clear advice in a highly dynamic and developing regulatory landscape’. Overcoming these issues by leveraging a project management methodology that adapts the planning and execution phases to the expected regulatory timeline, Amundsen has also helped the business obtain and maintain an overview of the relevant regulatory pipeline.
Starting out at Oslo Børs as a lawyer for several years, Øyvind Amundsen assumed his current position in 2010 as executive president responsible for the primary market section and all legal affairs at Oslo Børs. He previously held positions as a partner in the law firm Selmer, working with public equity capital transactions, and as executive vice president corporate affairs at KLP, one of Norway’s largest insurance companies. Amundsen sits on a number of boards, including the Singapore-Norway Chamber of Commerce. Amundsen gained his Cand. jur from the University of Bergen and became an authorised financial analyst from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. Amundsen holds a higher officer degree from the Norwegian Naval Academy.
As the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway, Finanstilsynet is the government agency tasked with regulating companies operating in Norway’s fi nancial sector. As general counsel for the institution, Cecilie Ask holds a distinguished position in the country’s in-house legal arena and works on a number of signifi cant activities to ensure companies operate in compliance with law and regulations from Storting, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance and international accounting standards. In 2016, the Norwegian government set up a fi ve-member committee to review the country’s shareholding legislation with the goal of making the everyday life for small and medium-sized businesses easier. Being a highly respected individual with a proven track record in legal services, Ask was of course chosen by the government to be one of the members of committee. In one of the most recent cases Finanstilsynet has been involved in, the Norwegian regulator conducted on-site inspections at six brokers and took away four licenses as a result of law violations it found in a move that refl ects Norway’s growing concern about the risks associated with contracts for diff erence (CFDs) trading.
Øystein Askim joined the largest Norwegian pharmacy chain, Apotek 1 Gruppen, in 2007 and today is the company’s legal director. With a turnover of over NOK 11bn and more than a 40% market share, the company is always cautious of expanding without breaching competition laws, but Askim has so far ensured Apotek 1 doesn’t abuse its strong position within Norway’s pharmacy industry. In late 2016, Apotek 1 became Norway’s fi rst online retailer of prescription drugs when Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie offi cially opened its online pharmacy headquarters in October. Askim had a key role in facilitating the online project by helping the company navigate through a number of regulations. Following that seminal development, in 2017, the pharmacy chain entered into a fi ve-year framework agreement with EG for the delivery of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for its new online platform – a project which is the Nordic region’s largest implementation of Dynamics 365 within the retail market. In another national fi rst, Apotek 1 opened Norway’s fi rst airport pharmacy at Oslo Airport in 2017. Askim was again involved in the legal matters concerning the setup of the new store and managing director Øyvind Winther said of the development that ‘this is one of the most exciting establishments we have ever made. The fact that we as a market leader are in fi erce competition with other players and still gained this position means we are very pleased’. Before joining the company, Askim had a successful nine year spell as an associate at the law fi rm Thommessen Krefting Greve Lund in Oslo.
Camilla Berg continues to impress in her role as general counsel for Nord Pool, Europe’s leading power market that offers a range of services across fifteen European countries. Her involvement on the landmark PCR (Price Coupling of Regions) project, an initiative of seven European Power Exchanges to harmonise the European electricity market, has taken a large portion of her time in recent years and has led to a number of important agreements between participating nations and institutions. Away from the PCR project, Berg showed the full range of legal skills in interpreting and implementing the Capacity Allocation and Congestion Management (CACM) Regulation, an important European regulation which allowed Nord Pool to become appointed as a nominated electricity market operator (NEMO) in the domestic markets of its main competitor. As a result of Berg’s first-rate work in this field, she now chairs the legal group responsible for implementing the CACM regulation throughout Europe. Berg has also been proactive internally and has continued to restructure the legal team to meet Nord Pool’s ambitious business expansion plans in light of the new opportunities in the European market. By aligning the department with Nord Pool’s business development team, she and her team demonstrate perfectly the role in-house lawyers are able to play. Legal now sits alongside business development team in meetings with the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and the Transmission System Operators (TSOs) in EU Member States as well as other bodies to discuss the future single European market for electricity and the efficient use of cross-border transmission capacity. Berg is now one of 12 expert members in an ACER expert group that discusses all energy regulations throughout Europe.
Frode Berg is the chief legal officer for Norwegian Air Shuttle, Europe’s third largest low-cost airline and the sixth largest lowcost airline in the world. Berg and the rest of the legal department has been key to the airline’s growth and global status. Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and with almost 6,000 employees based in Europe, Asia and the US, Berg has had to encapsulate a wide range of technical legal knowledge. Faced with challenges from competing airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle embarked on a strategy to buy more than 200 new fuel-effi cient jets, making it more fi nancially fl exible and a resilient player in the market. Berg has given legal guidance and led major negotiations and decisionmaking across the board. Coming from a 16 year tenure in private practice at law fi rm Simonsen Vogt Wiig, Berg boasts extensive experience on advising a number of cases within the shipping, off shore, oil and gas sectors with a business-savvy mind-set.
In charge of a large legal sphere covering operations in the regions of Africa, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia Pacifi c, North America and South America, Tomas Bille currently has 100 professionals reporting into him. Bille concedes that the combination of legal knowledge gained from his time at the International Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and as a legal counsel within local government gave him a good foundation for the job as legal counsel at FMC Technologies. His current role has given him the opportunity to contribute in developing ‘a world class legal team’. Bille admits that the combination of being operationally hands-on as vice president for Europe and Africa and leading organisational development as vice president legal operations and legal integration lead gave him a ‘wide range of challenges and opportunities to grow experience and knowledge’. After joining FMC as legal counsel he became senior counsel before taking the position as legal director in the Eastern region. After two years in this role, he was given the opportunity to lead global contracting covering FMC’s contract governance, processes and activities worldwide with dual reporting to the managing director in the Eastern Region and the company general counsel. Following the merger with Technip in 2017, Bille started his current dual role as vice president legal operations (reporting to Technip’s CLO) and vice president Europe and Africa. He integrated his legal function on important projects and says that working closely with the sales and marketing department whilst being responsible for employee relations strategy between 2011 and 2015 gave him greater business understanding. Building the global contracts environment has also been one of his biggest achievements, as he explains: ‘The opportunity to build a global contracts environment as director of global contracting has positioned me for implementing my philosophies and model for legal contract management built on pillars of business partnership, global people fl ow and knowledge sharing’.
Kjerstin Bull-Berg has been with the Norwegian arm of Swiss company ABB, which manufactures and supplies power and automation technology products to utility and industrial customers, for over 21 years. This remarkably long tenure has given her a unique perspective into the company’s operations, allowing her to ‘add value to virtually any matter or transaction’. In 2008 she was appointed as general counsel and senior vice president and has since overseen a number of hugely important deals. In 2016 ABB was awarded a $30m contract from Statnett, Norway’s transmission operator, to provide two substations in the country. In addition to bringing new sources of renewable energy into the Norwegian grid, the development also integrates power from UK and German interconnectors, strengthening the northern European power system. In 2017 Bull-Berg worked on the agreement with Statoil to provide it with safety and automation systems at the Johan Castberg oilfi eld off the coast of Norway. Before her association with ABB, Bull-Berg gained extensive experience of working with important clients whilst at Norwegian business law fi rm Thommessen from 1989 until 1996. Between 1984 and 1989 she was lawyer and secretary to the board to Finanstilsynet, a regulatory body supervising fi nancial companies in Norway.
Formed in 2010 by a merger of Norway’s two biggest IT companies, EVRY is today one of the leading IT companies in the Nordic region. With his vast experience in handling M&As and strategic planning, Arne Byberg was recruited by the company in 2016 and is already making his mark by working with the company on a number of important agreements whilst handling the ever growing list of data protection laws aff ecting IT companies. In December 2016, EVRY signed a fi ve year agreement with Fana Sparebank to ‘deliver next-generation core banking and payment solutions in addition to banking and operations services’. A month later, Byberg was involved with the banking sector again when EVRY signed an agreement with Landshypotek Bank to simplify the bank’s loan management processes. Most recently in June 2017 he worked on extending, for a further two years, EVRY’s collaboration with Sveriges Riksbank. In other strategic deals Byberg’s been involved in, EVRY acquired Icecon Aff ärssystem in April 2017 to strengthen its position as a leading Microsoft partner for Dynamics NAV. Byberg is set to continue playing an important role in the EVRY’s strategic activities such as the planned acquisition of Samlink to strengthen its position in the Finnish banking market and EVRY’s intention to launch an IPO on the Oslo Børs. Before joining EVRY, Byberg held a variety of legal roles at global IT company Hewlett Packard between 2005 and 2016, leading the global strategy for the legal department in both Norway and at the company headquarters in California.
Currently holding the position as group legal counsel for Norsk Gjenvinning Norge, Tor Olav Carlsen believes he gained experience for this role through his previous position as process operator for Alcoa Norway during his studies to become a lawyer. ‘From this moment, I learned to work together with industry blue collar workers, including understanding their ways of communication and needs on a daily basis’ he explains. Carlsen spent seven years working for high-end law fi rm, BA-HR with a focus on dispute resolution, employment pensions, M&A and private equity. On the thought process behind going in-house, he claims he wanted to work more closely with other groups of employees within a number of specialities and to participate closely in business decisions. He made the switch to the in-house sector recently, assuming his current position in 2016. Even though his in-house career is fl edgling he has already contributed a number of projects that have been implemented within the business. Carlsen has participated in a special steering committee together with the senior management, chairman of the board and representatives of the owners working to follow up and improve the group’s achievements with regards to their pre-set overall performance goals. He has also been working as project manager in connection with restructuring of the Norsk Gjenvinning Norge production facilities, which entails interaction with other groups of specialised employees. He admits the preceding has propelled him into his in-house career by ‘giving me fi rst hand insight of the business and being able to participate in strategic business discussions’.
In 2015, Martin Ekelund assumed his current position as vice president legal and licensing for Freebit, owner of an intellectual property right (IPR) portfolio for C-shaped ear interface technology. In this capacity, and as a member of Freebit’s management team, Ekelund holds responsibility for all global legal aff airs and has been tasked with licensing the interface product to some of the world’s largest tech and audio companies. Most recently Monster launched a headphone range with renowned sports personality Cristiano Ronaldo featuring Freebit’s in-ear technology. Ekelund reveals, ‘a lot of sales eff orts have been brought under the legal responsibilities, and this has resulted in a big increase in licenses, revenues and results’. This work has been evidenced by an introduction of litigation strategies against the giants of the audio industry, as well as increasing license portfolio by 200% by targeting China and Hong Kong markets. On overcoming challenges in the region Ekelund says: ‘We have seen a few large acquisitions in the industry, challenging our position. Standing up for your rights, in this environment is tough for small companies. Legal services are expensive, and creative thinking and good strategies are needed to be able to survive and thrive in a hostile environment’. Ekelund assumed his fi rst in-house position in 1997 for IKEA, a tenure which acted as a platform for a number of large-scale deals – for example the principle copyright case against MagLite, and the fi rst foreign domain name case in China in the early 2000’s. His in-house career has been nothing but dynamic and broad, covering a range of large multinational companies. In 2008 he served as the senior legal counsel, global head of IPR for ESAB Group, and from 2012-2015 he assumed position as principle adviser IPR for Statoil, the Norwegian state oil and gas giant.
Consistently praised by peers in the region, Simen Aasen Engebretsen has made his mark both on corporate and structuring issues throughout the business. Described as ‘proactive’ at handling complex legal issues, he stands out for combining legal skills with deep insight and a keen interest in business development. Amongst his most noticeable work in the region, Engebretsen made a particularly good impression on the event in which Gjensidige and AMF established a joint venture in relation to the real estate company Oslo Areal. An all-round successful lawyer, he has been complimented by a nominating source for being ‘a valuable contribution not only to the legal department within Gjensidige, but also to the business that the legal department supports. This was proven by his internal promotion to the position as senior business developer within technology and development - a rare career move for an in-house counsel’. Since the start of 2017 he has moved into a business operating role responsible for carrying out strategies, with a recent focus on further digitalisation and transformation into more analytical driven operations. Some of his most outstanding transactions include the acquisition of the Baltic operations in 2015 which amounted to NOK 300m in revenue. In charge of the M&A negotiations Engebretsen concedes, ‘it shaped me as a lawyer in a way that I broaden my negotiation skills together with strategic thinking and focus on synergies and posttransaction issues’. He was also instrumental in the fi rst ever Tier1 loan in insurance businesses in Norway. As part of the key member team internally that was responsible for the Tier 1 loan, this experience gave him insight on how the insurance company is funded and how various funding sources are allocated and treated. He was also central in the establishment of joint venture for Gjensidige asset managementclass; real estate portfolio which amounted to NOK 8bn, establishing the foundation of the joint venture and the various sections of the joint-venture agreement. Engebretsen has also been responsible for implementing all new EU regulations into the company. This entails making the company compliant with new regulations both from a legal and operational standpoint.
Stein Ove Erdal currently works as associate general counsel within the subsea segments for Nexans Norway’s Submarine High Voltage division and Hybrid Underwater Cable division. His main priorities in this position encompass contract review, qualifi cation and negotiation of tenders in relation to oil companies and installation contractors. He started his time as legal counsel for Nexans Norway in 2010, assisting in contract drafting and management and was promoted to his current position as associate general counsel in 2015. Erdal commenced his experience of the oil and gas sector in one of his previous roles as lawyer for law fi rm Arntzen de Besche in 2008, where he advised clients on health and safety law, environmental and energy law issues and contract review. Erdal continues to advise clients on climate change issues, specifi cally related to emission trading, carbon capture and storage and renewables related to wind power production. Recently Nexans has secured a leading position in the subsea market by signing a fi ve year global framework agreement with BP covering the engineering, procurement and construction of umbilical and direct electrical heating systems and ancillary equipment. Erdal has assisted in this agreement that is said to establish the long standing relationship between Nexans and BP that started in 2002. Erdal previously held the position of deputy judge for Fjordane District Court, where he held and passed judgement in several civilian litigation cases as well as criminal proceedings.
Since its formation in 1962, Elkjøp has grown into one of Scandinavia’s largest electronics retailers with subsidiaries and stores across the Nordic region, including Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands and annual revenue of over $4bn recorded for the fi scal year 2015/16. Magnus Fegth returned to in-house work after a successful four years at law fi rm Kvale Advokatfi rma which ended in 2008. In terms of Fegth’s recent activities, he assisted on Elkjøp’s purchase of Infocare Workshop, a service and repair operator, in an agreement signed October 2015 and that ‘will strengthen our service off erings by ensuring eff ective repairs and changing service off erings’, according to a senior company source at the time of the deal. Since then Fegth helped the company secure its largest business contract ever in January 2017 when Elkjøp concluded an agreement with SpareBank 1 Banksamarbeidet to supply mobile phones and tablets to the entire SpareBank 1 Group over the next four years. With the company openly harbouring aspirations of being ‘the Nordic response to Amazon’ and head of corporate markets, Vegard Bjerkvik, saying of the company’s landmark deal with SpareBank 1 that ‘this is just the beginning. We are now geared to handling this type of agreement in the future’, Fegth looks set to play a key role in the Elkjøp’s future growth.
Commercial IT legal director for Dell’s Nordic operation, Hans Flensted- Jensen leads Dell’s EMC’S legal team in the Nordic region - a team of five people spread out in all four Scandinavian countries. Flensted- Jensen and his team have provided strong local support for the recent merger between the two global technology companies Dell and EMC Corporation. Following the closing of the deal in September 2017 the legal team has supported the sales and operational integration of the two organisations as well as focusing on establishing and integrating a new legal team with team members from both legacy companies. Flensted-Jensen’s huge passion for social media and technology is evidenced by his astuteness and success in these areas. Having always had a strong focus on the business side of things, he has always strived to make sure the legal department is not a ‘party killer’ but an enabler. In this capacity he currently leads and co-ordinates the legal team to support the marketing teams in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East & Africa). Joining Dell in 2012, Flensted-Jensen has consistently worked his way up, starting as the Nordic legal counsel, then moving onto the legal manager and then eventually in March 2016 assuming his current position as legal director. Flensted-Jensen is currently part of Dell Norway’s senior management team responsible for the Norwegian business unit. Prior to his time at Dell he served as corporate legal counsel at DuPoint Nutrition & Health where he worked on contract drafting, negotiating intellectual property rights, research and development agreements, sales and purchase agreements, material transfer agreements and confidentiality agreements. He was also in charge of general in-house legal support regarding internal policies in terms of code of conduct and a whistle-blowing system. Flensted- Jensen is recognised for his ability to lead a culturally diverse team remotely, and the empowering and trusting of each team member ensuring efficient and strong support to the local business units in the respective Nordic countries. Described as someone with a ‘pragmatic approach’ who ‘thinks outside the box’ by nominators, he is praised for his ability to communicate complex legal issues in an easy and comprehensible way to colleagues at all levels. In 2014 he was included on the annual Talent 100 list published by the renowned Danish business newspaper Berlingske Business, as one of just 100 people selected as the Danish corporate world’s rising stars.
As the longest serving general counsel at one of Norway’s largest companies in the private sector, Arild Støren Frick, in cooperation with the CEO, the board and the audit committee has had an integral role in defining Aker ASA’s position through the years. With his vast experience, Frick has provided Aker ASA with an abundance of insight which has significantly saved the company from costs without compromising on quality and compliance. As a result of his work, Aker ASA can be confident that they are operating within the strict limits of the legal and compliance sphere. The recent turmoil in the oil and gas business is a constant challenge to overcome, and Frick concedes that ‘by way of working smarter, we have saved money at the same time as we have improved compliance’. On advice to other general counsel in the region Frick says, ‘Don’t underestimate the importance of compliance and build strong longlasting relationships with outside counsel, and buy external services from the very best, not the cheapest’.
Established in Norway since 1898, the German multinational company Siemens has a number of business operations today in the country ranging from gas and wind power to power generation services and energy management. Siemens’ Norwegian branch employs approximately 2,000 people in 15 locations and has a turnover of around NOK 5bn. Based in Oslo, Matthias Geiger has been general counsel for Siemens in Norway since 2009 and today heads a team of eight legal professionals. Working with the legal team to fend off stiff competition, Siemens Norway won a contract in 2015 to develop energy efficiency measures in buildings. The project covered 18 schools and three nursing homes and aims to facilitate annual savings of 38% in energy consumption which is equivalent to NOK 6m. Geiger worked on this deal and has been with Siemens since 2001. And having worked in various senior in-house roles in Germany, Norway and Denmark he has accumulated a wealth of experience and understanding of the company’s businesses thus enabling him to align and fully integrate his team to the business and its activities.
PHARMAQ is the world’s leading pharmaceutical company in the aquaculture industry, supplying vaccines and innovation for health products across Europe and the rest of the world. At the end of 2015 Zoetis finalised a deal to acquire PHARMAQ, for $765m on a debt-free basis. PHARMAQ’s excellent research and development (R&D) work was considered a perfect fit for Zoetis’ existing animal healthcare business, and the integration of the company was considered crucial for the overall growth of the company across the globe. Nils Arne Grønlie, PHARMAQ’s general counsel, not only played a crucial role in the due diligence and integration of the two companies, but has also received praise for his ability to protect PHARMAQ’s market-leading and cuttingedge R&D work and the associated patent matters. Grønlie is an expert in complex patent and pharma cases owing to his years of experience – having previously led the intellectual property practice group for DLA Piper in Norway – and he firmly believes that lawyers ‘should know the facts and science which is the subject matter of the case’. During his time at PHARMAQ, Grønlie has had a significant impact on the company in many other ways beyond the management of its IP portfolio: he introduced improvements such as a standard contracts library, professionalised contract negotiations, and formalised compliance routines, among other things. After PHARMAQ was acquired by Zoetis, Grønlie has taken on what he calls ‘a more operational role, albeit still working with managing legal issues for the Group’, which sees him in charge of global product supply, acting as commercial director for Latin America, and serving as a member on a number of boards across the company. These roles have enabled him to apply his vast knowledge of PHARMAQ to the strategic and commercial growth of the company.
Described by peers as a ‘solid’ lawyer, Axel Gustavsen started his broad in-house career with Aker Solutions, going on to then join law fi rm Thommessen in 2008-09 and then returned to Aker Solutions where he held the position of senior vice president and chief legal counsel. His broad experience in international business and private practise is also evident through his stint at law fi rm BAHR and his role as head of legal for Aker solutions in the US. He assumed his current position at Cermaq Group in October 2016. Gustavsen admits that very early on his in-house positions involved very heavy and complex negotiations, including both contractual terms and conditions as well as commercial and strategic matters: ‘This has helped expand the skillset and approach to be able to provide more eff ective and commercially valuable advice to the business’. This position has required Gustavsen to work very closely with key management and management processes, which has contributed to not only his personal development but also the growth of the business. ‘The positions has also involved a large degree of responsibility and participation in decision making, which has contributed to the same development and to understand and embrace the overall goals of the business’ he states in regard to this. In his current capacity Gustavsen also serves as head of human resources and sustainability, and is part of the executive management team. This position promotes a closer relationship with the CEO and involves daily interactions with the other members of the team resulting in the establishment of an effi cient and close working relationship.
Daniel Lindebjerg Haaland landed his fi rst legal position at law fi rm Selmer, working on high yield bonds, banking, corporate, and security law matters. This led Haaland onto a secondment as corporate legal counsel at NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe which gave him invaluable experience on how the energy market works; something which would prove useful when he was later appointed as corporate legal counsel in REC (Renewable Energy Corporation), a leading vertically integrated solar energy company at the time. During his time in REC, he advised REC’s executive management on the improvement of REC’s debt position through a series of capital market transactions, including a new USD convertible bond issuance, several equity issues, debt buy-back and amendment of terms and size revolving credit facility. Haaland proved himself as respected part of management project team in these processes and in execution of the spin-off of REC’s downstream operating division through an IPO of REC Solar on the Oslo Stock Exchange. After the IPO, Haaland acted as board secretary for REC Solar, a role he also held after having joined the corporate, banking and fi nance team of the law fi rm Schjødt. In 2015, Haaland landed his current position as General counsel for the Extrusion Europe business area of the global aluminium products manufacturer Sapa, overseeing legal matters for a business employing 10,000 people at 40 locations across Europe.
Fugro is a Dutch multinational that provides geotechnical, survey, subsea, and geoscience services – typically for clients in the oil and gas, telecommunications, and infrastructure sector. Overseeing the legal matters for the European division of Fugro is Oslo-based Fredrik Haavind, who as head of legal Europe reports directly to overall general counsel Annabelle Vos in the Netherlands. In his role Haavind manages six legal and 12 non-legal staff that are responsible for the security of the company even during a challenging time for service providers in the oil and gas market. When Haavind joined Fugro in 2011, he began a reorganisation and integration process that would see the legal team become more “at one” with their business peers. He believes that now the ‘better structure of the legal function has given the company the benefi t of broader legal coverage and more focused legal advice’. This is unsurprising when you consider that throughout his career Haavind has thrived when faced with a challenge. As he says himself: ‘[Career] highlights worth mentioning are periods where I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone which have resulted in steep learning curves... For the last 10 years I’ve been working in cyclical businesses. First in the shipping industry when the fi nancial crisis hit in 2008, and second in the oil and gas services industry when the oil crisis hit in 2015. For me as a lawyer these market changes have been valuable experiences in how the shifting markets may also change the dynamics in contract enforcement, and how many legal issues become more important when markets are tough’. It is by using this incredibly pragmatic approach that Haavind has been able to excel, and achieve impressive results despite market challenges. Before joining Fugro, Haavind gained experience in-house with Eitzen Chemical, Camillo Eitzen & Co and Det Norske Veritas. He has also held roles as a judge at Kristiansand District Court and as an associate at law fi rm Arntzen de Besche.
Founded in 2000, Questback is an online survey and feedback software company that helps its global clientele base achieve competitive advantages by improving employee engagement and consumer experiences. In the capacity of general counsel, Sara Neumann Habberstad deploys her specialist IT law skillset by leading Questback’s group-wide legal function, risk management and compliance. In addition to managing and developing the overall contract fleet and contract frameworks across Questback’s global activities, Habberstad is responsible for coordinating regional and country-specific legal compliance with group-wide standards and policies. Deeply aligned to the business, she also works closely with the global sales team in negotiations. Before joining Questback in 2014, Habberstad held a number of legal positions in prominent organisations; she was senior legal counsel at Siemens Norway immediately prior to being recruited by Questback and also had successful periods at law firm Advokatfirmaet Hjort, SAS Institute and Ementor among others. Between 2007 and 2015, Habberstad was a member of Juristenes Utdanningssenter, an association of Norway’s Law Society and Jurist Association with responsibility to set up conferences for lawyers in Norway within the field of IT law.
Greta Kelwing Haugberg has served as legal counsel for a number of globally respected companies, giving her the opportunity to work on a number of well-known transactions. She started her in-house career as legal counsel for Ikea – initially in Sweden, before then transferring to the Russia and Ukraine legal division from 2003 to 2007. During this time she was behind the joint venture negotiations with a significant Russian partner in the construction industry, something which involved very complex contract work with a number of stakeholders. Possessing an interest in furthering her business qualifications, Haugberg gained an MBA in China, before going on to join Kvaerner as a legal adviser in Norway, where she assisted on purchasing conditions with sub-suppliers and subcontractors. She assumed her current position as general counsel for IT company Powel in 2016, creating the role with the help of a small team of lawyers and a contract manager. Together they established policies, internal procedures and codes of conduct. As part of the advisory board, she provides regular updates teamed with invaluable legal business advice.
Sveinung Heggen was appointed as general counsel for Borregaard, a Norway-based company engaged in bio-refineries, in January 2013. In his current role he is responsible for all legal matters in the Group and for whistle-blowing procedures. Before joining Borregaard he joined Orkla’s legal department as attorney-at-law from 1992, acting as a legal adviser for the hydropower and energy division. In this role he participated in a number of M&A transactions on an international level; driving forward more than 50 acquisitions between 1992 and 2010 in a number of European countries, as well as participating in several divestment transactions in 2011 to 2012. Prior to that he held different positions in the Ministry of Finance’s tax law department from 1985-1992, which involved him drafting tax laws to be proposed to parliament. In this capacity he was in charge of approving new regulation, responsible for tax assessment and tax assessment laws. Heggen holds a Cand Jur. degree from the University of Oslo.
When the Finnish giant Nokia acquired French technology company Alcatel-Lucent in 2016 in a deal worth $16.6bn, it made news headlines across the globe. Before the deal was concluded Ellen-Karine Hektoen was the legal director of Alcatel-Lucent’s operations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Latvia and also served as chairman of the board in Alcatel- Lucent Finland. In the role she worked closely with other departments such as finance, engineers, sales and management on all legal issues in the Nordic and Baltic region including contract negotiation and management, corporate governance, employment law, litigation, external legal counsel coordination and management of real estate matters. Because of her highly respected work and long association, Hektoen continued working in her senior legal position after the deal with Nokia and became general counsel for the Nordic and Baltic region. Since then she successfully integrated the previous legal operations into the new company structure. Before her time at Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent, Hektoen worked for the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications between 1996 and 1999. She graduated in law from the University of Tromsø in 1995 and is fluent in English but can also speak in French, Spanish and German.
Lars Henie is known as an ‘excellent’ lawyer who also holds the position of head of tax in the Norwegian multinational group Statkraft, a leading company in hydropower internationally and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The group produces hydropower, wind power, gas-fired power and district heating and is a global player in energy market operations. During his career Henie has developed very good knowledge of international tax law and has developed that by using a hands-on, practical approach. Henie boasts extensive experience from previous positions as well as an advocate specialising in tax. He served as a tax lawyer for Ernst & Young for ten years and was recruited as vice president and head of group tax for the Norwegian multinational REC in 2009 where he stayed until the end of 2013. Starting his current position at Statkraft in 2014, he has since enhanced the attention given to tax risk management and planning within the Group, and has also successfully started a transformation of the tax function to make sure it is proactively involved in transactions, furthermore securing a diligent tax risk management and providing career opportunities for employees. Henie is also a technical expert with a good and practical grasp of domestic and international tax issues. Henie has always had the aim to centralise and streamline the tax function with clear roles and responsibilities: ‘both in my previous and current role, I have been working a lot to define the cooperation model between the tax department and the business areas with clear roles and responsibilities. In my view, these are very important factors in order to successfully address tax issues from an in-house perspective’. Henie explains that to overcome challenges in regards to legislation and tax complexity he has adapted a uniform approach to tax work, with frequent interactions with corporate management and the audit committee, ‘dedicated employees in the tax department are key factors for success to overcome these challenges’.
Norske Shell’s history goes back over 100 years and today it operates as a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell producing oil and gas as well as operating petrol stations. Through its vast upstream business, the company operates a number of oil fields in the Norwegian shelf and co-owns productions licenses. Legal director Hans Olav Holmen heads up the legal department for the company and since recently joining has established himself as an important player in the senior management team. Since he joined, Norske Shell obtained approval from the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to use the well intervention vessel, Island Constructor, for the start-up of a new well in the Draugen field located in the Norwegian Sea. Earlier in the year, the company also secured a three year contract with iSurvey Offshore who will provide rig and surface positioning services, subsurface positioning and dimensional control and platform surveys to Norske Shell’s mobile offshore drilling units. Holmen is an experienced and well-respected legal figure in Norway’s energy sector having enjoyed important roles in previous positions. For instance he was legal manager at BG Norge for over five years before joining his current employers. Immediately prior to that Holmen was senior counsel at ConocoPhillips Norge for almost six years from 2005 until 2011. He also had a five year spell at BP Norge and cut his teeth as an associate at law firm Våland & Staalesen from 1996 until 2000. He graduated in law from the University of Bergen (UiB).
Testament to her legal nous and management expertise, Katrine Hverven Sontum has gained additional responsibilities at Coor since joining as general counsel in 2012. In addition to her role as general counsel, Sontum is now also head of human resources and compliance. Coor is a leading provider of integrated facility management (IFM) and facility management (FM) services in the Nordic region offering all a full range of FM services to companies and public bodies. 2017 has been a prolific year for Sontum who has overseen Coor sign agreements or extend deals with a number of its clients. In January, Coor signed a two-year agreement with Platzer Fastigheter AB worth SEK 60m and extended its contract with Aibel, one of Norway’s leading service companies that specialises in oil, gas and renewable energy. In the same month Sontum helped Coor extend its agreement with another important client, Akelius, requiring the company to deliver technical property operations and maintenance as well as outdoor environment services and cleaning for Akelius’ Swedish property holding in a deal worth SEK 85m annually. COOR also won a new assignment from ABB for the delivery and development of several FM services to ABB in Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Baltics in a deal with a total estimated contract value of over SEK 1bn. Since the busy start to the they year, Sontum has assisted Coor in extending its deal with Arcus, a Norwegian wines and spirits producer, to keep delivering IFM services at Arcus’ production plant in Norway and Coor also extended its agreement with Scandinavian Airlines in another deal worth SEK 1bn.
Henrik Inadomi is the senior vice president and general counsel at Kvaerner, an engineering and construction services company that has a long history in the decommissioning of off shore oil and gas installations. He joined Kvaerner in 2012 after holding the position as general counsel and company secretary at Qatar Aluminium Limited, a joint venture between Norsk Hydro and Qatar Petroleum, for two years. In his current role he is responsible for the legal and compliance functions and is part of Kvaerner’s executive management team. While at Kvaerner he was tasked with handling a very complex litigation case in the US with claims and counterclaims well in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars, and gave signifi cant exposure to Kvaerner as a company. Inadomi devised the case management strategy and says, ‘through strong teamwork, and close cooperation with our external counsel, Kvaerner’s outcome in this case signifi cantly exceeded expectations of both our management and our board of directors’. Inadomi has published several academic articles, mainly on energy law which illustrate his knowledge and commitment to the legal fi eld within the sector. Prior to his current role, Inadomi served as a research fellow at the department for petroleum and energy law at the University of Oslo, and his PhD thesis titled “Independent power projects in developing countries - legal investment protection and consequences for development” was later published as a book. Inadomi graduated from the University of Oslo in 2011 and holds an LLM in international economic and business law from Kyushu University, Japan.
Lars Jacobsen assumed his position as general counsel at Aker BioMarine AS, a Norwegian fi shing and biotech company in March 2017, and has since taken on a systematic approach to compliance and legal issues by benchmarking towards competitors and industry peers. Jacobsen has established routines for contract vetting and archiving and implemented cost cutting initiatives through solving more legal issues internally. Jacobsen has also sought to simplify in order to convey a unifi ed message across the Group of over 250 people ranging from top management to fi shermen. Prior to this role Jacobsen served as corporate legal counsel for Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding (WWH) between 2014 and16 where he was the lead M&A lawyer on all transactions and also led the Group’s legal IP matters. When discussing his most recognised achievements, Jacobsen mentions leading the sell-side deal from WWH corporate legal where they spun off the WWH safety business to the Survitec Group. Since the safety business was deeply integrated across the whole group in over 40 locations and jurisdictions. ‘This project was a true test of project management and heavy negotiating rounds’. The close co-operation between the parties before, during and after the deal also meant balancing diff erent interest towards reaching a good result all parties could live with. Working so internationally and advising across so many jurisdictions was ‘very rewarding and gave a unique insight into diff erent cultures’. Jacobsen explains that ‘although you hear a lot about being aware of local cultures you do business in, I found that business often speaks its own language’.
For the last two years, Siv Jahr has served as general counsel for Posten Norge, assisting in a number of signifi cant transactions involving employment law issues. Since joining Posten Norge in 2008 as a lawyer, Jahr has been a key part of the postal service’s growth and profi t, eventually working her way up to her current position as general counsel through dedication and unparalleled contract law experience. Prior to this role Jahr served as a legal adviser for the Ministry of Transport and Communications for two years, fi nishing her tenure in the position of senior adviser. Strengthening her employment law background, Jahr gained a human resources management certifi cation from the University of California, Santa Barbara and gained her international law degree from the University of Hamburg.
Stine Renée Jarslett, general counsel for Bane NOR, the state-owned company responsible for the Norwegian national railway infrastructure, has been nominated by peers for her involvement in a number of large-scale national construction projects. Jarslett has been central to a number of pivotal railway schemes and projects, one of which was the Railway Reform which the Norwegian parliament resolved to support for the purpose of making the railway sector a more comprehensive system of allocating tasks within the sector. Another large scale project is the beginning of the excavation of what will be the longest railway tunnel to date in the Nordic countries. Jarslett has overseen all legal advice for this ground-breaking project, using her extensive experience to give seamless advice. In May 2017 Jarslett advised on the railway tender process, aimed at potential main contractors experienced in major railway and road infrastructure works and suppliers within the fi eld of railway systems.
In 2011 and during his time as a private practice lawyer, Daniel Jilkén started working with Solør Bioenergi, a Norwegian district heating company that produces wood-based bioenergy. Over time he worked closer and closer to the business and in 2014 was integral to the Group acquiring two Swedish businesses, both larger entities than Solør Bioenergi at the time. Jilkén also assisted the Group in issuing a bond to US investors to fi nance these acquisitions. ‘By now my work was not limited to tax and structuring issues, or even legal issues, but I was deeply involved also in business decisions’ he states. In 2015 he joined Solør Bioenergi as chief legal officer and a member of the management team, a position he still holds. During his time in this role Jilkén has helped reinforce the company’s relationship with the Norwegian Financial Supervisory. Amongst his other achievements, Jilkén also helped refi nance all external debt, including the bonds that he fought to have listed through international infrastructure funds and a European bank syndicate. This process has resulted in Solør Bioenergi signifi cantly reducing fi nancial costs, which has been extremely helpful in the process of building value. Jilkén has changed the attitude of the team, encouraging an overall more cohesive and comprehensive running, ‘I have initiated a much more proactive role of the legal department. For example, we ask auditors and local authorities of their opinion beforehand. Everyone’s happy to be involved at an early stage and it certainly avoids future problems and associated costs’.
Total E&P Norge was created in 1999 from a merger of Total, Fina and Elf. Today it contributes approximately 12% of Total Group’s entire oil and gas production. Heading a legal team of six is legal manager Arild Kvanvik Jørgensen. He has been involved in structuring and negotiating a number of contracts for off shore oil and gas developments, including the Martin Linge fi eld. In 2015, the company sold a 15% interest in the Gina Krog fi eld to Tellus Petroleum, a subsidiary of Sequa Petroleum in a deal worth NOK 1.4bn. On describing the challenge to Total E&P Norge’s legal team posed by the reduced price of oil and gas, Jørgensen says it ‘creates more tension in the industry and thus more legal work, which means we need to work more effi ciently to do more with fewer resources and to constantly share information’.
For around 14 years, Christian Karde has held his position of vice president, general counsel for Kongsberg Gruppen, an international technology corporation that develops advanced systems and technologies for the maritime, offshore, defence and aerospace industries. The company earns over $3bn annually and operates through four business divisions Kongsberg Maritime, Kongsberg Defence Systems, Kongsberg Protech Systems and Kongsberg Digital. In 2016, Karde helped the company avoid indictment for alleged corruption offences by both the parent company and its Defence & Aerospace division. Since then he has dedicated more of his time and wealth of expertise on overseeing important agreements. In March 2017 the establishment of a new joint venture was announced between Kongsberg Gruppen and ThyssenKrupp to become an exclusive sole supplier to ThyssenKrupp submarines in a deal that could be worth over NOK 15bn for Kongsberg and Norwegian industry in years to come. Two months later the company announced it had entered into partnership to build world’s first autonomous and zero emissions ship with Yara, the Norwegian chemical company. With the company joining forces with Raytheon in June 2017 to bid for the US Navy’s Over-The-Horizon weapon programme, Karde is set to continue playing an important role in company’s growth. Before joining Kongsberg, Karde enjoyed two successful private practise spells at law firm Advokatfirmaet Selmer between 1995 and 2003, with a brief spell as a legal counsel for Oslo Børs, the Oslo Stock Exchange, in between. He obtained an executive education from Havard Law School in 2011.
The Norwegian cooperative with over 1.3 million members is also Norway’s second largest daily retailer and operates approximately 1,100 grocery stores in the country. Knut B. Kjøsnes worked in the company legal department for six years until 2015 when he was promoted to legal director. In his previous role he impressed and excelled in providing commercial legal assistance to the Group and line management in connection with the day-to-day and operational activities of the Group’s various companies. He actively participated in important Group projects contributing to strategy and structural processes by working with senior managers and executives and was member of the Group’s corporate social responsibility group. Since Kjøsnes become legal director, Coop Norge entered into an agreement in 2017 to be the new title sponsor of the Eliteserien, Norway’s premier domestic football league as well the secondtier OBOS league in a three year deal. Before joining Coop Norge in 2009, Kjøsnes worked as a prosecutor in the Nordre Buskerud Police District. He was a judge and acting magistrate in the Brønnøy District Court for two years. Kjøsnes was also an associate at law fi rm Advokatfi rmaet Alver og Ringerud & Co. between 2004 and 2007.
Not many GCs make the transition to CEO, but even fewer make the transition back again. Before joining Statoil, Hans Henrik Klouman spent four years as CEO for SEB Enskilda. The lure of Norway’s largest oil company saw him leave the role to become general counsel and senior vice president legal, elevating him to an esteemed position in the country’s legal community. On his appointment, Klouman said Statoil was the only company where leaving a CEO role could be considered a promotion. He has served in the role since 2011, holding responsibility for all legal matters related to the Statoil Group’s business and corporate activities in addition to ethics and anti-corruption matters. In 2017, Klouman was involved in overseeing a number of contract awards with counterparties in Brazil, the UK and Norway. In a busy 2017, he also helped facilitate the acquisition of an additional 12.5% stake in the Dogger Bank Off shore Wind development. Between 1994 and 2007 he was executive vice president and general counsel of Storebrand.
Internationally experienced lawyer Florian Krumbacher started his legal career as an attorney at law firms Linklaters in Munich and Thommessen in Oslo. Krumbacher started his in-house career at Compaq computers in 1999 and ever since has been in a variety of senior legal roles within a number of sectors, most recently joining SAPA in 2015. Krumbacher states that his move to Norway was integral to moulding his legal career, particularly by being part of a large debt restructuring effort spanning over two years at widely known Norwegian solar company Renewable Energy Corporation. Amongst his most significant personal achievements, growing professionally with a stock-listed start-up tech company and building up the legal function has been a key instance of him proving his high-calibre legal and business knowledge. In his current role as part of the executive management team he has put emphasis on establishing clear areas of responsibility within corporate legal by pulling together all legal professionals in the company and changing the mind-set of lawyers from ‘gate-keepers’ to proactive business partners who provide value to the business and are recognised and appreciated as such by their colleagues. Furthermore, Krumbacher has also launched tools of innovation within the business, being at the forefront of utilising IT tools in the legal department such as SharePoint and electronic signatures.
When talking about Johan Woo Kvandal, one peer gives the following praise: ‘he earned an INSEAD MBA, a vice president position at Statnett, and position as the chief general legal counsel at the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA), by the age of 36’. Kvandal took his first in-house role in August 2009 by joining Statnett, the Norwegian state owned enterprise that operates the country’s stem power grid. Over a period of seven years with the company he worked on a number of large projects in the Nordic region including the Norlink project to develop high voltage interconnectors running from Norway to Germany, one of largest power transmission projects ever completed in Europe. It was a project that required collaboration on three fronts while managing the interests of various stakeholders, including German investment banking group, KFW, German company Tennet, and the Danish authorities. In overseeing the legal elements to this project, alongside a further international project involving stakeholders in the UK, Kvandal led an international team of Dutch, UK, Danish, German, Norwegian lawyers and regularly interacted with commercial departments and technicians. Kvandal led all negotiations and was responsible for all sides of the project, including legal, commercial and technical from the Norwegian side. As a result of his successful management on the project, Statnett promoted Kvandal to the position of vice president in 2015. The following year he was recruited by Forsvarsmateriell, Norway’s Defence Materiel Agency. There he oversees NOK13bn acquisitions each year and has been, according to one nominator, ‘responsible for creating a legal team capable of managing the legal risks that NDMA is exposed to’.
When Karin Stakkestad Laastad became legal director for the Norwegian Competition Authority in August 2012, it was on an acting basis to be held until the end of that year. Testament to her skill in successfully enforcing competition law throughout the country, she is still in the position fi ve years later. As the closest legal adviser to the organisation’s director, she leads a team of lawyers who conduct quality assurance and regulatory work. In a lengthy recent case that went to the Norway’s Supreme Court, the Konkurransetilsynet won a case against two taxi companies over bid-rigging allegations in a tender competition for patient transport to Oslo University Hospital. In 2015 the Competition Authority won an appeal case concerning unlawful cooperation in the asphalt industry. The case was concluded with the off ending party having to pay a fee of NOK 150m, the largest ever imposed by Konkurransetilsynet. After achieving this resolution Laastad is quoted as saying ‘we are pleased with the judgment, which we perceive as thorough and good. The Competition Authority gets full impact, and this underlines the importance of eff ective enforcement of competition rules’.
Peter Lenda is an accredited in-house lawyer with broad experience from both private and public sector working within the IT field. After being a junior researcher at the Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law, Peter Lenda joined Simonsen Vogt Wiig, a law firm with a heavy focus on IT law. After gaining this experience, from 2007 to 2012 Lenda worked at the largest Norwegian financial institution, DNB Bank, where he worked with IT procurement and sourcing and as the senior vice president was in charge of a team running all the IT procurements, negotiations and contracts. Joining Steria as their Scandinavian general counsel in May 2012 Lenda explains that ‘despite having achieved a great position at DNB, I found the challenge to build a new legal department too tempting. I came from a very structured organisation (which is normal in a financial institution) and came to a very flat structure with great potential’. Taking advantage of this potential, Lenda went on to build a legal department from scratch, a process which taught him to understand how important it is to build trust between top management and how it subsequently provides value. ‘After two years it was a turning point. Today I have a slogan where the legal departments delivers under “Helping.Create.Value”’. Amongst his achievements, Lenda also went on to inherit a few larger conflicts with customers within the first 18 months of his career. By the first two years these conflicts were closed in a professional and efficient manner with all clients remaining important customers. ‘Conflict levels have been reduced and the reason is a professional approach to every conflict that we deliver from the legal department, even though we are only two in-house lawyers’. Aiming to make the internal legal function completely self-sufficient, Lenda makes sure to handle all legal issues internally and reduce external use of lawyers and provide assistance to the bid processes. ‘An additional part was to develop legal learning with all parts of the business - by increasing the quality of writing bids with legal understanding it reduces risk and conflict’ Lenda says.
In March 2016 Thomas Leroy took on his current role as chief legal officer at AIM Norway, a supplier of maintenance, repair and modification services for aircraft, helicopters, components and field equipment to the Norwegian Armed Forces. As well as his legal role, Leroy concurrently serves as a board member for AIM Engines and Belgium Engine Center. He finds his board member position thoroughly interesting aspect of his career, citing that it is a turning point in the region to see a lot of general counsel assuming positions within the boardroom. With a background in military law, Leroy previously served as an assistant director general for the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation. He admits this was quite a new role which gave him insight into licensing and international traffic; experience which has been invaluable to him. Some of his most interesting work involves the compilation of M&A business projects and a number of national conglomerate expansion plans. Internally he has restructured and downsized the internal legal department to become more specialised and focused, dividing the work of external counsel. This has subsequently led the legal function to work more efficiently, driving a variety of new knowledge. Leroy started his legal career as a trainee for Wikborg, Rein & Co., proceeding to serve as an associate for leading Norwegian commercial law firm Schjødt.
Frode Lillebakken was general counsel of Tele2 in Norway when it merged with Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera in 2015 and played a big part in overseeing the merger and subsequent integration. The deal saw TeliaSonera buy Tele2’s Norwegian assets for approximately $540m and involved tough negotiations with the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA) in order to obtain regulatory approval. Upon completion of the deal, Lillebakken took on the role of vice president legal for Telia Norway and has since continued to advise on a number of hugely significant transactions, including the recent acquisition of Norwegian operator Phonero in a deal worth approximately $280m and involving negotiations with the NCA. One company source said the deal ‘will strengthen Telia’s position in the Norwegian enterprise segment and expects to generate annual cost synergies of approximately NOK 400 million’. Two months later, The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway, Finanstilsynet, announced its approval for Telia to sell its credit management services and debt purchase business Sergel to Marginalen, a privately-owned bank and financial services company. Before joining Tele2 Norge in 2011 as legal director, Lillebakken spent 10 years at law firm Kvale and between 1998 and 2001 was a partner at Hellerøy & Co. He graduated in law from the University of Oslo in 1997.
Over the years multi-faceted lawyer Carine Lindman-Johannesen has accumulated a wide range of experience in the fi nancial sector. Her multi-faceted career started in 2000 as a junior associate at the M&A department in the law fi rm Wiersholm. Lindman-Johannesen claims this time gave her a great work morale and insight into the fi nance industry. In 2004 she moved on to the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority where she investigated insider trading, market manipulation and became a certifi ed fi nancial analyst in addition to undertaking an MBA in fi nance. Wanting to experience a broader scope to her work, in 2006 Lindman-Johannesen took on a role as in-house lawyer at Aker Solutions ASA, who won the award “European In-house Team of the Year”, in recognition of her and her colleagues’ outstanding work. In 2012 Lindman-Johannesen served as associate partner for law fi rm Kluge, moving to Santander Consumer Bank in January 2016. Lindman- Johannesen acknowledges this felt like ‘coming home’ and ‘I am now at a great place in my career’. First joining as legal and compliance director, she became legal director in May 2017 after she split both teams and created a dedicated compliance function. The process of separating the legal and compliance departments made her realise that although she always maintain a strong compliance focus, the split has allowed her to focus on being the legal partner and leader she wants to be. In addition to the aforementioned division of the department, Lindman- Johannesen has also taken it on herself to transform the team into a more strategic and focused function, getting approval to recruit two new lawyers and three new compliance professionals, going from three to eight people in total and further taking on a data privacy officer, giving the team a lot more capacity to assist the business.
Supplying Norway’s major brands, Nortura is the country’s leading supplier of meat and eggs. Kjell Clement Ludvigsen joined as legal director in September 2016 and since his arrival Nortura entered into an important deal with Indian IT giant Tech Mahindra in a deal to provide end-to-end cloud services. In a bid to expand its production range, in 2017 Nortura announced it is planning on producing its fi rst meat free range in a collaboration with retailer Rema 1000. Before being employed by Nortura, Ludvigsen was at the law fi rm Arntzen de Besche from 2004 until 2016, he worked with Nortura during his time there and decided to make the move in-house having acquired an in-depth knowledge of the company’s operations and aspirations. Prior to his time in private practice, Ludvigsen was a senior executive officer at the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.
Part of the Italian Eni Group, Eni Norge produces energy from every region in the Norwegian continental shelf and operates the Marulk and Goliat production fi elds. Well respected in both Norway’s in-house legal community and energy sector, Aksel Luhr serves Eni Norge in the capacity of legal manager. In 2017, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced that it awarded Eni Norge two new licenses in the Barents Sea and one in the Norwegian Sea in a move that will see them partner with other major players in the sector. In 2015, the company entered into a mutual assistance agreement with the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) to provide better oil spill protection in the Arctic region, as well as improving access to optimal towing capability for both parties. Earlier that year, Eni Norge entered a ‘new and important deal’ worth NOK 90m with waste disposal company SAR Hammerfest related to waste in their Barents Sea operations. According to one source Luhr, ‘is an excellent in-house counsel to work with’ and with the company looking to expand further, he is set to pay a key role in facilitating Eni Norge’s future growth plans.
Working in the legal team for one of Norway’s biggest companies, Norsk Hydro, since 1998, Anne-Lene Midseim is a highly respected figure in Norway’s in-house legal community. The global aluminium company is active throughout the value chain from bauxite, alumina and energy generation to the production of primary aluminium and rolled products as well as recycling. It employs over 13,000 people in over 40 countries and earns close to $10bn in annual revenues. In 2017, Midseim worked on Hydro’s acquisition of Orkla’s 50% stake in Sapa to give them full ownership in a deal worth NOK 27bn. Midseim was already a member of the board of directors at Sapa a position she still maintains for the company that earns around NOK 55bn annually. Because of her wealth of knowledge and expertise, between 2006 and 2007 Midseim was legal adviser to Norway’s Minister of Petroleum for the Norwegian Oil for Development project. Before joining Hydro, she enjoyed a successful two year spell at the law firm Vogt & Co from 1996 to 1998. Immediately prior that Midseim was an executive officer Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy for two years.
One source speaks glowingly of Audun Moen as a ‘visionary, inspiring and enthusiastic leader who simply delivers great results’. Since 2003 Moen has been employed by DNB, Norway’s largest financial group and one of the largest in terms of market share in the Nordics. DNB is also a leader in the digital banking space, something which routinely sees Moen offering advice on a fast developing area of law. For example, the legal and regulatory implications of the recently introduced payment application “Vipps” has been a significant focus of his work. Moen also played an important role in facilitating the creation of DNB in 2003, assisting with the merger of Norwegian Bank (DnB) and Gjensidige NOR. Almost 15 years later, he has a comprehensive understanding of DNB’s businesses, is fully integrated in the company’s hierarchy and has a clear vision of his legal team’s role with the organisation. One source says of Moen: ‘He is closely connected to management and in key strategic matters of the Group, and is simultaneously always in touch with his own legal department. My impression is that he has a very high standing in both DNB’s legal function and across the organisation as a whole.’ In 2017, Moen helped the bank’s asset management division enter into an agreement to sell its share of the Dakota Access Pipeline loan. His major recent achievements include securing an agreement in 2016 with Nordea to combine their respective operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, thus creating a leading main bank in the Baltics with strong Nordic roots. Before joining DNB, Moen spent four years at law firm Brugge, Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen, known today as Advokatfirmaet BA-HR DA.
Since 2013 Aaserud Morten has served as chief legal officer at global maritime industry group Wilh. Wilhelmsen, the world’s largest maritime network with operations in over 70 countries. Morten has overseen a number of strategically important deals in the past 12 month, including the sale by Group subsidiary Wilhelmsen Maritime Services of Callenberg Technology group to Swedish outfi t Trident Maritime Systems in late 2016. In April 2017, Wilhelmsen announced a merger with Wallroll that will create a new entity, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. Shortly after, the company announced it had acquired the technical solutions business from Drew Marine, a leading manufacturer and provider of advanced performance chemicals and technical solutions to the maritime industry. After working on these deals Morten is currently overseeing Wilhelmsen’s intention to acquire 32% of the outstanding shares in NorSea Group. Subject to agreement between all parties involved, Wilhelmsen will be the majority owner with 72% of the shares. Looking further to the future, it is expected that Morten will be play a signifi cant role for Wilhelmsen in complying with major international environmental regulations dealing with air pollution, greenhouse gases and invasive marine species that will come into eff ect before 2020. Before joining the Group, Morten spent time at Aon Risk Solutions working in a number of senior positions. His fi rst in-house role was between 2001 and 2003 at Aker Kværner (now Aker Solutions). Morten has also been a deputy judge in the Romsdal District Court and worked for law firm Vesta Foriskring.
Originally part of the Norwegian conglomerate Kongsberg Gruppen, today Kongsberg Automotive (KA) manufactures automotive parts for the global vehicle industry with production plants all over the world. Jon Munthe was appointed as general counsel in 2008 after having worked in various corporate counsel positions in Norway prior to his move to KA. In recent years Munthe has been involved in a number of important contracts awarded to the company. In 2016 KA was awarded a contract from a Chinese carmaker to supply On Board Chargers (OBC) for their plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in a deal worth €49m over seven years. Later that same year KA’s Driver Control business won a strategic contract worth €110m over five years in the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) segment, one of KA’s key growth platforms. Further important deals for Munthe followed with KA’s Interior business area being awarded multiple agreements with a German automobile manufacturer for the global supply of seat heat products for their range of premium and luxury vehicles in a contract worth €54m. In 2017, Munthe was involved in the sale of KA’s North American head and arm rest business to Futuris Automotive so that it can focus on its other business areas. Before moving in-house, Munthe was an associate at a major Oslo law firm and also had a spell as a deputy judge in Norway. He obtained a Master’s degree in law from the University of Oslo.
Based in Sandefj ord, the Jotun Group supplies specialised paints and coatings to over 100 countries through a network of 63 companies and 37 production facilities across the globe. Jotun products have been used on famous landmarks such as the Eiff el Tower in Paris, The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab in Dubai. After becoming legal director for the Group in 2011, John Myhre revamped the legal department and fully integrated it with the company’s business operations. He gained internal recognition for ensuring the department routinely assists the Group’s management achieve its goals and deal with inquiries from the entire Jotun Group eff ectively. When the Norway’s Competition Authority investigated possible breaches of competition law in the decorative paints market by Jotun in 2015, Myhre was instrumental in ensuring the company was open and collaborated with the authorities. After 13 months, the Competition Authority concluded the case without any adverse fi ndings against the Group. Myhre has also been involved in a number of other recent developments for Jotun including a large investment in the East African markets and the opening of new factories in Brazil and Oman. Before joining Jotun, Myhre was a partner at law fi rm Advokatfi rmaet Wexels for just under eight years. Immediately prior to that, he was at fi nancial services company Gjensidige NOR (now DnB NOR) from 1996 until 2003. Myhre obtained his Master’s degree in law from the University of Oslo.
Considered one of Norway’s best international lawyers, Laila Myksvoll has an excellent reputation for her extensive experience in the legal fi eld. In 2010 she was appointed as general counsel for Get, a Norwegian cable-TV operator and internet service provider, which has the second largest customer base in Norway. In 2014, Get was acquired by Danish company TDC for an estimated $2.2bn, rendering it a key part of the Nordic region’s largest digital and broadband company. As well as playing a key part in this transaction, Myksvoll has also played a vital role in Get’s many challenging negotiations, for instance holding talks with broadcasters, content providers and collection societies. When taking these commercial discussions as a whole, the result has put Get at the forefront of the market in terms of new solutions and technologies – such as using tablets and smart phones to distribute TV content outside the customers’ home. Myksvoll ensures that her legal team has a ‘hands on’ approach when ensuring compliance in a highly regulated sector, meaning that legal advice can be effi cient when presented to Get’s management and board. With her guidance the legal team contributes actively to the dynamic business environment of Get in order to maintain the company’s position as a market leader in terms of growth and innovation. Myksvoll has instilled excellent litigation skills in the legal team, winning large cases and reducing costs for the company. For example, in 2016 Get won a much debated case in the Norwegian Supreme Court against Norwaco, a case where the legal team’s judgement and persistence played an important role.
Commercially minded media law expert Tomas Myrboastad has a large range of experience and specialism in regulatory issues for digital technology and content distribution with more than ten years in digitisation of the media and TV industry. His experience spans to his time as chief legal officer for RIksTV as well as his background from the national ecommerce regulator. Making his mark in the digital media and broadcasting industry he has become central in helping shape television and media law policy. Most recently Myrbostad has been vocal on advertising rules for commercial broadcasters. He has been behind new plans to improve viewer experience by limiting adverts that interrupt broadcasts. Myrbostad wide range of experience includes negotiations and establishment of infrastructure agreements for the DTT network, distribution agreements with broadcasters, acquisitions of IT systems and regulatory issues relating to the DTT license. Prior to his current role, he served as an external lawyer and partner at leading Norwegian TMT law fi rm, Simonsen Vogt Wiig.
Rune Olav Pedersen, joined PGS in 2010 as general counsel and has since continually added to his responsibilities; in 2014 he also became responsible for group communication, strategic customer relations and marketing and eventually expanding his remit of responsibilities in September 2015 to include corporate development. Pedersen started his career as a junior researcher at the University of Oslo and has also served as a deputy judge in a District Court of Norway. Prior to joining PGS, Pedersen was a partner in the law firm Arntzen de Besche for more than four years. Pedersen currently leads a legal department of 22 professionals, ten of whom are lawyers. In this capacity he has made a number of fundamental changes to the legal department and how it operates within PGS. Internally he has changed the composition of the legal team so that all agreements signed by the PGS Group are reviewed by the legal department, further imposing risk mitigating rules. He has also placed a combination of senior lawyers with junior lawyers to divert to a person with competence and interest in each task. This has resulted in saving costs and an overall revitalisation of the department. Pedersen explains: ‘The legal department is today viewed as an asset to the company by all business areas while it was more viewed as a necessary evil when I arrived. I have also driven the implementation of a full-fledged modern compliance program now controlled by the compliance department with assistance and cooperation from the legal department’. Pedersen is also a non-executive director of Azimuth Ltd and deputy nonexecutive director of the Norwegian Ship Owners’ Mutual War Risk Insurance Association, further displaying his deep involvement in the industry.
As general counsel of NSB AS, Otto Sivertsen Roheim has contributed to the company’s evolution from ‘an enterprise with low economic results, delivering transportation services with occasionally poor predictability, into a well-managed transportation business’. Amongst other things, Roheim has been central to the establishment of licenses for NSB, CargoNet and NSB AS to run railway services within the EU and the European Economic Area. As further testament of his stellar negotiation skills, Roheim led the legal quality assurance of the agreement between NSB and the Norwegian State for the delivery of the railway passenger transport for the five year period between 2012 and 2017, amounting to over €2bn. Some of his other significant career highlights include the establishment of the rolling stock company, Norske Tog, and the ticket sales and service company, Entur, which stands out as a project he was comprehensively involved in its successful execution. As part of the reform of the Norwegian railway sector, the rolling stock and the ticket sales and services owned by NSB has been transferred to a new entity. Norske Tog and Entur will make the rolling stock and the ticket sales and services available to the train operators that win the tenders for the traffic packages for the various lines in Norway. Roheim had to overcome the challenge of a more complex regulatory landscape in the Norwegian railway sector, seeking solutions which combine NSB’s social role as a provider of transportation service with the requirements of a commercially run operation. ‘Working with the reform of the Norwegian railway sector has made me more aware of the importance of following political and economic developments, anticipate which developments could have an operational or financial impact on our business, and to take preparatory steps’. By working closely with the CEO and the executive management group on a day to day basis Roheim is able to fully appreciate the history of the company, its goals and strategic objectives to provide the quality the legal services the company needs to earn the necessary trust of the executive management group. He says ‘As a general counsel I have to figure out how I balance the advisor role, the police role and the ethics role. To be able to do that, I have to maintain my independence, and because of that the general counsel is not part of the executive management group’.
NorgesGruppen’s history goes back over 150 years and the company today is one of the largest players in the Norwegian grocery retail market earning close to $10bn in 2016. Ragna Bergholt Rom is currently general counsel and helps the company maintain its desired position of being a leading trading company within the in Scandinavian consumer goods market with a primary focus in Norway. Since taking her current position in early 2016, Rom has been involved in the company’s most signifi cant developments. In January 2017, NorgesGruppen reached an agreement to purchase a 49% stake in Eurocash, the second-largest food retailer along Sweden’s border with Norway. Two months later the company sold its domestic pizza business, Dolly Dimple’s, to Domino’s Pizza Group. Away from negotiating commercial deals, Rom is also involved ensuring the company complies with the latest regulations aff ecting NorgesGruppen such as those that relate to greenhouse gas emissions and salt content in its foods products. Before joining NorgesGruppen, Rom worked at the law fi rm Raeder for fi ve years between 2011 and 2016. Immediately prior to her successful time at Raeder, Rom obtained her Master’s degree in law from the University of Oslo in 2011.
Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, plays a wide role in the country’s financial system, from promoting stability through its executive and advisory activities to ensuring payment systems and financial markets are robust and efficient. It also manages the Government Pension Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. General counsel Marius Ryel holds ultimate responsibility for providing legal advice to the institution’s executive board and executive management. Ryel has held this challenging and hugely important role since 2012, having already served from 2005 to 2012 as Norges Bank’s director of legal. Before joining Norges Bank he spent six years as general counsel to Finanstilsynet, Norway’s financial services authority. Between 1996 and 1998 he was a partner at law firm Wikborg Rein and, before that, director of the legal department at the Oslo Stock Exchange. He has served as a judge at Stream County Court and was a consultant, senior executive and legal adviser in the Legislation Department of the Ministry of Justice.
Yara International is one of the best performing companies in Norway. It the world’s leading producer of nitrates, calcium nitrate, fertilisers and the global number two in ammonia production. It also provides crop nutrition products and solutions to 20 million farmers worldwide. With around 13,000 employees, production sites on six continents and operations in more than 50 countries, it also creates a lot of work for general counsel Kristine Ryssdal. She joined the organisation in May 2016 and was shortly afterwards involved in the sale of Yara’s European CO2 business and its remaining 34% stake in the Yara Praxair Holding joint venture to US company Praxair, in a deal worth €300m. In another major deal concluded in August 2016, Ryssdal was involved in the purchase of Tata Chemicals’ urea business in India for €400m. In May 2017, Yara entered into a partnership with Norway-based technology group Kongsberg to build the world’s first autonomous and zero emissions container ship. Before joining Yara, Ryssdal served as vice president legal at Statoil between 2012 and 2016 and immediately before that was senior vice president and chief legal officer of Renewable Energy Corporation for four years. She held other notable legal positions at Norsk Hydro between 1998 and 2008.
Over the last 10 years Ingvill Mari Saunes has served as the general counsel for Ulstein Group, the parent company of a group of maritime companies, specialising in ship design and maritime solutions, shipbuilding, power and control and shipping. In this capacity she has concurrently served as the company secretary, focusing on matters covering contract law, contract negotiation and international shipping. With a focus on maritime law, she previously served as board member for Saunes & Helseth Maritim for eight years and board member for Mare Safety, a supplier of rescue boats and equipment. Saunes has been central to the company’s plans to expand its cruise industry, most recently this has involved Brunvoll signing a contract with Ulstein Design & Solutions for delivery of propulsion and manoeuvring systems to be fitted on SunStone Ships’ new cruise vessel.
As the sole counsel for Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) Norge, Christian Wang Schumacher covers a broad selection of legal aspects of the business, ranging from passenger complaints to purchasing aircrafts and responsibility for worldwide data security, privacy and anti-bribery matters. SAS was founded in 1946, originally divided into SAS Denmark, SAS Norge and SAS Sweden all owned in 50-50 partnership between private investors and their respective governments. One of the most monumental factors of Schumacher’s career was SAS’ battle with potential bankruptcy in 2012. To resurface from it Schumacher had to direct a lot of its non-core business to the legal team through a major restructuring. ‘There are two major circumstances that has had a great significance and impact on my work as SAS Norge’s sole counsel. The restructuring of SAS involved divesting the SAS Group airline company Widerøe’s Flyveselskap, sell or exit from all non-core airline business in SAS and liquidating companies in the SAS Group, managing and solving substantial M&A challenges’. As well as his internal work at SAS, Schumacher is heavily involved in a number of external activities and responsibilities. Schumacher established a networking and advice forum for sole counsel in Norway, to discuss the difficulties of being the only lawyer within their respective companies and to facilitate in-house counsel meeting and discussing relevant topics for the business and legal work. Making his mark on the wider legal industry, he is also a member of the disciplinary committee of the Norwegian Bar Association, dealing with all complaints on individual lawyers, their ethical behaviour and monitoring of fees. Amongst some of the big agreements Schumacher has most recently been involved in, is a significant seven year M&A transaction contributing to whole foods supply to airplanes worldwide. In April 2017 he also began negotiating the Wi-Fi system for SAS which is part of an ongoing project. Schumacher continues to operate using the “triage” concept which he says is about, ‘prioritising skills, [which] differs the in house counsel from external counsel. The skill requires an ability to be forward sighted and a “fire extinguisher” at the same time, and the ability to maintain visibility above ground. For my part I also serve as the connection of the joints and different departments in SAS, optimising the resources in the company and helping avoid duplicated work and to build efficient processes in SAS’ workflow’.
Responsible for significantly improving the legal function at Spectrum, Svein Staalen has worked closely with the business as part of the executive management in order to foster a more tailored commercial approach within the legal department. Spectrum is a global provider of seismic surveys and seismic data processing to the global oil and gas industry in Norway, the UK, the US, Australia, China, Egypt, Brazil and Singapore. Operating in this sector has proved challenging following the collapse in the oil price in recent years. Staalen has helped the business stay abreast of this change from a legal perspective, admitting that ‘it has forced us to find new commercial models for our business’. Prior to joining Spectrum, Staalen was corporate legal counsel for Det Norske Veritas (DNV). Earlier in his career he spent eight years at the law firm Haavind and had a two year spell as an in-house lawyer in pharmaceutical company Nycomed Group. Staalen is the first to admit that when he started at Spectrum in 2012 his position was very new and he had to help form it in many ways – although it did take some time, he believes that he found a good balance in providing assistance to the regions as well as to the headquarters. Continually adding value to the Spectrum business, Staalen has initiated a project that has generated several million dollars in revenue, all the while working closely with and learning from accomplished colleagues, managers and external counsels. At the start of his legal career, he attained his Masters of Law degree from the University of Oslo and a Diploma in English Commercial Law from the College of Law, London which included a secondment in BT’s legal department.
Following seven years at law firm Wiersholm, Thomas Stølen’s extensive record of advising on corporate law caught the attention of Danske Bank Norge. He was recruited in 2008 as the company’s chief legal adviser and, three years later, appointed legal adviser for corporates and institutions, helping the bank rebrand in Norway from Fokus Bank to Danske Bank in 2012. Following a reorganisation of the legal team in 2016, Stølen became head of legal Norway and today manages a team of thirteen lawyers. Describing his work and that of the team’s, Stølen says, ‘we enable decisions that are legally sound and sustainable and we cooperate closely with the rest of the bank to manage Danske Bank’s legal risks. We cooperate closely with our colleagues in the rest of Danske Bank Legal on a number of global projects and transactions ranging from regulatory implementations, development of new digital products and solutions [for example, around fintech], leveraged loans and corporate finance transactions’.
As the first lawyer at Folketrygdfondet, the state-owned company that manages Norway’s government pension fund, Christina Stray knew she had to pave the way and structure the function to make herself a relevant and irreplaceable element of the business. Stray accomplished this by positioning herself on the board of the recruitment of the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals, and becoming fully engaged and involved on issues of a technological nature. Amongst her most notable accomplishments in the last two years, Stray has participated in group-making proposals within the Norwegian Parliament, contributing to new legalisation regarding capital markets transparency rules. Prior to this role Stray spent a large amount of her career in private practice, serving as an attorney at law for Oslo Børs and a four year period at Wiershold, Mellbye & Bech. Stray also had a stint undertaking general internal legal work at the Oslo Stock Exchange with a focus on takeover mergers. Stray concedes that leading the business as the only lawyer in a flat organisation requires a great knowledge of the company infrastructure and direct knowledge of how the market develops, she accomplishes this by working closely with a variety of professionals in different departments on agreements and internal guidelines. With her legal team Stray has also developed an additional compliance department which is fully equipped and trained to deal with all relevant issues.
Frode Strømø started his legal career at law firm BA-HR in 2000 and after four years at the firm as a senior associate he then spent four year at international firm DLA Piper. After this private practice experience he started his in-house career at Norwegian oil services company, Aibel, where he acted as senior lawyer with special responsibility for legal assistance to international operations, and later as its chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel. Strømø started his tenure at Aker Solutions as head of legal for its engineering division in October 2014, and proceeded to work his way up the ranks, taking his current position as senior vice president legal and compliance in November 2016. Strømø joined Aker Solutions during a transformational period for the company when it was attempting to implement a large-scale re-organisation of the entire business. By heading the legal and compliance function he now has a global mandate to comprehensively advise this recently re-structured business. Previously divided in separate departments, but now under Strømø’s leadership, the legal department works as one integrated team with an increased focus on cross border work and cooperation, showing not only an ability to adapt to changing circumstances but excellent collaborative and business skills.
Prior to joining leading Nordic investment advisory firm FSN Capital Partners as general counsel in January 2015 Rebecca Svensøy worked as a lawyer at law firm Schjødt in Oslo specialising in M&As and private equity. In 2014 she also held the position of general counsel and CEO at Validus, a retail holding company acquired by FSN Capital in 2013. Establishing the legal department of FSN Capital Partners, Svensøy’s operational experience has been essential in ensuring that the legal team provides valuable input on a risk based approach and in line with the entrepreneurial spirit of the firm. Responsible for governance and compliance she is also instrumental in advancing FSN Capital’s strong commitment to responsible investments. On the topic of responsibility, Svensøy comments ‘our ethos (we are decent people making a decent return in a decent way) guides the way we do business and is the basis of any advice from the legal team’. Svensøy has also grown to become a major asset to the firm contributing to further enhancing operational efficiency and closer cooperation with selected external law firms. She holds a Master’s in law from the University of Oslo, as well as an MBA from Bond University, Australia.
In his current role as general counsel for Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GEIK), Ståle Torgersbråten leads the largest internal department in GIEK consisting of 15 lawyers and legal employees. Coming from a private practice background, Torgersbråten worked for top Norwegian corporate law fi rms Grette DA, Wikborg Rein & Co. and Selmer where he was head of the fi rm’s Moscow offi ce. He assumed his fi rst in-house position at GIEK in 2010 as a commercial lawyer and was promoted in 2014 to general counsel. His current position covers a vast array of diff erent tasks; from human resources issues to strategy discussions, as well as diff erent transactions and negotiations all over the world. Torgersbråten is particularly proud of some of the transactions he has taken part in in Bhutan, Russia and Bangladesh: ‘I consider myself lucky to be able to work for the Norwegian exporters, and follow them around the globe. Our very high requirements with regards to corporate social responsibility, environment, and anti-corruption practices, also make me certain that we - at least in the long term - are contributing positively to a higher standard in international transactions’. Since joining GIEK he has made a number of changes to transform and streamline the way the in-house legal team works, overall increasing the number of tasks they look into. In addition to this, he has also set up four informal teams in the department that work with the same kinds of assignments and cases. ‘This is in order to make sure that we have the best expertise on such important business legal tasks, and that we deliver the same kind of “product” when we give our advice to the organisation or to the exporters or cooperating banks’.
Orkla Group is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods that operates mainly in the Nordic, Baltic and Central European regions. Away from consumer goods, Orkla Group also has signifi cant investments in hydro power and fi nancial assets. Since 1992, Karl Otto Tveter has held a number of roles within Orkla Group, including as its senior vice president, legal aff airs from 2000 and, from 2012, executive vice president, group functions and legal aff airs. In that same year he became a member of the Orkla Executive board, taking on responsibility for the Group Secretariat and acting as secretary to the Board of Directors. Tveter played a key role in selling Orkla Group’s 50% interest in Sapa, the world’s leading manufacturer of extruded aluminium profi les, to Norsk Hydro in 2017. Before joining Orkla, Tveter worked in the tax law department for the Ministry of Finance and Customs between 1989 and 1992.
In 1969, Phillips Petroleum Company discovered oil in the Ekofisk field, part of the Norwegian Shelf and one of the most important oil fields in the North Sea to this day. A year later, Conoco was awarded the first production license on the Norwegian Shelf. When Conoco and Philips joined forces in 2002 in a deal worth over $15bn, Tore Ulleberg was involved ensuring a smooth merger of the companies’ Norwegian operations. In his current managing counsel position at ConocoPhillips Norge, Ulleberg’s scope extends to the whole of Europe and West Africa. Having worked hard in 2011 to help obtain approval from the Norwegian Parliament for two major development projects, Ekofisk South and Eldfisk II, Ulleberg was involved a year later when the merged company split its activities into two independent companies, the upstream company ConocoPhillips and the downstream company Phillips 66. In 2017, he oversaw ConocoPhillips Skandinavia’s contract for two rigs owned by North Atlantic Drilling for long-term programs in a deal worth a combined $1.4bn. With over 30 years of in-house experience in the Norwegian oil market, Ulleberg became chairman of the Legal Committee of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers in 2008, a position which gives him an important role in overseeing and shaping the laws, regulations and international conventions to which members of the association are subject.
Per Anders Vaagenes serves as the only lawyer in CGI Norge, providing legal support to the 300 employees of the company, all of whom require approval from legal on a number of issues, including submitting offers to clients, entering into and amending contracts, deviations from corporate guidelines and more. Prior to this role, Vaagenes served as a legal adviser for The Norwegian Defence Logistics organisation from 1999-2001, eventually being promoted to legal senior advisor in 2001. He then went on to serve as lawyer and partner at Dæhli & Co law firm for five years and between 2008 and 2009 he took on the role of contract manager at Accenture. He later went to serve as a lawyer at CSC Norge where he made significant changes which resulted in the legal department moving from being a “show-stopper” to being a contributor. It wasn’t until 2014 that he joined CGI as general counsel and in this capacity, Vaagenes has made a number of changes to the way the function processes projects, by initiating projects with a particular focus on contract templates, risk management and compliance to corporate guidelines. He has simplified these processes by coming up with innovative ways to compress information. He says that these have ‘resulted in a more effective process when presenting our service contracts to clients, because we do not invent the gunpowder every time. More importantly, we now have well-structured and well-specified contract templates that reduces the likelihood of loss, limits uncertainty and ambiguity, and help solve future problems. This again increases the likelihood of success not only for the company, but also for our clients’. Due to his work, the business seeks guidance more regularly and earlier than in the past, because they better understand the value of the support of the legal team. Vaagenes is part of the Norwegian leadership group and has daily contact with senior management, including the managing director. ‘My relationship is a good, open and active one. In my view, the ultimate reason for my legal services is to “serve and protect” the people and the organisation, which is a view that the management seems to appreciate’ he states.
Starting his career at Norwegian law firm Selmer in 2005 Snorre Valdimarsson focused mainly on finance, debt capital markets and M&A. Part of his work involved advising the former electric company Th!nk where Alf Bjørseth was the chairman of the board as well as one of the largest shareholders. Scatec Solar was founded by Alf Bjørseth through his incubator Scatec and they approached Valdimarsson in early 2009 to take the role as general counsel for Scatec Solar, which at the time was a two year old start up within the solar industry. Since 2009 Scatec has progressed from a startup company to a stock listed international group with infrastructure projects on all continents. It is to this end that his position moved from being the only in-house counsel to oversee a team of specialists as well as being responsible for all compliance matters. Amongst his most significant achievements Valdimarsson structured and completed the first ever export financed solar power plants portfolio in Czech Republic in 2010-2011. Valdimarsson was also behind the structuring and completion of the largest (at the time) solar power plant on the African continent between 2011 and 2012. Integral to the company’s growth, he also led the company through a successful IPO process, transforming the company from a privately owned entity to a publicly traded entity. In hindsight Valdimarsson admits that all the transactions ‘showed me the importance of, as an in-house counsel, understanding the business of the company in detail as well as always having a commercial approach to transactions and weighing the legal risk against the commercial gain as well as the importance of driving a process on behalf of all stakeholders’. Since joining, the legal team has grown together with the company and now consists of five specialists. The team specialises in the key areas of the company namely engineering, production, construction, M&A, project finance and asset management. The wider company has benefitted from shorter lead time whilst at all times being assured that the counsel understands the business elements of the case.
Responsible for legal, compliance and corporate governance at Sporveien Group, Christina Wiggen has been continuously noted by peers in the region for her all round competence and diligence in the transportation sector. As group general counsel for Sporveien, a group of companies delivering tram, metro and bus services and building infrastructure and developing real estate in Oslo, Wiggen has signifi cant infl uence on all major decisions, leading a team of six lawyers and one economist. Faced with large-scale projects of a procurement and construction nature and with plans to increase public transportation, Wiggen has been tasked with the leading the team through the procurement of 87 new trams alongside building infrastructure and bases for these new trams in Oslo, with a contract value of several billion NOK. After serving as an in-house counsel for seven years of her career, Wiggen took the step into a general counsel position upon joining Sporveien, subsequently creating an effi cient legal function. Prior to his current role Wiggen spent four years as inhouse lawyer and compliance officer at EVRY, covering nine diff erent countries. Wiggen says this period was very interesting and dynamic as it required her to delve into a variety of legal issues across jurisdictions including contract, compliance, employment law, competition law and M&A. On joining Sporveien, Wiggen embarked on a major restructuring, with plans to tailor the legal services needed from the company. This strategy included, ‘good service, fast response and new areas for some of the team members’. With the benefi ts of improved collaboration with the business and executive management Wiggen admits, ‘we also work much more with strategic legal advice for the business and understand and try to solve their problems. After three years I must say that it has been a success’. This has resulted in bringing considerable value to the company with better contract deals, better business understanding and control over risks. Internally, Wiggen has developed Sporveien’s compliance programme covering areas such as anti-corruption, competition law, health and safety regulations and human rights, all of which has informed Sporveien’s Code of Ethics.
Petter Wilskow has been the human resources and legal director of Europris, a Norwegian retail chain which sells from over 200 mostly franchise-based stores in Norway, for the last 11 years. Prior to this role Wilskow served as legal director and legal counsel at M. Peterson & Son. Wilskow also had a spell as a deputy judge and tax adviser for the Central Tax Collection. Wilskow is a business economist from BI Norwegian Business School and has completed the Officer’s School of Coast Artillery. Recently Wilskow has worked on Europris’ focus on digital infrastructure which has led the company to choose Netsecurity as the supplier of IT security solutions and services in response to an extensive hacker attack.
The chief legal director for DNV GL, a company named the nation’s most innovative company for 2016 by Norway’s leading innovation magazine, Innovasjonsmagasinet, Thor Winther has been a prime contributor to the company’s success. During his career Winther has become a central pillar of safety and sustainability in the maritime, oil and gas and energy sectors, dedicated to the company’s ethos of safeguarding life and the environment. As a world-leading certification body, DNV GL has developed various approaches and methodologies to promote best practices in safety management. Most recently they established the Managing Infection Risk standard at Bumgrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, the first in Asia to be presented with this award. These expansive initiatives have been supported by Winther who has had to show an excellent grasp of international regulation. Amongst its environmental plans to enhance its research and testing capabilities, DNV GL has acquired a test facility in Northeast England. Winther has been at the forefront of increasing the company’s scope across the world, and ensuring their products are compliant with the international standards.
As a technology fan and big consumer of music and movies, Christian With concedes his career path became obvious from his early years at law school. His core subject areas were copyright, trademarks, media law and internet law when he graduated with summa cum laude from the University of Bergen, Norway. He commenced his career at The Norwegian Film and TV Producers Association where he started as a legal advisor and left as head of legal, representing about 120 film, TV and computer games producers. With solidified his entertainment industry experience during his time at DLA Piper Norway as a senior lawyer in the intellectual property and technology department, making him a widely respected lawyer in the industry. He was headhunted to his current position with Rubicon TV in March 2014, where sits as head of legal and business affairs – this role was later expanded to include Metronome Spartacus, a Swedish television production company. Both companies are part of Endemol Shine Group, a group of British and Dutch production companies. Prior to joining and establishing the in-house department Rubicon TV had instructed external counsel for a number of years. During his time at Rubicon TV, With has made it his priority to significantly reduce reliance on external counsel, encouraging legal department involvement and influence over decision making processes in the most crucial levels of the company, as well as creating an ‘open door policy’ to encourage early action in disputes. Amongst his most celebrated highlights, With has successfully settled a high profile dispute which involved Rubicon as well as public broadcaster Norsk Rikskringkasting, Netflix and Red Arrow International. The case raised questions as to the distribution of the third season of Lilyhammer, a Norwegian-American television series. Outside of his company, With believes he has successfully been involved in changing the current political view that creators need special protection against industry players, resulting in a more balanced proposition for a new Copyright Act which was recently put forward by the Ministry of Culture. ‘I have been heavily involved in this process, holding lectures including one on the recent annual Copyright seminar for lawyers here in Norway, and providing feedback to both the Secretary and Virke Produsentforeningen, our interest organisation, which represents about 100 production companies’.
We are honoured and pleased to congratulate the general counsels being admitted and nominated to The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist: Norway 2017. The role of general counsels has changed during the years, with an increasing focus on the importance of being present when the company evaluates strategic and operational possibilities, challenges and threats.
The management in large and medium sized companies is more dependent than ever before on having general counsels and legal departments that have a strong combination of academic skills and business acumen. General counsels and legal departments that possess such skills will contribute with value-added advice and recommendations to management and the board of directors in improving the competitive sphere for the company, inhibit and solve problems that occur and spot the possibilities a constantly developing world brings.
Arntzen de Besche works closely with general counsels and legal departments in large and medium-sized Norwegian and international companies within a high number of sectors and countries. The combination of the perspectives, challenges and possibilities they experience, motivates and thrives us in constantly focusing on new thinking, improvement of the services we provide and how we can even more fulfil the demands of the general counsels and legal departments. We know the challenges general counsel and legal departments face within different sectors.
Legal areas such as compliance, data security,
privacy, digitalisation and corporate governance
are given an increasingly higher focus and attention
in the board room and management meetings.
General counsels and law fi rms must be innovative
to maintain strong competitive advantages. Again,
we congratulate all of the general counsels who have
been admitted into the GC Powerlist. Your work,
knowledge and dedication provide true value to
shareholders, employees and stakeholders.
GC Powerlist is a trading name of The Legal 500 Series and Legalease Ltd, and operates in multiple legal jurisdictions worldwide.