GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019
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GC Powerlist > GC Powerlist: Southeast Asia 2019
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For over 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: Southeast Asia, 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 Southeast Asia, 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: Southeast Asia 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: Southeast Asia, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Southeast Asia 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: Southeast Asia 2019
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Risk, compliance and legal head
PT Finansia Multi Finance
Legal director, South Asia
Group general counsel
Erasto Miguel de Guzman Aguila
Senior vice president and general counsel
Marina Bay Sands
Vice president legal
Assistant general counsel and senior vice president
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
General counsel and chief compliance officer, Asia Pacific
Group general counsel
Legal director, building technologies and solutions, Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand
Country head of legal
Christopher Y. Chan
General counsel and head of government affairs
Lazada Singapore and RedMart
Deputy general counsel
ASEAN general counsel
General counsel Malaysia and Singapore
David Chiam Joy Yeow
Legal director and company secretary, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore
Dairy Farm Malaysia
Chief commercial officer and general counsel
Suit Mae Choo
Group general counsel
Sime Darby Property
General counsel and head of government affairs
Lope Del Rosario Manuel
Vice president for legal, labour and corporate affairs and chief compliance officer
Pepsi Cola Products Phillipines
Assistant general counsel international operations
Harley-Davidson Motor Company
General counsel and vice president of legal
Senior legal director, Asia legal
General counsel and chief compliance officer
Dymon Asia Capital
Senior corporate counsel
Palo Alto Networks
Director of legal and external affairs, Asia
Linfox International Group
Maria Teresa Fabiola
Head of corporate legal and compliance
Loo Hwee Fang
Group general counsel and company secretary
Yoma Strategic Holdings
Head of legal, Southeast Asia
General counsel - East Asia and Japan
Director of legal and regulatory
Global head of business and legal affairs
Tan Gim Boon
Group general counsel and risk officer
Vice president, legal
General counsel Asia Pacific
Kah Hui (Kathryn) Ho
Swire Pacific Offshore
General manager, legal department
Toyota Motor Asia Pacific
General counsel, commercial
Head, legal and compliance, ARA Private Funds
ARA Asset Management
Employment counsel Asia Pacific
Senior executive vice president, chief legal and control officer
Siam Commercial Bank
Ang Kai Hsiang
Director of legal, Southeast Asia, Israel, Japan and India
Chief counsel and corporate services officer
Head of legal and senior foreign counsel
PT Bayan Resources Tbk
Head of legal and compliance
ANZ Royal Bank (Cambodia)
Global general counsel
Philippines / Indonesia
Wan Kwong Weng
Group chief corporate officer and group general counsel
Group head legal and regulatory
General counsel and chief corporate officer
Vice president Asia legal and worldwide lead transactions, governance and technology
Chief counsel, Asia Middle East and Africa
Levi Strauss Asia Pacific
Sabine d'Angély Lavail
Head of management and development department
Regional counsel, Asia Pacific
Control Risks Group
Deputy group general counsel and regional general counsel and compliance officer, Asia Pacific
Goh Lee Sian
Senior vice president, legal
Henry Leong Wye Khong
General counsel, Asia Pacific
GE Gas Power Systems and Power Services
Banyan Tree Holdings
Associate general counsel
Regional legal counsel, Southeast Asia and emerging Asia Pacific
Regional legal director
Heineken Asia Pacific
Area legal head, Asia Pacific
Senior vice president and assistant general counsel, Asia Pacific
General counsel, group company secretary and executive vice president, corporate communications and corporate social responsibility
Singapore Press Holdings
Head of legal, Southeast Asia and Japan
General counsel, director and company secretary for legal, intellectual property and regulatory
Xae Hoyy Loh
Group legal counsel
The Gold Coin Group
Legal counsel, Asia
Sai Choy Low
Director group legal and compliance
Far East Organization
Sentosa Development Corporation
General counsel for Asia, Middle East and Africa
Senior global legal counsel
Managing counsel for supply and trading, Eastern Hemisphere and downstream, Asia
Tuyen Mai Xuan
Thanh Thanh Cong Group (TTC Group) Vietnam
Jessica Man Hui Sze
Senior legal counsel
Group general counsel
Vice president and chief international counsel
Anjali Mohan Ramchand
General manager and head, legal and compliance department, Asia Pacific division
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
General counsel, Asia Pacific
Exyte Asia-Pacific Holding
General counsel Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and M&A for South East Asia and Australasia
Head of legal and company secretary
China Aviation Oil Singapore
Lavin S. Nair
Regional manager, legal and risk department
General counsel, first executive vice president
Bank of Ayudhya
Managing counsel, Asia Pacific
Senior legal counsel South ASEAN
Dag Ove Solsvik
Head of legal Middle East and Asia Pacific and head of claims and insurance
Executive vice president legal
Director, legal counsel
Land Transport Authority
General counsel Asia Pacific
Group general counsel
Su Puay Leng
Head of legal department
General counsel and business integrity officer
Maria Rowena Ramos Espiritu
Legal affairs director
Huawei Technologies Philippines
General counsel and head of compliance
Senior vice president, general counsel and head of compliance
General counsel Indonesia
Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia
Head of legal Asia Pacific
Asian Development Bank
Chief legal officer Asia
Louis Dreyfus Company
Group general counsel, director of legal and corporate affairs and company secretary
Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C)
Mei Chel Tan
Corporate counsel, Asia Pacific
Mui Hiang Tan
General counsel, group corporate services
S P Setia
Head of legal
Chief counsel, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Son Tran Vo Quoc
General counsel and head of legal and compliance
Samsung Electronics Vietnam
Vice president, head of legal
Lily Ann Twui Siang Tsen
General counsel Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific
Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific
Managing director and head of legal, Singapore and Southeast Asia
Brunei National Petroleum Company
Wind Energy Holding
A highly active employment history in the past few years has seen Antonius Adhitama operate in senior legal roles for Nissan Financial Services and Sampoerna Wirausaha before taking on his current role with PT Finansia Multi Finance (known to customers as KreditPlus) in November 2017. His role has been a transformational one, with Adhitama making great efforts to improve the efficiency and capability of the department. ‘In 2017, the company embarked on a transformation encompassing various strategic initiatives in the digital domain’, he says. ’The legal department also works around these initiatives, not only efficiencies in its operational activities but also to ensure that the company is well protected. Currently, we are using less paper documents when it comes to our financing products in which we also further enhance the processing time for approving credit and signing the legal credit agreement. We have the ability to approve credit application up to signing the credit legal agreement within a maximum processing time of one business day. Such enhancement gives efficiency in our operational activities as well as gives a more pleasant experience to our customers’. He has also been extremely successful in support of major company projects: ‘In 2017 I successfully assisted the company in obtaining Financing Facility in the amount of IDR 3tn from a public listed bank in Indonesia. I also assisted the company in issuing medium-term notes amounting to IDR 800bn in two tranches’.
Formerly Heidelberg Cement’s legal and compliance head, Surabhi Agarwal now takes on legal directorship responsibilities for the whole of South Asia (covering 15 countries in the Southeast Asia Pacific region) at AkzoNobel, and was recently – in October 2018 – admitted into the global legal leadership team with a direct reporting line into to global general counsel and member of executive committee Isabelle Deschamps. She regards this milestone as her foremost career highlight. Her work as team lead has been complex and has required a multi-faceted approach to management. ‘The team has consistently contracted in size in recent years and we have had to do more with less’, says Agarwal. ‘We have overcome the challenges by ensuring that synergy, helping each other succeed and working transparently got embedded in the team ethos. An important aspect of leading a high-performance team has been identifying and leveraging on each individual’s strengths and making the most of those strengths to bring about high productivity and maintain quality’. Having successfully honed the team’s skills to a high level, Agarwal and her team have been at the forefront of a number of critical transactions for the company. These have ranged from defending high-value product liability claims, supporting high-value disputes further afield, leading the discrimination and harassment work stream of the AkzoNobel human rights program, the separation of AkzoNobel’s specialty chemicals business from the paints and coatings business in South Asia and the acquisition of a decorative paints and powder coatings businesses in the region. The complexity of these deals and projects, as well as their variety, highlight the excellent quality of work Agarwal’s team consistently produces.
A legal professional who has proven her skill in both private practice and in-house roles in multiple locations, notably India, Hong Kong, London and Singapore, Ipsita Aggarwal moved to Olam in 2012 with explicit instructions to create and mould an exceptional legal department for the business: ‘I joined Olam as their general counsel with the mandate to start and grow their global legal function. It has been an interesting journey to grow and structure a team that today provides support to over 20 businesses across 70 countries. We have a team of very capable senior lawyers- building and managing the team has helped me grow as a lawyer and as a leader within a global multinational’. Aggarwal’s newly created team was in action and adding value to the company very soon after its inception. ‘Soon after I joined Olam, we dealt with a particularly challenging situation where the company was under attack. Working with top management and capable advisors though this to ensure the company came out unharmed shaped me hugely as a business lawyer’, she recalls. This, along with her leading of a number of high-value M&A transactions with Olam – including the acquisition of ADM’s global cocoa business which was the largest in Olam’s history – ranks as among her main career highlights. ‘While a number of legal professionals take on general counsel roles, I have been particularly fortunate to have had both the opportunity and the challenge to start and build a key function in an already large multinational corporation involved in incredibly diverse business lines. It has been a truly rewarding journey’, she says.
A nominating source points out that Erasto Miguel de Guzman Aguila has been extremely successful in maintaining the high volume of work needed to support the rapid pace of change that working in a start-up company entails: ‘Grab is a young company that has scaled exponentially, and Aguila is able to keep up with this pace and provide support for all the different business units and industries of Grab. He handles a multitude of issues and exemplifies the role of a general counsel’. Examples of the high level of activity of his tenure with Grab are many and varied, with Aguila mentioning ‘leading the clearance of the Uber-Grab transaction with the Philippine Competition Commission and compliance with the voluntary commitments, securing e-money and remittance agent license for GrabPay from the Central Bank of the Philippines and the management of legal issues related to and coming from the Uber-Grab transaction’ as just some of the projects he has been involved with in recent months. He is also a significant voice in strategic planning at the company with senior management, adding a valuable legal perspective to these talks. ‘By maintaining a strong voice in the company, I have assisted the management team in making sound business decisions based on strong legal reference’, he says.
Initially joining Marina Bay Sands in 2010, Faris Alsagoff is an integral part of the company’s senior management. He recalls the revolutionary atmosphere around the company when he first joined, with Marina Bay Sands marking the onset of the casino and integrated resort industry in Singapore, and the challenges that entailed. ‘Assuming the general counsel position of Marina Bay Sands at that time meant having to grapple with a steep learning curve on the fly in order to steer the company and navigate a complex, newly developed and untested body of law, with no expert specialist resources in the legal industry to tap into. Operating outside one’s comfort zone on a daily basis required constant out-of-the-box thinking’. His career, which included multi-national leadership roles in the past, has furnished him with ‘an international perspective and a sensitivity to the practical and cultural differences in approach to legal issues in different countries’, which he believes has shaped his leadership style. He considers his construction of a top-quality legal function at Marina Bay Sands as among his greatest career achievements. ‘The opportunity to plan for and create a legal department (which today is over 20-strong) from scratch when the company began operations gave me a greater appreciation of the different skill sets required to form an effective legal team’, he says.
An extremely highly-regarded lawyer who came in for particular praise from nominating sources, Lyndon Arnall has been a technology-focused commercial in-house lawyer since 1999, having worked in eight countries across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America in a range of industry sectors, amassing a wealth of experience in the process. ‘Living and working in a number of countries and industries has been core to how I’ve developed as a lawyer’, he says. ‘From being head of legal in a bank in Cairo, through to a GC for a petroleum company in Houston, or leading a commercial legal team in Johannesburg, each different experience has given me greater perspective on what good and bad looks like, and what makes teams tick’. Arnall joined BHP in 2011 and has led a number of critical projects: ‘In early 2017 I was asked to lead a significant investigation into a train derailment in Australia. Leading an investigation of this type was an invaluable opportunity to strengthen my skills as a member of the wider company, and not just a lawyer. It was a powerful development experience’. The mark that Arnall has made on the legal team has been significant as well, and has included him leading the company’s global firm panel selection project. This was a major endeavour involving over 160 law firms around the world and has been notably successful, leading to a corresponding efficiency in the handling of external counsel by the BHP’s legal team. As well as leading the company’s petroleum legal team through the divestment of its shale business, Arnall led the technology legal team when the company took all of its global major technology arrangements out to market and was the Legal Executive Committee member who led the company’s response to GDPR and the evolution of privacy legislation globally. He currently leads the twenty-strong commercial legal team, and is spearheading an initiative to establish a BHP Legal presence in Malaysia and the Philippines.
As a senior member of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch legal team, Jyotirmoy Banerjee is a trusted adviser to the management for whom he provides strategic guidance on handling complex legal issues, regulatory matters and cross-border transactions. His outstanding expertise and commerciality is clearly evident in the various cross-border transactions that he leads on, and he has been instrumental in helping the bank navigate through various regulations involving the US, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Regarding Banerjee, nominating sources said, ‘it is clear to us that [he] is a deeply trusted business partner of the organisation who never fails to demonstrate strong legal expertise combined with an acute commercial sense. He has consistently proven to be a star lawyer with outstanding skills to support the business across a wide spectrum of critical areas’.
Currently in charge of a ten-lawyer team, having been made general counsel and chief compliance officer for the region in April 2017, Patience Bin was a private practice lawyer specialising in white collar defence and regulatory compliance at Mayer Brown in Washington DC. Regarding her move to in-house legal work as having contributed to her becoming a ‘strategic commercial business partner and leader’, Bin lists her three main achievements since taking on her role with Avon as follows: ‘Acting as the leading legal advisor and negotiator for a cross-border M&A deal, including leading on-the-ground due diligence, agreements negotiations and drafting, and communications with the union, employee representatives, government agencies, and the press; helping design the sales channels of the company’s China business from legal, compliance, and commercial perspectives; and successfully leading a team of ten lawyers across seven Asia Pacific countries to provide exceptional legal and compliance advice to internal clients’.
Formerly a partner with White & Case and head of capital markets and M&A with Weerawong, Chinnavat & Partners (the former Bangkok office of White & Case), Peangpanor Boonklum moved on from her extremely successful private practice career in July 2017 when she first took on a role with PTT Public Company. Now group general counsel, when reflecting on the personal qualities that have allowed her such a high degree of success throughout her career, Boonklum lists a number of possible contributing factors: ‘I have a strong commitment and dedication to all I do, and my motto is “put your heart into it!“; I have always looked to developing myself, which I believe is now called growth mindset; and I constantly remind myself there is much that I don’t know, and thus I try to be humble and not arrogant, which has helped me to keep learning’. She has been extremely busy in terms of the individual projects she has been a part of as well, and goes through just a few of these: ‘As well as defending a lawsuit initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia (the Ministry) against the company which was withdrawn in March 2018 and the acquisition of a 9.5 % shares in IRPC, a refining company within PTT Group, from the Government Savings Bank, in February 2018, I have lately been involved in the proposed acquisition by Global Power Synergy (GPSC), a power flagship company of PTT, of 69% shares in a listed power company Glow, from Engie, and will follow by a tender offer of all shares. The transaction is over US$3bn’.
‘Changes create opportunities, even during the most difficult of times’, says Christopher Buay when recalling his move to in-house lawyering after eight years in private practice as a litigation specialist. Three years in-house gave him a skillset that was noticed by Johnson Controls and led to him being given the opportunity to join. Since then, he has risen to the rank of legal director of building technologies and solutions for Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand, previously being in charge of litigation, commercial and compliance matters across Asia. His time with the company has seen him achieve a number of career high points. On the personal side, these include ‘being appointed a board member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC, Singapore Chapter) since 2014, obtaining the ACC In-house Counsel Certified (ICC) accreditation in May 2018 and graduating from the Johnson Controls Leadership Programme in September 2018’. On the project side, Buay lists ‘being the global lead of the company’s Project Recovery Programme, which contributed US$136M in recoveries to the company’ as being particularly successful. He has had similar success in improving capabilities of the legal team and creating more efficient internal processes. ‘As well as developing the use of on-line input for the submission, tracking and review of legal requests by the business in different jurisdictions, I have introduced a multi-tiered legal and risk assessment triage for contracts, depending on contract value or risk triggers, that has improved the responsiveness of the legal team in handling every increasing numbers of contracts’.
Initially operating as a corporate law specialist at one of the Philippines’ leading corporate private practice firms, Jazel Calvo-Cariño initially moved in-house with Deutsche Bank Philippines. After doing a brief stint with Macquarie Investments, she changed sectors entirely and joined Sanofi-Aventis Philippines seven years ago. ‘The rest’, as she says, ‘is history’. She hit the ground running at Sanofi-Aventis, and has been involved in some of the most important deals for the company since taking over. One example of this was her work with a transversal team in Sanofi to successfully join the Rhea brand by a Mercury Drug affiliated company: ‘This was a breakthrough, given it marked a true partnership milestone between Mercury and different pharma companies. With this project, we were able to ensure further access of affordable, high quality medicine to patients who need it. It was a very difficult negotiation because it was the first of its kind and both parties were dealing with provisions not entirely familiar with them’. Calvo-Cariño was also involved in the negotiation of a full collective bargaining agreement with the company’s labour union which was concluded three years ago. She speaks to the intensity of the work she and the team has been involved in in 2018. ‘To say this year was an eventful year is a huge understatement! The Sanofi legal team is constantly evolving because we are sensitive to the needs of our stakeholders and are agile enough to adjust our approach in offering effective legal counsel. We offer counsel to our clients but more importantly, we also need to learn from them so we can be better lawyers to the business’, she says.
Formerly general counsel of cloud-based platform start-up doxIQ in the Silicon Valley, Christopher Y. Chan joined RedMart in mid-2015 and has established himself as one of the foremost up-and-coming general counsel in Singapore since, playing a major role in the company’s acquisition of the company by Lazada (Alibaba Group) in 2016 and taking on a role as a director of the Association of Corporate Counsel of Singapore in 2017. He mentions ‘being on the executive committee and helping create the LiveUp Lifestyle Loyalty program to drive business and beat out our competitors’ as among his main highlights at his current company, and also provided some insight into how he has built the legal function since joining the company: ‘Because this company is young and I’m the first lawyer, legal has had the ability to assess and minimise risk in all its processes early on. All the contracts and standard operating procedures are practically written and electronically signed, freeing up bandwidth for more strategic work. We have the ability to try new things and also reshape how old processes are done with technology and modernisation’.
‘Lawyering for a 21st century company looks very different from what we were taught in law school. It requires lawyers being entrenched in the business, standing shoulder to shoulder with the teams, and having a deep understanding of the issues that challenge the company – I call this guerrilla lawyering’. So says deputy general counsel and Asia Pacific legal team lead of Airbnb Darrell Chan, who himself is a prime example of the sort of modern in-house lawyer he is describing. Indeed, after serving as a private practice lawyer at the start of his career with Drew & Napier and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, he took what he called ‘a road less travelled’ by taking on a purely commercial role with fashion retail group F J Benjamin before becoming the general counsel of the company – he thrived in this role for a number of years, eventually leaving in 2012. A senior legal role with BASF was then followed by head of legal positions with Expedia and Discovery Communications before moving on to Airbnb in 2018; clearly Chan has had an extremely varied career with in terms of the roles he has taken on and the sectors in which his companies have operated. Now well established at Airbnb, Chan has been at the centre of some blockbuster transactions, of which he provides some more detail: ‘Airbnb has been closely working with the Japanese government over the past 3 years to implement the new law around short-term rentals, which came into effect in June 2018. The Japanese government has formally introduced this new form of short term rental accommodation to support its growth in tourist arrivals ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’. He has also been at the forefront of a number of initiatives within the team, including a focus on career and leadership development, work-life balance and enhancing the speed and clarity of advice given. This fits in with his overall philosophy of in-house legal work. ‘Contrary to the flowery legalese taught in law school’, he explains, ‘communication has to be crisp, clear and concise with almost military precision’.
When discussing her transformation of the EY ASEAN legal department, general counsel Eunice Chew makes it clear that her main objective was to build a high performing team delivering exceptional client service: ‘The key change was to make the team more proactive to client needs rather than to react to client demands, with the intent of speed to market. We divided our load based on key focus accounts of EY so that each counsel would have a working knowledge of EY’s client, EY’s strategy in respect of the client and the EY client’s approach to procurement of services and our legal terms’. Chew is also constantly looking out for ways that technology can enhance the performance of her team and hopes to implement in the near future a system that takes care of repetitive asks of the legal team so that counsel’s time is freed up to focus on higher risk areas. In the role since 2014, and with EY since 2013, Chew has not only worked through significant regulatory and litigation matters across ASEAN, she has also supported EY’s acquisitions of businesses such as Adelphi Digital, Xynapse and Brightree, as well as the admission of Atlas Asia Law Corporation as an independent member firm of the EY global network. Chew picks out the three major lessons she has learned from her experience at EY that have improved her as a legal professional: ‘First, I received an education in great stewardship from leaders in the business, which I bear in mind as my team continues to grow from the three of us in 2014 to our team of 11 today. Second, being among the best and brightest minds in professional services means opening one’s eyes to the full myriad of implications in taking a certain position, which drives a more precise strategy. Third, a fast moving business requires a general counsel to be quick on her feet, succinct and accurate in her view. Layered with the diverse businesses of EY, this training has certainly improved me as a legal professional.‘
Gerald Chew has been a major component of Delfi Limited’s success since being installed as its first general counsel, law and corporate affairs all the way back in 2005. While here, Chew was one of a few executives who oversaw the sale of the company’s Cocoa Ingredients division to Barry Callebaut for US$860m in 2013. ‘More recently’, he explains, ‘in April 2018 I assisted and advised management on Delfi’s acquisition of the branded consumer rights for the “Van Houten” range of trademarks from Hershey covering 42 countries, which includes China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and ASEAN amongst other countries in Asia’. Chew has been operating in an in-house capacity for far longer than many of his contemporaries (‘you could say that I was a pioneer in-house counsel’, he says), having originally become an internal lawyer in 1990. ‘There were much fewer counsel in-house, when I started work in 1990’, he explains. ‘The world has become much more complex and interconnected now, and while laws are also more sophisticated and complex, not everyone may respect the law. As counsel (and leaders), I feel that we should bear in mind that we manage others as we manage ourselves by the thoughts we hold in our minds. If we nurture thoughts and ideas of integrity, strategy and fair-play, these are things that are likely to “rub off” on others as well’. He concludes, ‘my feeling is that every counsel, no matter what the scope or extent of his or her role, can effectively contribute to their organisation by contributing to its culture’.
Appointed as the first general counsel of L’Oréal Malaysia in 2014, Melissa Chia is now part of the company’s senior management committee, and significantly increased the scope of her role In January 2018 when she added legal responsibilities for L’Oréal Singapore. She has been marked as one to watch among Southeast Asia in-house counsel for some time, having achieved a great deal at a young age. Among other achievements, Chia was the legal director of Carrefour Malaysia and Singapore and was the youngest executive committee appointed then. Chia has been involved in implementing high value strategic legal work since taking on her role and was key in setting up the company’s legal structures, and is highly regarded as a strategic business partner in the company as a result. Compliance has also been a major focus, and her putting in place of legal compliance processes and documents to ensure that the business operates in accordance with L’Oréal ethical principles have been highly successful.
Initially specialising in intellectual property law at reputed law firms Raja, Darryl & Loh and Wong & Partners, David Chiam Joy Yeow followed this with a five-year stint in the Malaysian Government in the Ministries of Youth and Sports followed by the Ministry of Tourism, which encompassed a policy and legal research advisory role. From there, he moved in-house into a senior legal counsel role with British American Tobacco Malaysia which evolved into a head of legal role to which a company secretary position was added in 2013. He began his current role of legal director and company secretary of Dairy Farm International (Malaysia and Brunei) business in 2017, and recently – in December 2018 – added legal director responsibilities for Dairy Farm Singapore entities as well. His main achievements within the department include the provision of strong business-oriented legal services across functions, the expansion of the legal team’s capabilities into more cross-functional areas and the re-building of trust in the legal department within the business. He has also been at the forefront of a number of innovation efforts within the team: ‘I have worked towards the removal of traditional ways of working of an in-house legal department by promoting new functional behaviours and belief systems that promote self confidence in delivery of legal services, cross functional business learning and freedom through responsibility in each layer of the department’.
As leader of the Minor International legal function for over a decade, originally joining in 2007, Stephen Chojnacki’s corporate and M&A specialist skills built during a private practice career with Linklaters have proved highly beneficial to the company. In 2018, Chojnacki was integral to Minor’s acquisition of a 94% shareholding stake in NH Hotel Group, while in 2016 he worked on the acquisition of Portuguese-based hotel chain Tivoli Hotels & Resorts. ‘These acquisitions were interesting, difficult and transformative of our company. In each case, I was forced to step further and further outside of a purely legal role, to help develop and implement practical and pragmatic solutions to securing and completing the transaction’, Chojnacki explains. His construction of a highly effective legal team was also a major factor in the success of these transactions. When discussing his work on this, Chojnacki says, ‘I have grown the legal team from a small team of three lawyers to a Bangkok-based team of 12 lawyers, with a further network of lawyers in our major overseas business hubs including in Australia, Spain, Portugal and South Africa. As Minor is a conglomerate, I have structured the legal team to service specific business units, so that the legal team can develop competency in specific business sectors which increases our understanding of the relevant business dynamics and, ultimately, our effectiveness in supporting our various businesses’.
Wei-Pin Choo serves as Razer’s general counsel and company secretary. Razer’s global regulatory compliance function reports in to him as well, making him one of the key members of the senior management team. Having previously been a partner in a leading law firm in Singapore, Choo compares in-house work extremely favourably with being in private practice. ‘My in-house career has allowed me to work very closely with the business leaders in my organisation. For example, I am a member of the Razer executive team and participate in the collective senior management decision making process on a global scale. This has also allowed me to develop a better understanding of the challenges and considerations when entering new markets or undertaking new business, such as when Razer launched our fintech business, Razer Pay, in 2018’. In addition to this, perhaps the most impactful project Choo has worked on came to fruition in 2017, when he led legal support for Razer’s successful IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, a major milestone for the company. Summing up his time with Razer, Choo says, ‘being this close to the heartbeat of an organisation like Razer is challenging but also highly rewarding. I am proud of the team and the work we have done’.
One of the most experienced in-house counsel in the region, Suit Mae Choo has made a major mark on the Southeast Asian legal community. Not only did she have an extremely successful private practice career culminating in a position as partner at Skrine in Malaysia, but has been a major force in the Sime Darby Property legal department since 2006. Originally taken on as head of legal and strategy after comprehensively impressing the senior management of the company, Choo was in the thick of the action from a very early period, succeeding in very demanding circumstances given the company was involved in a very complex merger which she was required to display her abilities on. She has continued to succeed at the company ever since, being made group general counsel in 2010.
‘As someone who is helping shape Lazada’s company approach to law and regulation, I sit at the convergence of two big themes in the future economy – technology companies and the ever-increasing complexity of law and regulation’, says Gladys Chun, general counsel and head of government affairs at Lazada. She considers herself ‘one of the new breed of general counsel’ that are at the forefront of the technological revolution that is sweeping the business world, and provides some detail as to how other in-house counsel can emulate the same level of success in this area. ‘Working in a highly charged, fast paced environment that is continuously changing, I’m tasked to deal not only with the business, but also with uncertainties in a legal environment that is also challenged by technological advancements that some may perceive as disruptors’, she says. ‘I have to think pragmatically, adapt and ensure that risks are managed whilst also allowing the business to seize opportunities and anticipate what the business may need to future-proof itself. This is particularly important in the context of a technology company as the relevant laws in respect of the use of technology and in particular, data, are constantly evolving’. When discussing the most important transactions she has worked on, Chun mentions her role in the US$1bn acquisition by Alibaba of majority shareholding in Lazada, the biggest Southeast Asia acquisition made by Alibaba in 2016. ‘It was a complex undertaking which involved 22 existing investors from different jurisdictions, application of bridge loans granted to Lazada during negotiations, a sophisticated put/call arrangement, a highly complex management incentive and liquidity plan and negotiation over warranty insurance and anti-trust regulations in several markets which Lazada was operating’, Chun says. Ultimately, Chun believes that the most important change she has made to the operation of the legal team is ‘embracing and leveraging technology. The Lazada team has developed and launched several types of automated and self-help legal and compliance portals to render more efficient the speed at which business units can self-remedy for routine legal issues’.
Formerly a public sector lawyer, Lope Del Rosario Manuel played a significant role in the design and execution of landmark public policy agendas in the Philippines’ IP community. Moving to a private sector in-house legal role in 2013 with fashion company Golden ABC, Manuel became one of the youngest chief legal counsel in the industry, and followed this by becoming head of corporate relations for Diageo Philippines, finally joining Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines in 2016. He has expanded his role significantly since this time, now taking on legal, labour relations, corporate affairs, compliance and governance responsibilities at the company. This ranks among his favourite parts of his career. ‘Transitioning from being a general counsel to an overall business partner of the company with Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines has been one of my top career highlights. Understanding the business of the company I work with not just on its legal needs but also on matters relating to business goals and our overall strategic agenda’, Manuel says. He has managed to create an extremely effective cross-functional framework for dealing with his demanding set of tasks. ‘With the four functions currently under my wing, I was able to achieve a strategic alignment of the various agendas. Each team works with the other in order to provide the optimal output and I continue to build the team’s capability through various trainings and stretched projects’, he says.
"Tony Dent was initially taken on board by Harley-Davidson in 2011 as Latin American legal counsel, being subsequently tasked with a legal directorship role for Asia Pacific in January 2016 and adding EMEA responsibilities to this in early 2018. In July of 2018 his most recent role expansion was secured, seeing him take on his current mantle of assistant general counsel for international operations – reporting directly to the chief legal officer of the group in the process. Speaking generally of his journey with Harley-Davidson, Dent says, ‘advising over the past eight years at Harley-Davidson as it has rapidly expanded its dealer network across Latin America and Asia Pacific, taking the leap and moving my family abroad to Singapore from the US and exposing us to a new culture in the process, has been the best thing I have ever done from a career and personal development perspective’. His largest deals in terms of major projects include ‘negotiating the terms of Harley-Davidson’s largest licensing agreement outside of the US, sparking greater brand knowledge in the Asia Pacific region in the process’, and ‘providing legal advice and leadership in the establishment Harley-Davidson’s manufacturing operations in Thailand’."
Moving from private practice to in-house work taught Trisula Dewantara how ‘the legal world is implemented in the corporate practice’, a lesson which he learnt very quickly and which allowed him to take on a number of in-house positions with companies such as Astra and Indosat before moving to Tokopedia in 2017. ‘I saw the way the industry is going’, he says, ‘and that we are on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, and I joined a company that has evolved significantly from its core business of C2C marketplace into a super-app platform in order to keep up with this’. He has continued to improve and hone the legal department’s skills and value to the business: ‘When I joined, the legal department that was comprised of high spirited young lawyers basically handled anything and everything in reaction mode. I started to specialise the work and recruit people who would act as mentors and a bridge between me and the more junior members of the team. I also introduced – as far as we can – automation, precedents and templates’. All to ensure legal department’s transformation to be a more trusted business partner, and correctly positioned to support Tokopedia’s growth. Among his main highlights with the company has been his work on fundraising events. ‘Given I was new to the tech space, the experience of handling my first fundraising was interesting and quite an eye opener. I was used to doing a more traditional M&A per se, but a tech fundraiser requires a specific set of skills beyond purely legal expertise’, he says.
A key fixture in the Micron Technology legal department for over a decade, and in the position of senior director for Asia legal since May 2018, Stephen Drake came in for high praise from nominating sources. He is now in charge of a regional team of over 20 lawyers which covers a wide range of countries within Southeast Asia and elsewhere, proving himself particularly adept at M&A matters. Nominating sources agreed, adding that despite working in ‘a challenging legal environment, [Drake] is passionate about pro bono work’, emphasising his conscientiousness and sense of justice.
Appointed as Dymon Asia’s first ever in-house counsel in 2011, Jason Eng has been at the forefront of multiple noteworthy projects at the alternative investment management firm since then. Among others, he established Dymon Asia’s first venture capital fund in 2017 and successfully assisted the launch and closing of Dymon Asia’s second private equity fund in 2018, which was the winner of the 2018 new fund raise by the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Dymon Asia’s legal team was also involved in the divestment of Asia Integrated Facility Solutions, which resulted in dramatic returns for Dymon Asia’s first private equity fund in less than three years. Eng constantly strives to be a practical lawyer who adopts a risk-based approach, and looks to achieve business-oriented solutions. He comments that he believes it is important to have a ‘positive relationship with senior management, where frank and constructive opinion is exchanged for the betterment of the business’.
Formerly Asia Pacific legal director for Juniper Networks, in February 2018 Stephan Engelmann took on a demanding new role with Palo Alto Networks, being the regional counsel and tasked with responsibility for building and growing the legal team in Asia Pacific. In working towards this, Engelmann has targeted ‘enabling business by focussing on high risk areas and deal support in order to ensure legal support in a timely manner’. As for his career prior to Palo Alto Networks, Engelmann has a raft of professional highlights to look back on. ‘At Juniper’, he explains, ‘I supported the biggest account outside the US when I joined Juniper Networks while also co-leading the global data privacy program together with a US colleague, and became adept at how to deal with such an important customer on a daily basis. This included ensuring the internal alignment of the legal team with company objectives and grasping the importance of building relationships with internal stakeholders as well as counterparts on the other side of any deals’.
Based in Asia for more than 14 years, James Evans moved from a highly successful private practice career – during which he established a reputation as an IP specialist – into the in-house role he currently occupies with Linfox International Group in 2014. Regarding his strong focus on IP, Evans says, ‘I don’t think it is a coincidence that a fair amount of IP lawyers make the transition from private practice to in-house. Practising IP law brings you into contact with many different types of matters, from labour, to corporate and commercial, litigation and you become well attuned to advising across different types of industries. IP lawyers therefore tend to be fairly agile – a key requirement for in-house roles’. Evans has had an eventful in-house career, with one of the most notable transactions he has been involved with being the milestone joint venture with Boon Rawd Brewery in Thailand to take over Singha’s beer and water distribution network. Evans led the negotiation, set up and all legal, labour, IP and commercial matters for the transaction, a highly intricate and complex project, but also one that he considers to be highly enjoyable, if time-consuming: ‘This matter has taken over the last year of my working life. The nature of the JV was, right from the start, family led, as both companies involved, despite their size, remain family businesses. This meant that the deal was an extremely cooperative and friendly one, with my role involved in every aspect from day one. Whilst the JV was built on the spirit of collaboration, it was important to protect the interests of our company, particularly when it came to potential conflicts of interest in overlapping logistics markets and existing and future customers of both Linfox and the new JV company. Pragmatism was important to enable the new JV to flourish’.
‘As the head of legal and compliance of Kalbe Group, a pharmaceutical company based in Indonesia and having presence across Asian and African countries, Maria Teresa Fabiola is continuously encouraging her team and subordinates to broaden their insight and perception, not only in legal theory but also to understand the business practices; not only to understand one’s business but also the sister’s company business practices’: such is the verdict of a nominating source on Fabiola and her considerable abilities in service of Kalbe Farma. Fabiola herself said of her time at Kalbe Farma, ‘I have been with the company since January 2006, and since then have gradually added subsidiaries of Kalbe to deal with in terms of legal matters. I came to my current position in 2015 and am currently handling the legal division of all 37 subsidiaries of the company’. To assist with this, Fabiola has revolutionised the legal department at the company, integrating legal teams across Kalbe Group companies into a single entity, also developing global templates to be used across this function. Lately, Fabiola has been concerned with the setting up of new company subsidiaries in Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia as well as the handling of joint ventures both in Indonesia and internationally. ‘All of these have given me lots of opportunity to build my legal knowledge, helping my ability to grow to the level required to handle legal matters across the whole group’, she says.
Loo Hwee Fang has been group general counsel and company secretary of Yoma Strategic Holdings since 2013, prior to which she was a partner in the corporate department of Lee & Lee. She has put her past experiences to extremely good use for the company, establishing herself as a strong positive force within the organisation: ‘Through dealing with investors, it was clear that corporate governance was and remains a priority for investors. Hence, it was also an area of focus for me to continuously improve the system to meet the high standards of corporate governance. Yoma has since made a remarkable improvement in its rankings on the various governance and transparency indexes’. She was also involved in the spin-off of the company’s tourism business and the assets of Yoma into Catalist Board of the Singapore Exchange, Memories Group. ‘This was an exercise whereby we were subject to the scrutiny of the Singapore Exchange and the various advisers to ensure that the existing structures will be acceptable to meet the requirements of the Singapore Exchange’, she explains. The endeavour was successful: ‘Since the opening up of Myanmar, I believe that Memories Group is the only other Myanmar focused tourism entity to be listed on the Singapore Exchange after Yoma’. She has built a high-quality legal function to support her and the company in their endeavours. ‘There was only one legal counsel when I joined Yoma’, she explains, ‘and we now have a legal department comprising about ten local or expat counsel and legal executives. The group has grown considerably during this same time too, and we are well regarded as a preferred partner of many foreign investors looking to invest into Myanmar. The legal department plays a vital role in providing assurances to the foreign investors’.
Tricia Feng’s rise in the legal profession over a career spanning two decades is testament to her skill, work ethic and legal and commercial talent. Qualifying in 1999, Feng, a financial services specialist, joined Schroders Singapore in 2007, and was made head of legal for Singapore only a year later. In 2017 she was made head of legal for the whole of Southeast Asia, and is a key senior member of the Southeast Asian management team. Feng has worked together with the Southeast Asia business teams for more than a decade to establish and maintain Schroders’ market-leading positions in Singapore and Indonesia, and the offshore sectors of Malaysia and Thailand. She has also played a role in pivotal Asia-Pacific transactions, for example acquiring and establishing Schroders’ first private bank in Asia Pacific, establishing Schroders’ successful Indian partnership with Axis Bank, being part of Schroders’ first start-up investment in Asia Pacific (a minority stake in Weinvest) and establishing a strategic relationship with Maybank in Malaysia. In addition, Feng is the Asia Pacific legal lead for Schroders Asia Pacific infrastructure, IT and digital initiatives, and recently worked with the digital team on the successful launch of a Schroders chatbot, a first in the asset management industry in Asia. This ties in with her forward-thinking and technologically-focused strategic overview of the future of the legal industry. ‘Given the rate of change in technology, I truly believe that advances in technology today will bring fundamental shifts to the legal industry in the near future – not just further enabling legal processes but altering legal work itself. In 2017, I accepted the exciting challenge to make a step change in how we approach legal processes and am leading explorations on how we can leverage AI and robotics to drive game-changing improvements for the Schroders global legal function. I am very pleased that my team and I have managed to automate a number of legal processes and are looking forward to doing more in 2019’, she concludes.
One of the most prominent general counsel in the Asia Pacific region, Paul Fredrick has been a leading figure of the in-house legal community in the region for more than a decade. In his current role since 2015, Fredrick has received high praise for managing a team of nine lawyers in six countries responsible for US$1.8bn of commercial operations. He also advises the zone president, supervises litigation and disputes, leads the compliance council which handles ethics matters for 12,000 employees in the East Asia and Japan (EAJ) zone, and serves on the leadership team for the Asia Pacific region’s legal group. Fredrick views his role as a strategic partner to the business, although he ‘does not embed lawyers into the business units we support in order to maintain our independence’. Rather, Fredrick and his team have ‘developed quality relationships with commercial colleagues that enable thoughtful, proactive collaboration at every stage of a transaction or project’. In addition to publishing regular newsletters, Fredrick has developed numerous template agreements for use throughout the EAJ Zone, which allows his team to focus more on high-risk and high-value matters for Schneider Electric. Fredrick has a long list of successful transactions and projects in Asia, the US and elsewhere globally. During his tenure with Schneider Electric, he includes the following on that list: ‘the negotiations in 2017 of the long-term lease and all related construction contracts for our state-of-the-art regional headquarters, the first office building in Singapore to be certified with a Green Mark Platinum Award; and the favourable resolution in 2018 of a complex multi-million-dollar arbitration’. Fredrick previously served for as general counsel with Itochu Oil Exploration in Tokyo for seven years and as senior counsel with Chevron in Singapore and Houston for seven years. Fredrick has also practiced in major international law firms in the US and Japan handling cross-border projects, M&A transactions, federal and state court litigation, and corporate matters.
Andrew Gale has achieved a great deal over the course of approximately eight years since moving from private practice into an in-house environment and specialising in telecommunications. Gale’s first in-house role was as a legal counsel in the telecommunications and infrastructure team of VicTrack, the Melbourne based rail land and infrastructure owner. In 2014, he took on a major challenge, relocating to Myanmar for the role of head of legal and regulatory at Digicel Myanmar Tower Company (MTC). In Myanmar, Gale was extremely successful as part of the senior management team during a period which saw the company grow from start-up to a value in excess of US$300m. Following the acquisition of MTC by edotco Group, a unit of telecoms firm Axiata Group, Gale was promoted to director of corporate affairs and planning, which included managing the legal and regulatory functions. Gale’s skill set was recognised further when he was eventually promoted to a regional role at edotco Group’s head office in Kuala Lumpur, where he has been group general counsel since December 2017. Gale leads the legal function across edotco Group’s six international markets.
iflix, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, is the world’s leading entertainment service for emerging markets. Starting out as a corporate lawyer at Allen & Overy before moving in-house to Sky, Emily Gebbett assumed her role at iflix after having worked on Sky’s investment in iflix. She regards this time as a particular career highlight: ‘It was my first fundraising for a start-up and I was overwhelmed by the dedication, energy and fast-paced environment at iflix. The iflix team were incredibly impressive and threw themselves into the transaction passionately’. She has matched this dedication since taking on her current role. ‘There’s never a dull moment at iflix’ she explains ‘the business is constantly evolving and it’s exciting to be a part of that’. The team is a busy one and supports all aspects of the business from content acquisition to corporate finance and everything in between. It focusses on managing risk and delivering practical solutions to issues while allowing the business to continue at pace. She has shown an extremely proactive attitude to both overseeing and developing the company’s legal function. The legal team has doubled in size since she joined. She says ‘I am up-skilling the team so we are all cross-functional so we can better serve the business. This year the team designed a bespoke end-to-end contract lifecycle management system which encompasses automated contract drafting for our more standard agreements. We built a logic system linking the responses from a simple multiple-choice questionnaire to template clauses. This enables the business to self-serve and frees up the team to add value in other areas’.
An extremely highly experienced general counsel, Tan Gim Boon has been group general counsel of Axiata Group since 2008 (he was previously group general counsel of predecessor company TM International as well) and became group chief risk officer in addition to this in 2013. When pushed on the foremost three highlights he can recall over the course of his highly successful career, Boon offered the following: ‘Being involved in the formation of Axiata Group over the course of two years from 2005 – 2007 via the disposals and acquisition of various telecoms assets in Africa and Asia would be the first. The second is the demerger of Axiata group from Telekom Malaysia which involved a complex transaction spanning ten countries, multiple shareholders (some listed entities within the ten countries) and regulators. The final highlight is the moulding and training of the legal team that has resulted in former team members now working as heads of legal in other companies around the region and some within Axiata Group’. He has also been highly successful in creating and maintaining the highly capable, committed and disciplined legal team that he now leads. ‘I had to start the department from the ground up when I joined’, he says. ‘I also had to put in place various processes and standardised templates for key commercial contracts, and have in place monitoring system to monitor compliance with contractual and key legislative obligations and change the culture of the legal departments within the group both at headquarters and in the subsidiaries. This was to get them to consider the commercial aspects of the deal more instead of just the black letter law, be business partners with other functions to help them rather than a rule-ticking department that other departments must comply with to get a contract signed. We are now seen as business partners rather than just a compliance function’.
Over the course of her 15 years of employment with the company, Yolande Goh has seen the Equinix legal team that she has led since 2006 grow from four to 18 lawyers in line with the business’s growth. This has been accomplished while maintaining the efficiency and internal resilience of the team, as evidenced by Goh reporting that ‘the turnover rate of the team is much lower than the industry average and the growth of the team are mostly incremental, and not as a result of team members leaving’. Indeed, she counts ‘playing a pivotal role in Equinix’s rapid and meteoric global expansion’ as perhaps her foremost career highlight: ‘In the last 15 years, Equinix has grown from a small data centre provider in the Silicon Valley to the world’s leading global data centre provider which has achieved a remarkable record of 63 consecutive quarters of growth. It has taught me that grit, determination and most importantly, good leadership and great team work are necessary ingredients for the success of an organisation’. When discussing the strategies she has used to grow and equip a top-level in-house legal department, Goh is clear that – alongside legal skill – a painstaking approach towards business knowledge is crucial for the individuals within the team: ‘I am a firm believer that in addition to possessing sound technical expertise, in-house counsels must also acquire a good understanding the business’ products and needs in order to anticipate and proactively manage risks as well as to build a collaborative partnership with the business functions to achieve the organisation’s objectives. As a result, we have won the respect of our internal clients, business counterparts and outside counsel by being willing to generate, consider, coach and implement innovative and practical solutions to complex or difficult legal issues as well as to build good relationships across all hierarchies’. This approach has borne impressive fruit in terms of the team’s transactional success; In 2018 Goh and her team were involved in the 2018 acquisition of Metronode in Australia valued at approximately A$1.035bn and the 2016 acquisition of Bit-isle valued at approximately US$28m.
Grace Guang’s considerable experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and telecommunication industries is matched by the broad range of practice areas that she is conversant in, being particularly knowledgeable in matters concerning corporate law, compliance, intellectual property, corporate finance, M&A and dispute resolution among others. Nominating sources provided a highly positive review of her capabilities as well: ‘[She] consistently exhibits exceptional business acumen and we have found her to be an outstanding in-house counsel who is able to grasp issues very quickly, and she demonstrates an impressive breadth of experience and an invaluable global perspective. The fact that she has transcended from a purely legal function to double-hatting as the managing director of a multinational corporation is telling’. Prior to joining RTI in January 2019, Guang spent three years with Bausch Health Companies where she was head of legal and compliance for Asia Pacific, Turkey, Middle East and Africa.
Originally admitted as a lawyer in 1995, the meteoric trajectory of Rhonda Hare’s career was set early on, and she rose to the level of partner with Blake Dawson just over a decade later in 2006. During the course of her private practice career, which lasted until 2013, Hare developed a proficiency in working in the hotel and real estate sectors across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. She moved in-house in 2014 with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), and joined Accor as Asia Pacific general counsel in November 2017. Focusing on further integrating the legal department with the company – ‘being closer to the business so that we can provide effective legal services’, as Hare puts it – is key for any legal counsel. Hare is adamant that all chapters of her legal journey has fed into her current status as an expert in the field: ‘From each of my in-house experiences (including my secondment with Hilton, my time at ADIA and now with Accor) – the exposure to different legal regimes and cultures has been a highlight. Understanding the differences and the similarities across the globe has enhanced my skills as a lawyer. The different cultural experiences have helped build the person, lawyer and leader I am today. Being able to develop a better understanding of each of the businesses I have worked in – beyond my role as lawyer – has also been a significant career highlight’. A nominating source endorsed Hare’s qualities enthusiastically, describing her as ‘a well-respected hospitality and real estate lawyer with a great work ethics who is viewed as a trusted legal advisor’.
Kah Hui (Kathryn) Ho originally joined Chevron in 2004 after a private practice career with Wong Partnership and Ashurst Morris Crisp, working as a corporate counsel for a decade before being made supervising counsel in early 2014. From then on her progress through the legal team was swift, seeing her promoted to senior managing counsel in mid-2015 and then finally general counsel of Chevron Singapore in January 2018. Now, she is responsible for the company’s downstream and chemicals businesses in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with her performance in the role being particularly noted by nominating sources.
Starting his legal career with JTJB, then a boutique litigation practice based in Singapore, Kenneth Ho recalls that being in a smaller firm ‘meant that youngsters like us were thrown into the mix relatively quickly compared to our colleagues in larger firms’. In 2008 he was invited to join Swire Pacific Offshore, an event that he considers a career highlight. Since then Ho has built and led a compact legal team which supports all of Swire Pacific Offshore’s business units across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. He states: ‘Each team member has personal ownership of a different portfolio and services a different group of internal clients, which allows closer engagement and synergy with the business that he or she is responsible for supporting. I am fortunate to have a team that is highly competent, driven and result-oriented’.
Chan Hoe moved in-house in 2006 with Razer after a period with Rodyk & Davidsons (now renamed Dentons Rodyk) and Rajah & Tann Asia, and describes his first in-house legal role as ‘a great place to cut my teeth on the in-house experience, and involved me learning – very quickly – the entire gamut of legal issues a small company could face’. He joined Toyota Motor Asia Pacific in 2008, and recalls that ‘moving from a small computer gaming company to one of the largest automotive companies in the world gives me a very broad-based and essential understanding of the legal problems all companies would face’. Hoe mentions one of his main highlights with Toyota was his work in litigious and regulatory investigations in other jurisdictions – notably India where he ‘met with local authorities, instructed local lawyers and had to adapt to the way cases were conducted locally’, all of which gave him ‘a very well-rounded exposure to different jurisdictions and how differently each jurisdiction functions’. In addition, his work on ‘new business structures and joint ventures in developing markets (Thailand and Myanmar) with different FDI and foreign business restrictions’ has been a major source of enjoyment which has ‘emphasised the diverse legal systems and legal expertise in the region’. His work on the development of the legal function has also been notable, with the successful implementation of a personnel exchange programme from different Asian countries being a key example of this.
Joining Rio Tinto in January 2018 as general counsel - commercial, Peter Hopp brings more than 20 years of global legal experience to the company. In his prior roles, Hopp served as international general counsel with Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge in commodities trading and food processing sectors, and also spent several years in Europe, Africa and China in private practice. ‘From my start in-house in 2001’, he says, ‘I have had the benefit of direct exposure to CEOs and board members. This has fostered my understanding of strategy, as well as our priorities. Second, I was very fortunate of being developed and constantly challenged by my global general counsels. With the right balance of guidance and delegation, I learned fast to be accountable, and to deliver tangible success. A very welcome result of such exposure was the constant benchmarking and improvement of my communication skills’. Hopp has been integral to a number of key projects for Rio Tinto in the year since joining. ‘Immediately upon my start with Rio Tinto, I have embedded each member of the commercial legal team within its specific product group. This has fundamentally changed the way we work, communicate, and understand our client’s needs, and it promoted a much stronger integration of the legal team within commercial’, he says. ‘In addition I have been honoured to lead the reorganisation of all legal services for Rio Tinto’s downstream businesses (such as iron ore, aluminium, copper, diamonds, uranium, energy and minerals, as well as procurement and marine), including the introduction of new technologies to manage workflows smarter and much more efficiently. Since the beginning of 2018, we have drastically reduced our C2C (contact to cash) exposure and cycle times by introducing a totally new set of general conditions, including many risk-opportunity weighed provisions. I look forward to implementing another suite of tech solutions around contract authoring in 2019, eventually leading to smart contracts for the entire commercial business of Rio Tinto’.
In line with the company’s ethos of win, lead and serve, Faz Hussen’s legal team at McDonald’s has been concerned with post-deal consolidation following the major S$400m deal for 20-year franchise rights to Singapore and Malaysia agreed in late 2016. Hussen himself has also taken on an additional new role with the company, and is now one of three company officers and a part of the board of directors; he is now ‘privy to quite a lot more business developments in terms of assessing business opportunities’, which has been ‘very interesting’. The transition to more business-focused role is one that many high-achieving in-house lawyers are increasingly offered the opportunity to take, and Hussen provides some insight into what is required to be successful in this: ‘It is definitely a mindset shift. All the training that we have as lawyers is looking at risks – when you have a seat on the board you have to look at the business and what we are trying to achieve. Risk is still a consideration but, importantly, you have to see what costs and benefits are available to the company and how this is balanced with the risk of a course of action. This might seem like a subtle change, but in terms of your overall thinking this is actually a big difference. Only when you do this will you earn the trust of commercial colleagues’. Hussen is at the forefront of technological advancement both in the legal team and the company as a whole, and is a keen exponent of the business opportunities that this can create. ‘The gig economy has massively changed how we can deliver food to people and is one area that the team and I have been able to bring ideas and opportunities to the table for the company. Within the team, in terms of due diligence, technology automates this process very successfully, which allows the team more resources to do higher level legal work of more strategic value to the company’, says Hussen.
The head of legal and compliance for ARA Private funds at ARA Asset Management, Mark Hwang considers himself extremely fortunate to be part of a ‘high calibre and driven team’, which ‘regularly overcomes seemingly impossible challenges’. He sees the tasks of motivating his team to have confidence in its own abilities and to take full ownership of its work to be a key part of his job, and always tries to pass on the important lessons he received during the course of a varied and highly successful legal career spanning over two decades. Beginning his career as a deputy public prosecutor and state counsel for the Attorney General’s Chambers of the Criminal Justice Division of Singapore in 1996, he then moved on to a highly rewarding period in private practice, during which he operated as a partner for Allen & Gledhill of Singapore in their financial services division and a senior associate with the corporate department of Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker in Hong Kong. From there, he moved into investment banking with Morgan Stanley and then in-house legal work and business development with a family office before taking on his current role in March 2017. He has been extremely busy in terms of project work ever since, including numerous property acquisitions and disposals across Asia Pacific and the ongoing fund-raise for ARA Private Fund’s latest iteration of its commingled value-add fund, which is targeting up to US$1bn of commitments. These are the most recent chapters in a highly eventful career that has allowed Hwang the opportunity to reflect on what makes a good in-house counsel. ‘An in-house counsel’s work is 80% about practicing the law and 20% about “Others”. For me, the latter includes things like proffering wise counsel, conducting oneself with integrity, having commercial awareness, and sharing a belief in the organisation’s mission. That 20% to me is dispositive of the success and enjoyment of one’s career as in-house counsel’, he concludes.
The first individual to take on the Asia Pacific employment counsel position at Facebook, Johanna Johnson has ‘made the role her own through deftly balancing the need for sound employment law advice with Facebook’s culture of “moving fast’”, according to nominating sources. ‘She is affable, fair and universally well-liked amongst her colleagues and external counsel’, the source continues. Johnson is just as enthusiastic about her own position: ‘Starting a function in a region for a public-facing, fast moving, growing company has been both a fabulous opportunity as well as incredibly challenging. Asia Pacific is a disparate, complex region, and it has been satisfying to embrace the legal and cultural diversity at the same time as finding clear paths so that we can continue to grow and scale. I’ve become better at fighting fires and playing whack-a-mole across a region, but I’ve also learnt to pay attention to what is important and not just urgent. The role has also given me a wonderful insight into the legal, political and cultural landscape of so many countries across the region, including how these interplay with other regions’. She has been very effective in rationalising and up-skilling her team in order to take charge of the myriad responsibilities it faces. ‘I’ve made a deliberate effort to invest in training in the region. I spend a huge amount of time traveling out to our various offices to deliver training in person as I believe it is more effective, builds trust in my function, and demonstrates how seriously the company takes issues such as sexual harassment and discrimination’, she says. ‘I’ve also helped build the employment law function in the region and made it a valued in-region specialty that provides trusted, strategic advice to human resources, employee relations, HR investigations, people operations, recruiting and the broader business functions. Facebook has enjoyed tremendous growth over the last few years and I’ve done a lot of ground work to support this growth and allow the company to scale in individual countries’.
An in-house lawyer for over 30 years, Wallaya Kaewrungruang is one of the most well-known and successful in-house lawyers in Southeast Asia and is head of The Siam Commercial Bank (SCB)’s legal function, the largest legal team among financial institutions in Thailand comprising 263 lawyers overall. Kaewrungruang believes that this is ‘the most challenging position’ she has experienced in her career, ‘since [she is] responsible for the legal, compliance, and fraud functions’. Her prior roles very much inform her current strategies at SCB, and she benefits from the variety of positions she has held up to this point: ‘My career extends beyond my primary role as a chief legal and control officer at a major private financial institution to educational institutions and governmental sectors, and I would say that it is these roles taken together that have moulded me as a legal professional’. They have allowed her to build the formidable skillset which allows her to tackle the major transformation that is underway at SCB. ‘The field of banking is changing rapidly’, she explains. ‘SCB is leading the digital banking revolution in Southeast Asia with new inventions to support digital banking and investment services which are currently expanding widely in Thailand’. New technologies are also transforming the way Kaewrungruang’s legal team accomplishes its goals: ‘Technology is similarly changing the nature of legal practice, and to this end I have formed a new digital law division within our legal function, and instituted training programs for lawyers in my department and supporting divisions to be fully equipped with knowledge of technology law’. Speaking generally about what makes a great in-house counsel, Kaewrungruang says, ‘successful in-house lawyers should always set a golden rule that they will balance doing business with minimising legal risk in order to reach successful business goals. If your business is successful, so are you’.
Ang Kai Hsiang currently takes on an extremely broad role with eBay, with the legal directorship role for not only Southeast Asia but Israel, Japan and India as well. His career path up to this point has provided him with fantastic groundwork for this; an extremely successful spell with Bird & Bird, including taking part in several landmark intellectual property disputes before the Singapore Court of Appeal, followed by a period with Baker McKenzie before his move in-house. Kai Hsiang is highly enthusiastic about his current role. ‘The sheer variety I experience is a particular highlight’, he says. ‘I wear multiple hats, deal with different areas of the law, and am exposed to multiple markets and jurisdictions, often within the same day. This makes me a better legal practitioner as it gives me depth in many different areas, rather than being pigeon-holed into a very specific practice’. He is thoroughly on-board with the eBay corporate outlook and company culture, a major boon to his collaboration within the company: ‘The chance to operate in a variety of roles at a socially responsible and innovative company is another highlight. eBay, as a true marketplace, supports small and medium sized businesses and allows our users (no matter how small) to sell to an international market. I take pride in working for a company that has a positive effect on society’.
In place at the company since September 2010, Jasbender Kaur is not only chief counsel and corporate services officer at Manulife Holdings, but also senior vice president and corporate vice president of the company. This gives her a wide range of responsibilities which have included human resources and operations lead roles intermittently, emphasising her adaptability and versatility. ‘Among the highlights of Kaur’s work in the past 12 months is the successful establishment of Manulife Holdings’s (Manulife Malaysia) Labuan insurance entity in 2017’, nominating sources reported. They continued: ‘She was recognised as having led her legal team on extensive research and navigated through a complex mixture of internal and external approvals and regulatory applications, finally resulting in the establishment and successful licensing of the entity. The journey took over 18 months to come to fruition, and was internally recognised as a success that could not have been achieved without her contribution’.
When discussing his career, it is clear that Oliver Khaw has enjoyed an extremely rewarding experience virtually throughout the almost 22 years he has had as a lawyer. ‘I don’t think I can narrow down to particular any highlights. I am where I am today because of the challenges that I have faced over the past 20 odd years both in private practice and in-house. Every single moment is a learning experience that shapes the way I view challenges, whether these changes are drastic or subtle’. In terms of the general lessons he has taken on board that have moulded him into a successful senior lawyer, he is able to provide some key insight: ‘The key changes that have made me who I am today as an effective legal professional can however be narrowed down to the removal of emotion from key legal decision making process which allows due consideration of all factors, effective communication that strips away distraction, and never betraying the trust that has been given to me’. Khaw’s tenure with coal producer PT Bayan Resources Tbk stretches back to late 2008, and he has enjoyed a large number of notable successes in the period since. Just some of these include the acquisition of nine coal mining companies in Indonesia and the injection of those companies into an ASX-listed public company resulting in a takeover of that public company, and working on the first case to be heard by the newly minted Singapore International Commercial Court defending Bayan against a claim of contractual breach.
Boren Kork has enjoyed professional growth and a precipitous rise through her career path in ANZ Royal Bank (Cambodia), first joining in June 2012 as a middle-ranked manager in the lending operations department, moving to the legal department in April 2016 and being made head of legal and company secretary four months later. Now head of legal and compliance, Kork describes her role as ‘leading the team to manage legal risk, regulatory compliance, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance and economic and trade sanction programs, and also being the company secretary coordinating corporate affairs in interaction with the board of directors of the bank’. ANZ announced the sale of its 55% stake in ANZ Royal Bank (Cambodia) to the Japanese J Trust Company in May 2018, which Kork has played a major role in streamlining: ‘I have been involved in the share sale transaction of the Bank and leading legal and regulatory work-stream of the separation project’. She has also enacted a major expansion of the capabilities of the legal department, ‘transforming the legal team’ in the process. ‘The team is now recognised as responsive, proactive, approachable, communicating, knowledge-sharing, and innovative in our advice and solutions provided to the business’, she says. ‘I have also built legal capacity and knowledge across the Bank, and have uplifted the Bank’s engagement with employees and community, through my leadership and active participation in the corporate social responsibility activities of the Bank’.
Formerly a Herbert Smith Freehills lawyer based out of Melbourne, Rohit Kumar joined UPL in 2010 and was made the company’s global general counsel in 2014, having successfully leveraged the corporate commercial and transactional legal expertise built up over his private practice career in an in-house setting. When discussing this, he lays out some of the key components to achieving this: ‘First and foremost, the understanding that you have to give commercially relevant legal advice and not a pure play legal advice; secondly, communication with certain key stake holders are very important; and thirdly, being updated on topics of interest at all times’. Kumar’s marshalling of the legal team, emphasis on use of new technologies in its standard operational procedures and empowering of other legal team members to take responsibility for decisions has made his team a highly versatile but cohesive unit. As such, it has had notable success of late. ‘We have worked on several large IP related litigations which were important litigations for the company’, Kumar says. ‘In terms of M&A, we recently announced the acquisition of a large US-based company for US$4.2bn’.
Joining Mapletree in 2009 when it was a fledgling real estate developer and capital management firm with S$10bn of assets under management, Wan Kwong Weng has seen the company grown massively in the years since. Three IPOs and significant expansion into the Australian, European and US markets later, the company now has S$46bn and six private funds. ‘It has been an exhilarating journey’, he says when recalling the company’s expansion, ‘to work across platforms with dedicated and visionary real estate practitioners’. This period also saw Weng’s professional abilities grow exponentially with the company, and he goes into just some of the lessons she has learned with Mapletree: ‘First, in private fund syndication, I learnt quickly on cross-jurisdictional selling restrictions. Second, I learnt to lean on the strengths of team members and activate cross-disciplinary skills. Third, staying focus is key. As group general counsel, I manage a team of dedicated corporate in-house lawyers, compliance colleagues and other supporting roles like corporate secretariat and corporate communications. We work together and let the results speak for themselves’. Weng is looking forward to the future attentively, and believes the company has an extremely positive future: ‘Mapletree has grown from strength to strength with a strong profit after tax and minority interests, and I am looking forward to our next phase of growth’. Weng has worked on a large acquisition of a mixed-use complex in Ho Chi Minh City in 2016 and has helped create a footprint of over 40 logistics greenfield warehouses project in China.
Ayala Corporation’s energy subsidiary AC Energy completed a major milestone in January 2019 with the announcement that it had raised US$225m worth of green bonds, a first for the company that will give it a much greater strategic flexibility in the future. Dodjie Lagazo is legal head for the company and boasts a raft of experience with Ayala Corporation companies, having been with them since 2007. He took on the group head of legal and regulatory role with AC Energy at the start of 2015 and has been a key fixture of the company since, being regarded extremely highly by nominating sources.
General counsel of the StarHub Group since 2004 and chief corporate officer of the company since October 2018, with an expansion of her portfolio beyond a legal role to include regulatory, corporate communications, investor relations and sustainability, Veronica Lai regards her work on the StarHub IPO as among her main career highlights. ‘It was highly complex and involved five shareholders in a vendor sale’, she says. ‘The IPO was a commercial success and the largest in the year it was launched’. In addition, she worked on the setting up and launch of StarHub’s US$2bn multi-currency medium term note (‘a milestone transaction for the group’, she says) and the Ensign InfoSecurity Singapore joint venture with Temasek Holdings which formed one of the largest flagship pure-play cyber security company in Asia in 2018, to name just a few other notable transactions Lai has had a major role in. Technological innovation has been key to the development of Lai’s legal function, as she explains: ‘From going paperless to adopting the use of portals to securely share and deposit information, we are open to using technology to improve efficiency and reduce margin of human error. Technology has also changed the way our business is conducted across all business lines’. Her and her team’s efforts to safeguard the company’s intellectual property have been extremely effective. ‘We have seen successful litigation in the anti-piracy space in the last two years, with the Courts validating dynamic hopping of pirate sites under the legislation. This is a significant win for the media industry. We continue to push the boundaries in an on-going criminal prosecution against sellers of illicit android TV boxes that facilitate access to pirated content’, she explains.
Responsible both for DXC Technology’s Asia legal team and its worldwide transactions, governance, IP and technology team, Paul Lanzone has many opportunities to demonstrate his significant legal and business talent, honed through a number of senior in-house legal positions. In addition to an interim role as general counsel of Virgin Mobile Australia, Lanzone has operated as executive director of legal for UBS Investment Bank UK, managing counsel for Australia and New Zealand at HP and vice president and associate general counsel for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Singapore before beginning his current role in April 2017. When picking particular highlights of his career, the range of achievements he recalls provides an insight into why he is regarded as among the leading lights of the Southeast Asian in-house legal scene: ‘Running legal change in London for UBS Investment Bank globally was a particular highlight. Being at the intersection of law and change management running 12 major projects for the Bank over four years taught me the power of change and the need for people, process and technology improvements for in-house legal departments in support of the business. Similarly, my work on the development of DXC’s FastTrack legal principles and modular contract, which recently won the global International Association for Contract and Commercial Management 2018 Innovation Award for Operational Improvement, is a project I am particularly proud of being part of. Finally, I would mention my role in the development of BriefBox as a general counsel department management tool. In this, we designed and built the first true whole of department management legal tool for general counsel. There is a lot of hype around shiny legal tech right now but it’s a lot harder to figure out the minimum number of tools able to provide the maximum utility for your legal department’. Alongside these technological innovations, Lanzone has been proactive in developing the internal processes and techniques used by the individuals within his teams. As well as the development of standard forms within the transactions team, he has designed new processes and running approvals of parent company guarantees and bank guarantees within the governance team and has been instrumental in the adoption of new tools as part of his role as chair of the technology committee. Lanzone mentions that he considers the success he has enjoyed throughout his career has been helped immensely by strong mentors and those around him, with his current position being no different: ‘All of this work hasn’t been done single-handedly, it has involved a great team of talented people I’m proud to work with. We are very excited about the next phase. There is so much to do!’
A highly respected and well known senior in-house lawyer within the region as well as one of the most experienced, Lijim Lau’s extremely successful in-house legal career began in 1996 when he was made primary legal counsel for Asia Pacific at Warner Brothers in Hong Kong. Practicing here for three-and-a-half years, he then moved to Applied Materials in California between 2000 and 2010 and Shanghai between 2010 and 2014, eventually being responsible for the company’s worldwide commercial contracts including approximately US$10bn annual sales. His career with Levi Strauss & Co. in Singapore, beginning in 2014, has met with similar success and provides the basis for Lau’s nomination.
Sabine d’Angély Lavail has been making waves in the Total legal department for over a decade, originally joining the oil “supermajor” in 2006. Formerly head of the management and development department for over five years, a major expansion of her responsibilities came in August 2018 when she was made head of legal for the company’s Asia Pacific and the Middle East marketing and services branch. Since then, she has come to the attention of nominating sources as a major force among in-house counsel in Southeast Asia who stressed her legal knowledge and commercial and business acumen, which combine to make her a major asset to Total.
Ping Lee joined Control Risks Group in 2017 after an approximately seven-year stint with aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation, and more than five years with Air Liquide’s subsidiary, Air Liquide Singapore. At the latter, Lee was the first in-house counsel since the 1980s to operate with the company and this role meant ‘having to set up contractual templates, precedents and so on from scratch. I also had to learn how to educate colleagues and learn how to prioritise’. Lee has also sought to provide something of a legal education to other members of the business, allowing the legal team itself to focus on other strategic matters: ‘We are trying to train colleagues as much as possible to understand non-disclosure agreements so that they are equipped to review such agreements. We are also trying to be more cohesive as a global team and hence all legal requests to review documents are sent to a central global email address so that we ensure that work can be prioritised accordingly.’
Formerly an in-house counsel for Kellogg and Nestlé Australia, Christopher Lee first joined Schneider Electric in 2006 as general counsel and company secretary for Schneider Electric Australia. Now deputy general counsel of the Schneider Electric Group and regional general counsel and compliance officer for Asia-Pacific, he takes on an extremely high level of responsibility and a correspondingly complex workload that puts him among the elite of the Southeast Asian in-house legal community. His creation and expansion of his team of lawyers has had a major positive impact on his own professional growth, and ranks as a major success for him: ‘Creating the Asia Pacific legal team for Schneider from a disparate group of five lawyers prior to 2009 to a fully integrated legal department of 26 lawyers and company secretary specialists based in eight locations which today support operations in approximately 26 countries as trusted business partners is a particular highlight of my career’. When discussing specific project work, Lee mentions ‘successfully negotiating a significant global outsourcing contract of significant value and duration’ for Schneider as another highlight. ‘The negotiations themselves required numerous rounds of negotiations in Brussels and Paris over a period of over nine months while activating projects team located in Europe and Asia across our various organisations. The approach from our Schneider team highlights the power of strong collaboration within our organisation despite geographical and time zone challenges’, Lee says. He also provides further examples of high-value deals that he and his team have been responsible for in the company’s recent history: ‘Over the last three years, I and my team have managed the integration of Schneider’s numerous global acquisitions including Invensys (US$5.2bn), ASCO (US$1.25bn), and we are currently working on the acquisition in India of the EAC assets of Larson & Toubro. In addition, we have had numerous other smaller M&A transactions within the Asia Pacific region to support from time to time, including the buy-out of the minority promoter in the Indian business of Luminous’. Lee’s combination of senior experience, his excellent work on the construction of his legal team and the long list of successful projects supported mark him out as one of the leading lights of the Southeast Asian in-house legal community.
A historic Malaysian company founded in 1965, Genting Group is one of the largest companies headquartered in the country and has a diverse portfolio based around hotels, leisure, gambling and energy. It has provided an extremely fertile base for senior vice president for legal Goh Lee Sian to prove her extremely impressive legal expertise since originally taking on a role with the company a number of years ago. Prior to her role with Genting she was a member of the in-house legal team of Maxis Communications.
Henry Leong has been a major force among GE’s sizeable in-house legal organisation since 2005, originally taking on a general counsel position with the corporation in 2012 with GE Power and Water. Now Asia Pacific general counsel for GE Gas Power Systems and Power Services, Leong has been dealing with complex litigations, anti-corruption matters and sanctions issues of late. In his opinion, the opportunity to build a diverse and multi-disciplinary legal team that has versatility to deal with a range of complex issues has been a particularly enjoyable experience. ‘Hiring people from across the region and creating opportunities for them to build careers in a complex and fast growing business in Asia Pacific has been a particular career highlight’, he says. He considers his embedding of compliance efforts within his function as among his main achievements as well, and one of the most dramatic changes he has made to the department since taking over. ‘Compliance in all aspects of the business has never been more important and relevant. Lawyers armed with their legal expertise and business acumen allow them to be great advocates for improving compliance at every level of a business, and this is now a key component of our legal responsibilities’, he states.
Joining in 2017, Banyan Tree Holdings’ general counsel Alex Liam is in charge of a legal department with global coverage across 28 countries and an estimated 11,000 employees, 48 hotels and 70 spas. The portfolio he manages is a challenging one, encompassing all major corporate transactions, intellectual property, data protection and litigation and dispute resolution. In the course of his legal career, Liam has developed a versatile and unique skillset. ‘My current position requires someone to be a reasonably competent adviser in multiple areas of law and not just one’, he explains. ‘Also, I often have to tackle problems that may involve both legal and extra-legal aspects. The focus is always about finding the balance between protecting the business and positioning it to grow’. From a transactional perspective, Liam has been deeply involved in spearheading a number of successful transactions, including a ‘sale of stake in an asset company in China for S$80m, a S$100m tender offer for a Thai subsidiary and a S$93m property sale in the Seychelles’. He has also been proactive at developing the legal awareness and resources of the company’s staff as a whole: ‘Besides the encouragement of technological innovation and professional development within the team, I have also introduced new standard operating procedures, issued alerts to hotel staff on common legal issues, ensured legal input is made a requirement on all major decisions and transactions and developed template agreements for internal use’. These achievements and more have been recognised, with Liam receiving a number of awards for his excellent work from the legal press. In his free time, he is also an active pro bono lawyer at legal clinics and serves on various committees of the Law Society of Singapore.
‘Being involved in complex cross border transactions have sharpened my focus as a legal professional in that transactions are not merely a matter of legalities but require knowledge and understanding of the interplay of disciplines such as finance, human resources and operations of a business. I have learnt to appreciate the value add brought to the team by these professionals’, says Bernard Liew, associate general counsel of Aveva Group and an in-house legal specialist in the information technology sector, having had prior senior experience with Flextronics where he led a team of ‘top-notch legal professionals of various post-qualification experiences ranging from eight to 15 years’. He provides an example of the work he did to improve the abilities of his team here: ‘At Flextronics, I created a database that contained the regulatory and necessary information of some 300 subsidiaries in the Asia Pacific region. This allowed easy and quick access to information to the legal team as well as finance during audit periods. I also created a template for use by HR setting out the requirements of disciplining and dismissing employees in China and was later expanded to other jurisdictions in Asia Pacific’. On the role of the general counsel, Liew believes that a more generalist approach is required by those looking to achieve greatness in the profession. ‘The role of the general counsel has evolved from a legal watchdog to one who is a business partner to the business’, he says. ‘I believe to be a successful general counsel, one has to be trusted by the business, versatile and have the ability to enable the business whilst at the same time providing a first in class professional, ethical and on-time service to the company’.
Eunice Lim is responsible for legal and compliance across Southeast Asia, emerging Asia Pacific and the prestige luxury business at Diageo. Formerly a government lawyer and deputy public prosecutor with the Singapore Legal Service and the attorney-general’s chambers, she has extensive experience working with multidisciplinary teams of government ministries, public agencies and investigators on international law, regulatory and enforcement. Lim has broad expertise in sectors including consumer goods, luxury, retail, procurement, logistics, technology, manufacturing and construction; and regional and international experience including the US, the UK, Hong Kong, China, Southeast Asia and emerging Asia Pacific markets. Lim constantly seeks to drive achievement of her business’ strategic goals and make a valuable contribution to its long-term, sustainable success. ‘I deliver excellence to the business through my legal function. I also thoroughly enjoy my role which is to foresee and assess legal, reputational, operational and strategic risks across multiple areas of law, industry and the economy’, she explains. An enthusiastic legal professional who enjoys volunteering work and regularly contributes to the improvement of the legal community through speaking engagements, Lim is clear on the advice she would give aspiring lawyers: ‘Love our craft, your work and the people in your life; set your intention to be a person of substance, honour and compassion’.
Having been with Heineken since 2001, Geraldine Lim reflects on the journey she has made along with the company in this period. It is fair to say her role has – unsurprisingly – changed markedly during this time: ‘When I first went in-house, the company was small enough to give me a mixed role which meant I had first-hand experience running internal audit, tenders and even a customer survey project. This was a real eye opener that legal is only a small part of the equation and this helped shaped my transition to an in-house career from an external counsel. Being part of a growth company subsequently, investing and expanding to various countries in the region allowed me to see how different and yet the same we all are including the universal laws that apply’. The current legal function which Lim heads is a forward-thinking and highly efficient business partner to the company that seeks to utilise any competitive edge available to it, as Lim explains: ‘We have entered into the digital age. The speed of innovation and change in the market has not been seen before. Heineken counsel are expected to really understand what drives the business and operate side by side with our colleagues to achieve Heineken’s ambition together. This also means keeping pace through personal development with changes in the law for e commerce and innovations made by the company; the team is encouraged to step out of the comfort of the legal-only zone and step into the shoes of the client. This makes the Heineken counsel more relevant and insightful in their advice, and is notably appreciated by the business’.
The Takeda Pharmaceuticals area legal head for Asia Pacific position was created in 2015, and was filled by Berenice Lim shortly afterwards. Upon taking over, Lim got to work ‘shaping the organisational culture through policy and standard operating procedure changes and supporting the transformation of Takeda from primary care provider to a leading innovative pharmaceutical company’. This journey, she says, ‘highlights the importance of agility and resilience’, as well as the role that ‘courage, fairness and kindness’ plays among leaders when constructing a new legal function. Lim’s newly-created team was active quickly, most recently supporting merger filings across multiple jurisdictions, particularly with the acquisition of Shire and various other integration work-streams. ‘The team’s first four initiatives established a lean and agile legal department equipped to provide quality and efficient legal support during transformational changes across the company’, Lim recalls. Since then, Lim believes that perhaps the most important transactions the team has been involved with have been supporting Takeda’s Access To Medicines initiatives from 2016 through to 2018, which have led to the company Takeda jumping ten places in 2018 on the Access To Medicine Index to rank fifth.
Lynette Lim has had a profound effect on the legal department that she has taken over since joining hotel giant Hilton over a decade ago: ‘When I joined Hilton in 2006, the then Asia Pacific legal team was only three-person strong. Since then, I have grown the department from strength to strength, both in terms of size and our internal branding. By 2019, the Hilton Asia Pacific legal team will be made up of 18 lawyers and legal professionals. The size of our legal team grows in tandem with the reputation and respect that the legal department enjoy within the Hilton organisation. Our involvement and strategic counselling are highly sought after by our business units, as we are seen to be critical to their success and our phenomenal business growth’. Lim’s time with the company has seen her being responsible for Hilton’s legal affairs around the globe, notably at its Middle East Africa headquarters in Dubai and at the global headquarters in the US – where she took charge of the Americas development and real estate division of Hilton legal department, and being responsible for a headcount of over 40 people. Currently based in Singapore as head of legal for the entirety of Asia Pacific, a key market for the company, Lim also takes on significant global and strategic responsibilities, being part of the Hilton global senior leadership group and the Hilton Asia Pacific executive committee.
Ginney Lim heads the secretariat and legal division and oversees the corporate communications and corporate social responsibility division of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). She concurrently holds the position of general manager of SPH Foundation, an Institution of Public Character established in 2003 by SPH. Upon joining SPH, Lim was tasked with setting up the company’s new secretariat and legal division, and is now ultimately responsible for the corporate secretarial, legal, insurance and corporate communications functions in the SPH Group. She also sits on several steering and senior management committees and holds a number of directorships which point to the esteem in which her business expertise is held in addition to her legal experience.
‘Every day at BT, an active player in the fast-moving ICT industry, brings new challenges that urgently need resolving and I spend most of my time finding innovative and proactive solutions to advance the business’, Maniko Lim, now the company’s head of legal for Southeast Asia and Japan, explains. She relishes this challenge, however, and mentions challenges she faces at BT as a particular career highlight. Alongside this, she counts the network of associates she has built up as another major positive, and one that has been hugely beneficial to her career and achievements: ‘Whether or not you believe in luck, I believe there is something to be said for meeting the right people, being in the right place at the right time which has helped me to find a good match for my experience and legal skills. Information on opportunities are usually through word of mouth from your network of personal and business relationships. I was very fortunate to meet wonderful people in various countries and workplaces who motivated me, provided me with professional inspiration and friendship. They know me and my abilities and my achievements and are willing to advocate for opportunities for me. They have helped me end up doing what I enjoy now’. This highly attuned attitude towards interpersonal matters has allowed Lim to craft a collaborative working style that has been extremely effective. This also manifests itself in her extra-curricular activities and championing of philanthropic causes. ‘Among the many highlights of my career’, she says, ’I am personally proud to have served as a board member for Justice Without Borders (JWB) in 2016 and continue to be involved in successful and profitable fundraising events for JWB. JWB empowers migrant workers who are victims of labour exploitation and human trafficking to seek compensation from their abusers, even after returning home’.
Beginning her current employment with Canon Singapore in 2009, prior to which, she was with Drew & Napier, Janette Loh can look back on a remarkable record of success in her 10 years with Canon. ‘My key highlight would be growing the company’s legal function from a two to a nine member Singapore team spanning three functions (legal, intellectual property and product regulatory) that works closely with a wider group of over 20 counsel based in other jurisdictions’, she says. ‘Other significant contributions include being a key negotiator in the Canon Asia Marketing Group’s first acquisition as well as developing an in-house contract management system for the region. I believe in leveraging technology to harness greater efficiencies. We have embarked on a three-year road map for implementing a series of platforms that will help our region strengthen compliance and knowledge infrastructure as well as enhance productivity’. Entrusting her team members with a strong sense of ownership in their roles as strategic business advisors has helped her draw out the best in her staff and reinforce the value legal brings to the business. ‘I expect my team to be able to perform both frontline and gatekeeper duties well. “Delighting you always” is a tagline synonymous with Canon. This mind-set is also important internally. At the frontline, each member is constantly encouraged and expected to provide quality services, add commercial value and know the customer (both internal and external) well. The team should also be professionally ready at all times for new markets and growth and continue embracing rapidly developing technology’. Loh also believes strongly in sharing best practices and optimising resources and has led a number of initiatives to increase cross leveraging of resources across the Group.
Group legal counsel for The Gold Coin Group, Xae Hoyy Loh was responsible for building the in-house team at the company from scratch and consolidating all legal work from the local offices to a centralised legal department in Singapore. This process involved streamlining reporting structures and policies and also the management of external counsel. More recently, Xae Hoyy and his team have been at the forefront of a number of projects to support business expansion throughout the region, including the acquisition of facilities in Vietnam and the Philippines. Being a multi-linguist, Xae Hoyy has been instrumental in managing complex legal issues in all the jurisdictions which The Gold Coin Group operates in. He began his career in-house with Accenture Malaysia as a commercial and contract manager specialising on commercial, services, outsourcing and IT projects before moving to Malaysian law firm Chooi & Company. It was here that he cultivated his skillset in corporate and commercial law with a particular focus on joint ventures, franchise, insurance, information technology and regulatory compliance across various industries and commercial and corporate advisory.
"A successful private practice career saw Cassie Low initially operate at Drew & Napier before joining Ince & Co in 2009, where she blazed a highly successful trail in the international trade and shipping space. Leaving private practice in 2013 to join Anglo American, Low, based in the Singapore office, was responsible for oversight of day-to-day marketing activities and provided strategic and tactical legal advice on key initiatives and projects critical to Anglo American’s marketing business portfolio. She also took on overall responsibility for the legal team in Singapore. In 2018, the latest chapter of her career began with her move to Hartree Partners where she is at the forefront of its Asia Pacific activities and where she has made a strong impression in a short space of time. Recalling her career so far, particular highlights that stand out when discussing Low’s main successes include leading and advising on the set up of Anglo American’s financial and physical trading desks in Singapore and London, the establishment of Anglo American’s office in Shanghai, and taking on the challenges of managing and supervising a team of lawyers based in Singapore and London. For Low, these experiences have cultivated ‘a deeper understanding of the commercial drivers and mentality behind a company’s trading activities’, ‘abilities to navigate legal and practical complexities in challenging jurisdictions’ and ‘soft skills in the sphere of leadership and management’, all of which have been instrumental, and continue to be crucial, to her ability to operate successfully in an in-house environment in tandem with the business which she acts for. "
Sai Choy Low is an experienced Cambridge-trained lawyer. Prior to joining Far East Organization, Low was vice president legal for Singapore Airlines from 2001 to 2006 and senior vice president legal and company secretary of CapitaLand from 2006 to 2013, both extremely prestigious positions that have furnished him with a formidable reputation as one of the most impressive individuals in the Southeast Asian in-house legal community. At the former, Low was involved in a highly eventful time for the company in the wake of the new operating conditions for airlines following the Global War on Terrorism, SARS and the introduction into service of the first A380 aircraft. At CapitaLand, Low was in charge of ‘galvanising a team of more than 150 legal and corporate secretariat professionals in CapitaLand’s offices worldwide’. Low is now installed in Singapore’s largest private developer, Far East Organization, where he has honed the legal team ‘to propel the company’s investments overseas’. Low highlights just some of the most prominent transactions he has been involved in in recent years. ‘Overseas major recent acquisitions and developments include Pinners Hall in London, Westin Hotel in Sydney and Moxy Hotel in Osaka’, he says. ‘In Singapore some of our major buys have included the Holland Road site, Chancery Court and Le Meridian Hotel Sentosa’. A major name among Singapore’s general counsels, Low has also been recognised through a bevy of plaudits and awards from industry pundits, including a number naming him the best-in-class in-house lawyer in his field.
Theresa Low’s appointment as general counsel and company secretary of the Sentosa Development Corporation Group of Companies comes after successful in-house periods with Dairy Farm International Holdings’ South Asia office and Burger King’s Asia Pacific office. In all her roles, she has been tasked with a vast array of complex strategic issues in different areas of law where she has demonstrated not just sound legal knowledge but also business savvy and practicality. She has been described as a very dynamic individual who is passionate about her role and rises to the challenge of doing more with less. One key highlight for her as corporate counsel was being cross examined on the stand for two days for a litigation matter: ‘It was quite unforgettable to be on the opposite side of the fence and being grilled by opposing counsel. The experience taught me the importance of archiving material information and also understanding the in-depth workings of the organisation. In-house legal work is getting more challenging as we are now expected to not only provide legal advice but as part of senior management, we also need to be commercial minded and find the legal solutions to complex issues. Other than education, which includes e-training, we have also created templates and checklists for our internal clients to maximise work efficiencies. I often remind my team to not just be lawyers but to truly understand the transactions and provide value-add, where possible’.
Joining Lloyd’s Register in 2009 after a period in private practice with Norton Rose and Clyde & Co, Iain MacDonald was transferred to Dubai in 2012 in order to set up a number of regional entities. During the course of five years in the Middle East, he became area general manager for the Middle East and Africa, then general counsel for South Asia, the Middle East and Africa and finally general counsel for the whole of Asia in 2017, at which point he moved to Singapore. He has been heavily involved throughout recent years in increasing the efficacy of the Lloyd’s Register legal team around the world. ‘I have been leading a customer journey exercise in which the global legal team has been seeking feedback from colleagues in the business about what we are doing well, and areas for potential development’, he explains, ‘to ensure that the service we provide is aligned with the needs of the business. This has resulted in the global legal team rolling out initiatives to enhance the customer experience. For example, a particular focus initially has been on the induction process for all employees, and on using this as a forum in which to spread the word about who we are, what we cover, and how we can add value’. When discussing the most salient transactions he has been involved in over the course of his career, it is clear that MacDonald is no stranger to complex project work: ‘I was heavily involved in negotiating the legal aspects of a major contract with an Algerian client where there were a number of complicating factors, including reviewing the original wording in French, and needing to obtain approval from the board. For litigation, I assisted the group head of dispute resolution in a Court of Cassation case brought against Lloyd’s Register in Kuwait, in which we successfully defended a claim brought by a ship-owner by arguing that the principles set out in the two key cases of “Nicholas H” and “Morning Watch” should apply. I have also led, or been heavily involved in, creating various legal entities and joint ventures in the Middle East, Africa and China, each of which essentially provide the platform for growth in those areas’.
An international lawyer who understands the intricacies of legal functions at a multinational companies who has the experience to provide mitigating, practically workable solutions to the business while remaining within the realms of legal compliance, Surabhi Madan joined ASM in 2017 and has made an extremely positive impact ever since. ‘At ASM, the highlight of my tenure so far has been to work as a team for the selection, implementation and assimilation of the use of technology in the legal function’, she says. ‘For a very small team with a myriad of responsibilities across the world, our operations have now been made more accessible and efficient thanks to the use of some of the tools that we introduced. Everything from document creation, negotiation, approval to filing and retrieval is now relatively much easier. While we all know the perks of being technologically-savvy function, what we sometimes ignore is the thorough precision and change management exercises that need to be undertaken to be able to modify behaviour, secure management buy-ins and standardise processes. Achieving this has been my most important accomplishment at ASM so far’. She has also been involved in some major projects on behalf of the company since joining: ‘One of the more important transactions that I have been a part of is the setting up a new establishment which involves everything from purchase of land and construction of the building to facility management, hiring or transfer of employees in compliance with all local legislative and regulatory requirements’. Madan’s in-house legal career prior to ASM has encompassed roles with Xerox and Genpact in Gurgaon, India.
Coming in for particularly high praise from nominating sources in the private practice law community for his excellent work on a number of strategic projects for his company, Kelly Mahood joined BP in January 2011 and moved to the company’s Singapore office in December 2013 as a senior counsel in the eastern hemisphere supply and trading legal team. Successive promotions followed this, firstly to managing counsel in 2015 and then finally managing counsel for supply and trading for the eastern hemisphere and Asian downstream legal team. This highlights the excellent reputation that he has built with BP since joining, on the back of the integral role he has played on a number of major company projects.
Tuyen Mai Xuan’s highly successful career has encompassed a legal directorship position with Masan Group subsidiary Masan Nutri-Science and a period as general counsel of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam – being promoted to this role being a personal career highlight of his – before joining TTC in July 2018. Here, his impact on the legal department of TTC Group has been marked despite the relatively short period of time he has been in the role. ‘I have reorganised the legal department of TTC Group to increase efficiency while cutting costs’, he says. ‘The reorganisation of the legal department includes a downsizing of the team and a re-defining of the responsibilities of legal function to focus more on legal-related matters rather than administrative work’. Transaction work has been busy as well, with Mai Xuan reporting a US$24m wind power project and a US$10m solar power venture with a Thai partner currently being worked on. Mai Xuan’s excellent track record of success in his prior employments – he was honoured as the Excellent and Outstanding Employee of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam for three consecutive years from 2015 to 2017 – as well as the excellent progress he has made in a short time with TTC Group strongly imply he will be a major positive force within the company for years to come.
Driven by her ‘keen interest in aviation’, Jessica Man Hui Sze did not hesitate when she was offered a chance to join AirAsia X (AAX) in May 2017. She then made an immediate positive impression at the company, being made senior legal counsel and taking on the duties of general counsel in February 2018. Now, she advises the senior management of AAX on strategic matters and liaises closely with the board of directors on all subjects related to legal. Man comments on how AirAsia’s philosophy of developing young leadership across the group has encouraged her to hit the ground running and achieve a lot in a short space of time. ‘Within a relatively short time since I made my in-house career debut’, she says, ‘my performance as legal manager was recognised by senior management and I was subsequently given the opportunity to head the legal team of AAX at 30 (as the youngest general counsel in the company and the youngest AirAsia affiliate general counsel across the AirAsia Group)’. Man hopes that this confidence in young leadership championed by AirAsia will resonate with many more corporate players and legal firms. As a disruptor in the long-haul airline market, expansion is a key aim for AAX. Man provides some insight into the expansion in the company’s route network that she has been involved in since taking over: ‘December 2018 saw the first international flight routes into Avalon Airport in Victoria, secured by AAX. As the first international airline to operate into Avalon Airport, I seized the chance to contribute strong advice on infrastructural and system requirements at Avalon Airport to anticipate international traveller traffic and to facilitate the first commercial wide-body aircraft. With my team, I had also helped prepare AAX to be the first low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia to operate scheduled flights into Hawaii in June 2017 when it commenced its flights into Honolulu, Hawaii via Osaka, Japan from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The frequency of this route has now been increased to daily flights in response to increased consumer demand.’
"Over the two-and-a-half years since taking on the role as the group general counsel of GO-JEK, Nathaniel Mangunsong has successfully led the adoption and integration of good corporate governance in GO-JEK, Indonesia’s first “unicorn” company. When discussing about the direct changes he has made in the legal department, Mangunsong mentioned about him prioritising the use of forward-thinking standard operating procedures to ensure internal efficiency. ‘This has been quite challenging given the dynamic nature of a tech start-up but we are able to do so and hence help a lot in reducing the risks in the company’. Mangunsong’s career experience in, among others, numbers of private practices such as Allen & Overy in Singapore, has strengthened his qualities as a credible legal professional who is currently focusing on paving the way for GO-JEK as the Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand multi-service platform company. ‘All of us here at GO-JEK shares the same vision to strive in making impacts, and that spirit is what motivates us to continuously pushes our limits. I really enjoy working with world class talents of GO-JEK in multiple fundraising and acquisition projects that are key in reaching the company’s bigger purpose: making impact at scale’."
Lisa Mather moved into in-house legal work a decade ago and has not looked back, taking on senior roles with Colgate-Palmolive around the world – notably in Sydney, Prague, New York and Hong Kong – before being made vice president and chief international counsel of PayPal in 2017. The cultural and geographical variety she has enjoyed in her roles throughout this time is regarded by her as among the most positive aspects of her career: ‘By far, one of the best things for me personally in having had the opportunity to work in-house internationally, is the wonderful teams of lawyers I have worked with and gotten to know over time all around the world’. She explains her current role allows her to continue feeding this passion, as well as to flex her legal muscles in a demanding role: ‘As vice president and chief international counsel for PayPal, I currently work with an extremely talented and dedicated legal team of over 60 staff, who are based across over 15 different countries all around the world. Working in one of the world’s leading fintech companies, we work in a dynamic industry sector and the business we support touches over 200 jurisdictions. We encounter a very broad range of legal, regulatory and business affairs issues’. Gearing up her team for even greater achievements in the future, Mather explains that she is building even more efficient internal processes. ‘General counsels today are highly accountable for how they manage their legal functions, especially when it comes to measuring factors such as the value they add, ease of doing business, effective talent management and cost management’, she says. ‘For example, we are in the process of introducing 10 core KPIs that we will be using consistently across our function to more accurately measure our effectiveness and drive our continuous improvement, and we have some significant global contract management projects under way, which we have initiated in the second half of 2018’.
Joining the company in 1996 as its first in-house counsel, Anjali Mohan Ramchand has developed an extensive level of knowledge of the company’s operations, and has put her legal and commercial abilities to advance Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation’s strategic interests. Describing how she has improved the legal function in recent years, Ramchand says, ‘I have emphasised the need to not review agreements or transactions in vacuum but to also understand and take into account regulatory requirements and embed these as much as possible into agreements we draft or review. This was done to distinguish our role from that of external counsel and establish the department to be seen as trusted advisers to business units, with a true understanding of the business and ability to give comprehensive guidance not only on terms of a contract but also on laws and regulations applicable to the business’.
Exyte’s modern form has been in operation since August 2018 after a comprehensive reorganisation of its former business entity, M + W Group. Alex Moray has been general counsel of the company since the beginning of 2016 and has been integral to a number of strategic group projects since then. His in-house legal career stretches back to 2012, and encompassed roles with BP and SunEdison before his current position. Prior to this, he practiced privately with Herbert Smith Freehills and Pinsent Masons in associate and senior associate positions respectively.
Saswata Mukherjee has been involved with Unilever since 2002 when he took on a legal manager role with Hindustan Unilever in Kolkata, moving through a number of positions in the intervening years, most recently prior to his current role being a global legal operations director role based in London between 2013 and 2016. Now general counsel for Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and M&A general counsel for Southeast Asia and Australasia, Mukherjee recalls his work on the 2017 joint venture between Unilever and EAC in the ‘newly opened-up and challenging environment of Myanmar’, as among the most interesting projects he has worked on in recent years, alongside his role in the €2.3bn acquisition of Korean skin care brand Carver Korea in the same year. On his time with Unilever, Mukherjee says, ‘In the past 16 years I have worked in over eight roles from supporting factories, procurement, supply chain, sales functions to global projects including competition law, M&A and data protection. Every moment of this experience has been truly enriching and I have learnt both professionally and personally’.
Following a successful private practice career encompassing roles in London, Sydney and Singapore, including a lengthy stretch at Latham & Watkins in Asia (which she joined in 2007), Maree Myerscough transitioned to private practice to work in the renewable energy sector. Myerscough is now general counsel and member of the senior management team for the Asia Pacific region at Conergy, providing legal advice and transaction support for each of the company’s business units within the renewable energy sector. Her impact on the internal processes of the legal team has been impressive. ‘When I joined Conergy in 2016 there was no established legal team in the Asia Pacific region’, she explains. ‘Management’s key focus was to ensure that the in-house legal function translated into lower external legal expenses. My role evolved as our business recognised the value of having someone with legal training and transactional experience offer advice and insights on the various challenges facing our business. Since establishing our legal department, there has been a heightened awareness of the legal risks affecting our business. As our business teams feel supported and comfortable about approaching our department with legal issues that arise (and before they arise), we have been afforded greater visibility as to the commercial issues affecting the business. Such early and commercial insights allow us to better help our business mitigate potential risks, contributing to sustainable growth’. Recently, Conergy was acquired by Macquarie Capital, and Myerscough played a key role in this complex asset purchase transaction which involved multiple jurisdictions. Her excellent performance in this and other projects can be traced back to a collaborative approach bolstered by excellent interpersonal skills. ‘I pride myself on being approachable and listening to understand. My commercial colleagues know that they can count on me to be there with them throughout the entirety of the project, especially when times get tough. I have a wonderful Legal team, and we all work collaboratively together – including with our external counsel, to achieve the best results for our company’, she says.
Doreen Nah has been core component of the China Aviation Oil Singapore team for many years, having originally joined the company’s legal team in 2007, and has played an important role in a large number of critical projects for the company since then. Her exploits over many years have marked her out as a key Southeast Asia in-house counsel for nominating sources, who stressed her legal experience and commercial acumen in their testimonies. Nah’s role as company secretary in addition to her legal responsibilities are evidence of her business abilities and the esteem in which these are held by the company.
Lavin S. Nair joined Juki Singapore as part of his ‘journey to assist companies in their efforts to conduct business in a manner that upholds compliance and the rule of law without undermining the efficacy of its business operations’, evidencing the genuine enthusiasm he feels for in-house legal work and the benefits lawyers can have for companies. ‘The key fundamental principle is always to have the company’s best interests in heart while having its vision and mission in mind’, Nair says. ‘Ever since the legal department in Juki Singapore was created, I have inculcated this principle to all of my team members’. He and his team oversee all legal and risk aspects of the company’s entities in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, East African and South African regions – a demanding a complex workload that provides ample opportunity for Nair to demonstrate his abilities. He mentions just some of the projects that he and the team have been responsible for since taking over: ‘The most important include, but are not limited to, a litigation case in Bangladesh, an the enforcement of IP rights in Malaysia and negotiation with key customers regarding outstanding payments for the company’s products in South Korea and Indonesia’. In terms of personal highlights, Nair mentions being tasked with leading a major M&A project for the company as a particularly fond memory: ‘I was given the opportunity to spearhead the company’s first ever acquisition project of one of our main distributors in Thailand. This task equipped me with instrumental knowledge of cross border M&A, and gave me an understanding of how companies operate in Thailand’.
Responsible for legal, compliance and public policy for the Traveloka Group of Companies worldwide, Dimas Nandaraditya is a key component of the senior management of the company with a major hand in strategic matters. He comes extremely highly regarded by nominating sources. ‘I can vouch for his traits, skills and determination, as well as the fact that he epitomises all the good qualities that a general counsel should have’, one says. Another nominating source pointed to his ‘intellect and wit’, as well as his ability in handling negotiations in which he is always ‘insightful, strategic, and able to predict the next several stages and envisage possible issues or countermoves by other parties’. Nandaraditya leads an approximately 20-strong legal team with Traveloka which consistently achieves success on highly complex legal transactions, including a major corporate restructuring and multiple fundraising rounds.
As general counsel and first executive vice president of Bank of Ayudhya, Phawana Niemloy heads one of the largest legal functions in Southeast Asia, comprising approximately 240 lawyers, and has established a reputation as one of the best in-house counsel in the region due to her excellent performance at her current company with its precursor GE Capital Thailand from 1996. She lists the three main highlights of her career as her collaboration with Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers to secure auto hire purchase portfolio from the Financial Restructuring Authority of Thailand, her prominent role in the deal team for the acquisition of GE Capital Auto Lease Thailand from GE Capital for Bank of Ayudhya in a deal worth US$1.4bn and her position as a crucial team member of the Bank of Ayudhya team which finalised the sale and acquisition of shares between GE Capital and MUFG Bank. In the latter, she explains that she ‘worked with regulators including the Bank of Thailand and the Minister of Finance to facilitate the timely approval of the share acquisition in a deal worth US$5.6bn’. When discussing the broader role of in-house legal departments in general, Niemloy believes that ‘legal should not be a second or third line of defence and should rather be a business partner’. As such, she encourages her team to be as involved as possible in the commercial side of the business and understand its operating mechanisms: ‘Legal challenges the business to involve us from product design and development and work together to get it through regulatory approval as versus being an end-product consultation. By being involved in the product development and regarded as a part of the business team, legal can provide more added legal advice and in most instance, shortens the development process to only products which is possible under regulatory limitations’.
Boasting an extremely detailed understanding of the company’s operations built up over his long-standing in-house career, having originally joined Conoco in 1989, Dagfinn Nygaard is among the most experienced general counsel in the sector. He has been with the company for approximately three decades, barring an approximately two year period from late 2008 when he was an advisor to a private practice firm. As such, he has been integral to most of the company’s major projects in recent years, contributing to a formidable reputation among industry observers. Nominating sources praised Nygaard for his legal and commercial knowledge and organisational skills.
Responsible for all legal matters for Kimberly-Clark Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and its Asia Pacific shared services organisation, Sonia Ong received high praise from nominating sources on the back of her ‘proven capabilities’ in her role despite only being at the company for a relatively short time. Her scope extends to serving as the Asia Pacific lead counsel for the company’s regional privacy initiatives and a number of regional procurement projects, including a recent initiative to produce simplified and standardised procurement contract templates across 13 countries in Asia Pacific, which involved crafting leaner, more business-friendly contracts in English and local languages. The lead role she has taken on these projects clearly highlights the esteem in which her abilities are held by colleagues. Ong has also played a major role towards progressive social change both at Kimberly-Clark and in the wider Southeast Asian legal community: ‘Given my passion for community building, contributing towards social change at the workplace was equally important when I began an in-house career, beyond formal legal responsibilities’. Ong led HPE’s women’s network (MyWomen Connect), Kimberly-Clark’s employee engagement arm (K-C Cares) and now serves as the president of the Malaysian chapter of K-C’s Women’s Interactive Network. Ong says serving in these capacities fulfils a higher purpose and a genuine desire to be a change agent in society. She is a regular fixture at panel events and other speaking engagements focused on diversity initiatives, and looks set to expand her involvement in this space in the future.
Beginning his legal career in the public sector with the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Fisheries and Aquaculture as a legal advisor, Dag Ove Solsvik then took on a role as a judge with a district court in Norway handling both criminal and civil cases. He eventually acted as judge for hundreds of cases, an experience which undoubtedly marks him out as something of a rarity among the in-house legal profession. He first moved to DNV GL’s head offices in Oslo after a period with boutique law firm Kyllingstad Kleveland (now merged into Selmer), and first moved to Shanghai to take on DNV GL Group’s legal operations across the entire Asia Pacific region in 2013. ‘Since I came to Asia Pacific a large part of the job has been to effectively manage changes in the organisation, both within the legal team but also within the larger DNV GL Group as an adviser to many management teams in the region, and I was also lucky to be a more integrated part of some of the regional business teams’, he says. ‘In addition, typical work under my responsibility includes advising the divisional, regional and country management teams on various legal issues such as contracts, claims and litigation, governmental affairs and statutory requirements, restructuring, M&A and other legal issues that arise in day-to-day operations’. The changes he has initiated in the legal team in the region, as well as in the global team, have been many and varied. Solsvik explains that his focus has been on getting the legal team to be more ‘integrated and proactive towards clients in order to be perceived as a business partner rather than only a gatekeeper’. He has also pioneered the establishment and use of DNV GL’s global law firm panel. In doing so, the focus have been based around a robust reporting and data collection programme, which has led to a increase in the efficiency and more control and transparency around DNV GLs use of external law firms. Solsvik has also been extremely active in terms of project work and is seen as a significant contributor on both legal and commercial aspects in various transactions and has, on occasions, been appointed (or de facto acted) as the project manager for M&A projects. The most recent example of completed transactions where Solsvik contributed was the acquisition of shares in the blockchain company VeChain, where DNV GL took a minority ownership position. Solsvik says that; ‘For me this has been a great opportunity to get familiar with new technology and guide the company in an area with many new, different and immature legal challenges but where we see a significant opportunity to strengthen and modernise our current service offering, as well as the potential new services blockchain technology may open for’. In late 2018 Solsvik took a global role in DNV GL, as head of litigation, claims and insurance.
Peradach Patanachan enjoyed an extremely varied career prior to joining B.Grimm Power in 2007, operating in a public sector role with the House of Representatives and the National Legislative Assembly, an in-house position with KPMG Thailand and an eight-year stint in private practice with Clifford Chance Thailand. He has developed a very impressive reputation both in and outside B.Grimm Power in the 12 years since he assumed his first position there, and has been integral to a number of strategic projects for the company. A recent example of this came in December 2018 with the company’s issuance of Thailand’s first-ever certified green bond, which was taken up by ADB and worth US$152m.
International finance lawyer Eugene Phua assumed his current position in 2015 and has primary responsibility for BNP Paribas’s active loan capital markets, real estate and supply chain finance groups in Southeast Asia. This role has proven to be a diverse portfolio within the bank serving the most significant clients in the region. Within BNP Paribas, Phua routinely advises senior bankers and management on complex and time-sensitive transactions in Southeast Asia. Recent headline transactions valued around the US$1bn mark include the November 2018 acquisition financing facility for Semen Indonesia and its wholly-owned subsidiary for the acquisition of 80% Holcim Indonesia (the third-largest cement company in Indonesia) shares, the establishment of a multi-tranche structured limited-recourse facility for an Australian state-owned corporation for the sale and purchase of bullion-related receivables, and the simultaneous one-shot refinancing of OUE Hospitality REIT’s pre-existing facilities provided by three distinct bank syndicates. To meet the demands of increased global banking regulation, Phua now dedicates significant resources coordinating and managing regional and bank-wide initiatives aimed at achieving continued compliance with the EU Capital Requirements Regulations and improving data capture accuracy. In his current position, Phua overhauled the supply chain financing documentation platform and successfully achieved zero-dollar expenditure for external legal advice on Singapore-law matters in 2017, and, in 2018, led an Asia Pacific-wide initiative to create the first-ever regional facility structure for BNP Paribas where customers can reallocate borrowing limits across jurisdictions at will. ‘I believe in setting high standards for delivery, as excellence breeds excellence’, Phua says. ‘Today, we are blessed to receive job applications from some of the most talented lawyers in the region’ he says – a clear testament to the reputation of the legal team for quality work and fostering talent. Prior to his in-house career, Phua’s private practice experience included leading and executing complex financing deals across the region – including Japan – during the course of four years with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Tokyo and a lengthy position with Clifford Chance in Singapore.
Nicholas Poa leads LTA’s legal (public transport and infrastructure) division, which advises LTA across a broad spectrum of areas relating to the construction of public infrastructure, regulation of public transport operators, cross-border rail and general corporate matters. He is an experienced lawyer in transportation and public infrastructure, and started building his portfolio at Lee & Lee, handling construction and land-related matters. Thereafter, he joined Changi Airport Group where he was senior legal counsel and advised on a number of projects such as Terminals four and five. This was one of a number of factors mentioned by nominating sources in putting his name forward. In addition, he has worked on various local and cross-border rail projects and a number of regulatory and compliance matters in the transport industry. Poa has also been teaching at the National University of Singapore’s law faculty since 2014.
Julien Pochet’s 20 years of legal experience includes ten years accumulated at the ENGIE Group, which allows him to display unparalleled knowledge on the ENGIE Group’s history, experiences, aims, and objectives. After completing his academic training, which culminated in a Master in International Politics at the ULB in Brussels, he started his career as an M&A lawyer for top tier international law firms including Allen & Overy and renowned practitioners in Belgium. In 2007 he made the move to in-house legal work by joining the ENGIE Group starting as deputy chief legal officer for Engie Trading in Belgium, subsequently moving to the company’s Chile office in 2011 as general counsel of that country. In 2015, he left Chile for Thailand and assumed the position of regional general counsel and ethics officer of ENGIE Asia Pacific where he continues to achieve excellent results.
Having dedicated the last 20 years to operating as a specialist lawyer within the energy sector, as well as a company director of businesses located within this area, Flavio Porro believes the modern energy general counsel has to amass a wide range of skills around the sector in order to operate at maximum efficiency: ‘It is relevant and worth reporting that to be a general counsel in today’s challenging markets a lawyer should prove to have accrued experience in a law firm, in the upstream market, and in a structured department of a big contractor (or a reputable downstream or utilities company)’. Having assembled a multi-specialised and multicultural team that is fundamentally flexible and able to meet the demanding requirements of KNM Group, Porro is extremely pleased with the team’s performance in support of the company’s objectives. ‘The Group we work for is meeting the same uncertainty of the whole industry’, he says, ‘and the legal department I am driving has been forced to actively assist the company and the Group in good times as well as in bad; that means the working attitude had to change on different occasions between the “development direction” and the “need to protect”, two aspects which sometimes have different requirements. This has affected the company and the Group not only under the profile of the quality of the legal assistance provided but also in terms of being capable to be more and more adaptive and understand the scenario the management is looking into’. A keen networker with finely tuned interpersonal skills, Porro counts ‘the chance I had to set up an impressive network of lawyers and professionals’ as the biggest privilege he has enjoyed in his career.
Possessing an almost unparalleled knowledge and understanding of Maxis Group operations, having served in the company’s legal team for approximately 15 years, Su Puay Leng was made head of the department in 2015. Even before this, she had been a key player in a number of strategic projects for the company, receiving letters of commendation and senior management awards for –among others – the company’s RM 2.45 billion sukuk programme in 2012, its post-IPO funding initiatives of RM5 billion in 2010 and the contract administration for a large number of infrastructure contracts in 2013. Since taking on her current role, this record of success has continued, with Su operating as legal lead for Maxis’ consolidation and integration of four of the company’s wholly-owned operating subsidiaries into Maxis Broadband in 2016 and the private placement of 300m ordinary shares in Maxis which was completed in July 2017 which successfully raised approximately RM1.66bn. ‘The said accomplishments have provided me with a sound understanding of business, operations, compliance and corporate considerations. This has granted me a robust appreciation on their interplay which in in turn allows me to provide sound legal and strategic advice which are both practical and constructive to the business’, Su says. She has also had a major effect on the transformation of the legal team towards one equipped with a more effective and versatile set of capabilities: ‘I subscribe to and am an active advocate of the proposition that lawyers should evolve into a business enabler and partner. As part of this campaign, the traditional approach of lawyers handling specific portfolios was replaced with a convergence regime where lawyers are up-skilled to be “technology neutral” and “full value chain conversant” enabling them to provide legal and strategic advisory plus handle contracts in multiple areas. This convergence of legal work, coupled with the nurturing and development of cross-functional skills among the lawyers, has provided a solid foundation to enable the Legal team to be a reliable and effective business partner in meeting the Maxis Group’s aspirations towards the digitalisation of products and services’.
Described as ‘instrumental to Unilever’s success’ by nominating sources due to her ‘elevation of the role of general counsel from a legal advisor to a trusted and valued business strategy partner’, Cristina Reyes has clearly been a hit with the consumer products titan’s senior management since joining in August 2018. This continues a trend that is apparent throughout her career, which has included in-house roles with RFM Corporation, Coca-Cola Bottlers and a legal director position with Bloomberg Resorts, of establishing an excellent reputation within the companies she operates in. Reyes explains that her role with Unilever has given her the opportunity to feed more into the commercial aspect of the business which has been a long-term goal of hers: ‘In my current role as general counsel with Unilever Philippines, I am also one of the directors of the company which greatly expands my roles and responsibilities to include the financial health of the business, navigating both complex business environment and new legislation changing the way we do business. This includes Data Privacy and Competition Law, risk mitigation, protection of the reputation of the company, development of talents, good governance and legal compliance’. It also gives her the scope to put into practice her own beliefs on what an in-house team should prioritise. ‘It is my philosophy that the in-house team of today should stop being reactive lawyers’, she explains, ‘sitting in a corner office and waiting for their clients to come to them to address their issues or problems. The effective and efficient in-house team of today is one that is recognised as a valuable business partner, constantly working with their stakeholders identifying opportunities, challenges and solutions to ensure that the business is at all times legally compliant. The legal team of today has a holistic role to play in the organisation including risk management, protection of assets and reputation, corporate governance and business integrity’.
Maria Rowena Ramos Espiritu has been afforded the chance to live out her ideal professional role with Huawei Philippines since taking on her role as legal affairs director for the company in March 2015: ‘In Huawei, I have been exposed to multi-million dollar deals, complex business transactions related to ICT and projects of national significance. Since I am passionate about ICT law, the deals, transactions and projects I handled in Huawei kept me challenged and inspired to go to work every day’. A large portion of Espiritu’s work is focused on negotiation in collaboration with other departments, giving her a keen eye for what is required for success in this area; in her opinion, in-house lawyers must be confident in their own judgment. ‘It involves not only keen attention to details, but also a lot of communication and correlation skills’, she says. ‘A lawyer who knows her craft does not easily succumb even to strong pressure when she knows that what she is advocating for has legal ground and based on sound business judgment. Successfully pulling through negotiations gives me the high and boosts my confidence in furthering the interest of Huawei’. Also, Espiritu has been the prime mover in shaping the Huawei Technologies Philippines legal department into its current highly effective state: ‘It is an understatement that things move fast in the ICT industry where Huawei is the leading company, and a lot of the things Huawei does and would like to do are “disruptive innovation”. As such, it is my duty to lead my legal team and other support departments to creatively advice the business teams what to do and what not to do to be legally compliant and maintain good reputation, without crippling our business potentials’.
An engineering and construction projects sector legal expert, Ritankar Sahu also excels in anti-corruption investigations and management of distressed assets. He serves on the board of directors of the Maxpower - Mitsui & Co joint venture which operates power assets in Myanmar. This combination of specialised legal expertise – honed through senior in-house and private practice roles (he previously practiced at Norton Rose) – and commercial capability has held him in good stead throughout his career and puts him among the top general counsel in the region. His prior employment with Jacobs Engineering Group between 2012 and 2017 was his first in-house role and allowed him to reach a significant professional milestone while setting a highly impressive company record in the process, becoming one of Jacobs’ youngest regional counsel: ‘This elevation pivoted me to a regional management team where business governance counsel is valued; boards do not want to hear “blocking” lawyers telling them what can’t be done. You also cannot be a “yes man”, however you will have to constantly stretch yourself to find out “that” innovative solution to a problem. This role laid out the fundamentals for a senior management position and tutored me in the nuances of the bigger game, and in turn laid the foundation for my current role with Maxpower’. With Maxpower, Sahu has worked tirelessly to move the capabilities of the company’s legal team forward, making it a more proactive component of the company’s corporate makeup in the process. ‘It is a standard notion among business people that legal teams be viewed as contract reviewers and contract negotiators’, he says. ‘Early on into the role I realised that if I did not change this perception, I would not have long term success in the role. I spent an inordinate amount of time socialising the “why” with everyone from the receptionist to the c-suite. A year and eight months down the line, I would say that I have made significant progress and people in the company at all levels now have much better clarity of what me and my team does and the company welcomes the general strategy and public affairs counsellor role of the legal department’. The team has been extremely successful of late. ‘As we speak’, Sahu says, ‘I am very pleased to state that the company has embarked on a massive turnaround plan and has been successful in doing a capital raise which includes an in-progress equity/debt restructuring exercise and settling a complex FCPA matter. This overall turn-around exercise (which is on-going) involved managing several of the world’s largest law firms, a group of close to fifteen heavyweight lenders, three of the big four accounting firms and multiple cross border regulators’. That he has achieved success in such a demanding environment while mastering a number of complex skills at such a relatively young age displays the talent and dedication that has hallmarked Sahu’s career.
Beginning her in-house legal career at Infineon Technologies in 2004, by 2006 Dawn Seah had progressed to an Asia Pacific legal director position with Wyndham Worldwide in which she took over a compact but highly capable legal team. It was in 2009, however, that she began to really make a mark as an individual operating at the upper echelons of the Southeast Asian in-house legal community when she became general counsel role with Siemens in Singapore, a highly successful period of employment lasting until 2017. This saw her add sector lead responsibilities for Siemens Healthcare in 2010 and general counsel responsibilities for ASEAN Pacific region in 2013 where she was responsible for a diverse team of 28 legal counsels of 11 nationalities located in seven countries supporting a business turnover of €5bn. Assuming her current role in July 2017 as senior vice president, general counsel and head of compliance at Sivantos Group, Seah hit the ground running in the top legal and compliance position at the Singapore-headquartered top five international hearing aid manufacturer where she is also a member of the global management board of the Sivantos Group. Looking back on her career, Seah picks out a number of particular highlights but regards the opportunity she was afforded to ‘set up the legal team in Siemens Singapore from scratch and to expand and build up the ASEAN Pacific legal team as a well-respected diverse and innovative legal team providing solutions to the cross sectoral businesses of Siemens’ as a particular highlight. While with Sivantos, Seah has, within a short 18 months, expanded and built up the global team’s legal, compliance and data protection abilities and resources, with an efficient regional team structure. She has also developed new and optimised existing processes to meet the challenges faced by the company amidst the diverse global legal landscape of changing laws and regulations, successfully embedding the legal team as an integral part of the business.
General counsel of Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia since 2015, prior to which he was head of legal and corporate services with PT MDN for three years, Clemens Selestiyanto’s 24-year career has given him a number of highlights to look back on. The most recent of these came in 2018, when he was part of a major solar panel and liquid sugar processing project on behalf of Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia. ‘These projects have shaped my commercial acumen, risk management, construction knowledge as well as my negotiation skill’, he says. He also speaks fondly to the improvements he has made to the legal team since taking over legal responsibilities at the company: ‘Before my time, the legal department was reactive; we only responded when asked or when there were problems. Now it has changed in a number of ways: We partner with the business, and pro-actively approach them and offer to make improvements. We have rolled out training programs to make sure the business runs in compliance with our code of conduct, rules and regulations, delivering extensive trainings in a number of areas; we are much more aligned with the legal teams in the Asia Pacific region and share knowledge with colleagues in different countries; and I have developed the legal team with opportunities to involve them in projects and additional training’. The team is now a far more effectively integrated component of the business. ‘Overall’, he concludes, ‘our current legal department is a partner to the business. We provide legal advice with a commercial approach’.
As general counsel and corporate secretary at AIA, Veronica Selvanayagy has a key role at the organisation in both the legal and business domains. Reporting directly to the CEO, she oversees the full range of regulatory and government affairs, privacy and data protection issues, risk management, disputes and litigation for employment and consumer cases, corporate security and investigations, as well as technology administration. Under her leadership, the in-house legal team handled the exclusive partnership with Public Bank Berhad (PBB) from negotiation to the culmination of the project without the use of an external lawyer. This resulted to the extension of the company’s successful partnership with PBB for additional 15 years, from December 2022 to December 2037. Nominating sources were extremely positive in their assessment of Selvanayagy’s abilities: ‘In our past experience of working with Selvanayagy, she always brings a comprehensive and detailed view of her industry needs to the table, in order to achieve the most strategic outcomes – whether it be for a commercial transaction, a compliance and regulatory matter, or disputes and investigations’.
An English-qualified solicitor who trained in London and has practiced in London, Hong Kong and Singapore, Iain Sharp currently heads up the Asia Pacific legal team at international commodities trading house Gunvor. His sector experience includes international trade and commodities, energy and natural resources, oil and gas, shipping, banking and finance. Upon joining Gunvor in late 2016, Sharp was keen to improve the legal team there based on his extensive private practice experience: ‘When I joined the company, one of the key objectives I set for myself was to change the perception of the Asia Pacific legal department. I wanted to build a department which was not purely reactive, and perceived as one only good for churning out documents. At the heart of it was building relationships with key functions, including trading, finance, compliance and shipping. Using the experience of team members, we also wanted to showcase a more proactive strategic approach to problem-solving, dispute management and resolution’. Managing a litigation and arbitration portfolio that spans multiple jurisdictions (including the US, the UK, Singapore, India and China) allows Sharp to showcase his excellent dispute resolution credentials.
Joining 3M Thailand as general counsel in 2016, with responsibility for six emerging markets in the region as well as Thailand, Wiyada Srinaganand expanded her role in 2017 with her appointment to the women’s leadership chair of the company and in 2018 with her assignment in an extended regulatory affairs role. She mentions the three main innovations she has brought forward during her time in charge of the 3M Thailand legal team as a ‘web-based end-to-end contract management system, the development of a legal playbook for doing business in emerging markets outlining the company’s internal procedures against bribery and corruption, anti-trust, tax and foreign investment laws and a web-based regulated product platform that creates awareness of business colleagues on special legal requirements of regulated products and enables them to search products against their registration and licenses’. She expands on why enacting excellent internal processes and best practices are at the core of her legal philosophy: ‘In-house lawyers are more than just lawyers but also legal leaders. With this in mind, I think of the organisation as my client and so work to simplify things and connect the dots through cross-functional collaboration utilising technology to achieve the organisation’s ultimate goals without just focusing on each function’s KPIs’.
‘Believing that my career should start with the most rigorous and demanding training and work pressure that I could find’, Christopher Stephens began his career with 12 years in the New York law firm scene, spending – as he puts it – ‘a few years getting trained and battle-hardened’. This clearly provided a rock-solid foundation for him to build on, and he moved from here to the Hong Kong branch of Coudert Brothers where he was a major influence in leveraging the firm’s platform in Asia before the unfortunate demise of the company in 2005. Stephens himself bounced back from this setback extremely successfully, rising to the rank of head of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Asian offices and finance practices during his time here from 2005 to 2012, at which point he decided to take on a new challenge with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a role as general counsel. Here, among other important projects, he co-led the legal side of the largest transaction in the bank’s history – the US$32bn merger of Asian Development Fund (ADF) and ADB: ‘My predecessors in the general counsel role had formally opined that a merger was not possible, given the legal constraints and prohibitions in the Bank’s charter. But we created a transaction structure that overcame the obstacles, and completed the merger in 2017. The merger involved innovative structuring, and several “re-interpretations” of the Bank’s charter relating to separation of operations, withdrawal and liquidation preferences, and required the unanimous consent of all 34 donor countries; sensitive consultations with finance ministries and governments of those countries; and novel approaches to our rating agencies and our auditors. The completed merger tripled the capital of the bank from US$18bn to US$53bn, increased annual lending by 50% and financing for poorest countries by 70%, while diversifying portfolio risk and preserving the bank’s AAA credit rating’. Stephens has also undertaken a comprehensive recalibration of attitudes within the legal team towards a more competence-based approach – which was at odds with established norms when he took over. ‘ADB is a traditional public institution, with many public sector practices and traditions. But its business is in one of the most dynamic sectors (banking and finance) and in the most dynamic region in the world (Asia). Some entrenched practices in the bank had to change in order to meet the demands of the market and our clients, and one of those was the practice of personnel management. Accordingly, we sought buy-in from the staff in the legal department, and started to transition from a seniority-based HR system to a merit-based system for promotions and career management’, he says.
Over the course of almost a decade with the Fortune top-200 ranked Louis Dreyfus Company, Massimiliano Talli has risen through the ranks and found success in a number of roles. Beginning as a senior M&A counsel for Europe and the Black Sea in 2010, he progressed to the role of chief legal officer role for Asia in early 2013, and in 2017 was appointed a permanent member of the senior legal team managing the global legal function of the company. His improvements to the Asian legal team over recent months have been many and varied, highlighting his leadership and organisational skills alongside his legal ability. ‘As well as reducing the number of firms used by establishing long term and strong partner relationships’, he explains, ‘we have succeeded in increasing the seniority of the Asia legal team by attracting people with strong entrepreneurial acumen on top of pure legal skills. As well as this, we have made progress in transforming the perception of the legal team into a business partner and less of a pure cost centre and have built a collective global legal team culture; the lawyers feel part of the global legal function’. When discussing the reasons for his success, Talli believes that a firm academic grounding was consolidated by high-quality, on-the-job experience while operating with international law firms in the area of corporate and M&A work. ‘This combination’, he says, ‘proved to be very effective as it gave me a competitive advantage on understanding the dynamics of the deals from a larger perspective that the pure legal angle’. This experience meant that joining the commodity world in 2010 was ‘an almost natural follow-up’, which was the foundation block of his subsequent success.
Taking on group general counsel, legal and corporate affairs and company secretarial responsibilities for one of Singapore’s largest and most diverse companies is no mean feat, but provides Jeffery Tan ample opportunity to display his excellent legal and business abilities at the highest level of business. When discussing the success he has had within his career, Tan emphasises the variety of skills needed by the modern general counsel, as well as the contribution they should make to the wider world: ‘I believe the success of a general counsel goes beyond the law. Yes, a competent general counsel needs to be a great business partner but they also need to have an ability to positively impact the larger community beyond just law and business’. Since joining Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C) in April 2016, Tan has had a major positive effect on the overall company. He led the legal and strategy team for the US$1.2bn investment for a 10.6% interest in Vietnam Dairy Company (Vinamilk), the largest company by market capitalisation on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, securing a seat on the board of VNM in the process. In addition to this, he was in charge of efforts to significantly improve JC&C’s Singapore Governance and Transparency Index (SGTI) in which he has proved extremely successful; the company’s ranking jumped 31 places to number 57 in the list, and was runner up winner for the most transparent large-capitalisation company award by the Securities Investors Association of Singapore in 2018.
As the first Asia Pacific counsel for Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm 500 Startups since its founding, Mei Chel Tan has carved out an impressive reputation since taking on oversight for all of 500 Startups’ Asia-focused funds and businesses. Nominators provided evidence of this, saying of Tan that ‘her passion is evident in the work she does to share knowledge and demonstrate what can be achieved in the Asian venture capital industry, bringing a practical and strategic mindset to a conventional market’. Previously a specialist in the venture capital industry through her work with a German private venture company and a successful private practice stint, Tan views her move to in-house work fondly: ‘I’ve always wanted to be a part of decisions driving commercial initiatives and to bring ideas to fruition. In my in-house career, and especially in new industries where counsel is expected to be technically sound and a creative commercial partner, there have been ample opportunities to test and hone technical capabilities and develop critical skills in stakeholder and resource management’. Since moving into her current role, she has remained extremely busy in support of the organisation’s objectives, playing a key role in several projects including forming the first two SPV funds of 500 Startups which raised over US$30m in aggregate for single target investments, and the formation of its newer Asia-focused funds for Vietnam, Thailand, and Southeast Asia, with others in progress. She has also been involved in structuring and delivering the education and ecosystem initiatives of 500 Startups which involves work with governments and corporates to develop venture capabilities and devise tailored accelerator programs.
‘My present position at one of the top listed property developers in Malaysia is the icing on the cake of a career that has spanned more than 20 years’, says Tan Mui Hiang when reflecting on her career path in the legal industry so far. She credits her move – after 15 years in the finance and banking industry – to a senior counsel role in an oil and gas company (one in the midst of negotiating a gas purchase contract with the national state gas corporation, no less) as having had a major positive effect on her understanding of her own abilities going forward: ‘You realise that when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone despite your apprehension, we are capable of far more. It is hard work dealing with a steep learning curve and you cannot do it without learning about the business and operations from your colleagues. Teamwork is key to getting the job done and it takes effort to build the rapport with your new colleagues and build confidence and trust on the job’. When discussing her current role, Mui Hiang explains that it is still provides a challenge despite her many years operating at a high level. ‘No matter the number of years’ experience’, she says, ‘it is always challenging because of the ever-changing dynamics in both the market and work place. Surprises happen and we need to be flexible and adapt to changes’.
"Kumarason Thangaratnam was formerly Qatar International Petroleum (Tasweeq)’s general counsel based in Doha, where he enjoyed an extremely successful four-and-a-half year period where he was at the centre of a series of strategic developments for the company. He returned to Southeast Asia in May 2017 when joining Lukoil Asia Pacific, and has made a positive impression on the in-house legal community in the region ever since. Nominating sources pointed to Thangaratnam as one of the top performing in-house counsel in the region over the past two years given his high level of knowledge and excellent results in a number of high-profile transactions. "
Diana The had over ten years of private practice experience – including five years as a partner in the corporate division of David Lim and Partners – and general counsel and head of legal and company secretary roles with Harmony Capital Group and Eastspring Investments (the Asian asset management arm of Prudential Plc) under her belt respectively before moving to Aon at the start of 2014. Then, she was appointed to be chief counsel for its various consulting businesses revolving around HR solutions, retirement and investment consulting within Asia Pacific. Based in Singapore, she has steadily added responsibilities since this point, and now takes on a number of highly important roles within the company, including deputy global counsel for Aon Securities, chief counsel for Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa for Aon Retirement Solutions and representative director for Aon Hewitt Japan. It is clear that the organisation holds The and her leadership abilities in high esteem, given the responsibilities inherent in these various extremely senior roles. When discussing the immense success and rapid progression she has enjoyed while with Aon, The provided a number of insights into why this has occurred: ‘I am never one to rest on my laurels and am always looking for opportunities to take on fresh challenges and learn new areas of business. With the many facets of businesses that Aon cover, particularly from where I sit in the middle as legal counsel, I could see many synergies between the various businesses that Aon has. I wanted to be able to act as the connector as well as a business enabler whilst simultaneously managing legal risks across the different lines of business for Asia. It was my ability to connect which led to my role being expanded to a larger role as deputy global counsel for a specific business within Aon and be separately recommended by one of our global business leaders to be appointed as the representative director for our Japan business’. On the subject of leadership, and successfully operating at the upper echelons of a major corporation, The has a clear strategy for maximising the positive effect one can have on the company. ‘When you are in a senior position, it is no longer sufficient to hide in one corner poring through legal documents or be simply “the lawyer” of the company. With your wealth of working experience, you have so much to contribute to the organisation and its people, to be a role model and mentor to your younger colleagues and be visible within the organisation and beyond into your network and circle of contacts to promote what you personally value most in terms of principles and beliefs’, The says.
Originally assuming a role with Agoda in 2009, Tom Thomas had previously been operating in an in-house capacity with Huntsman Corporation in Europe and Asia, prior to which he was an associate in Linklaters’ banking and finance department in Brussels and London. ‘Moving in-house from private practice was the first highlight of my legal career’, he says. ‘Having to unlearn some of the law firm approaches and operate in the real world of an in-house team was an interesting learning curve and was an enriching experience’. Similarly, being afforded the opportunity to display his considerable talents in a new region and industry with Agoda is also considered by Thomas to be a particularly treasured milestone. ‘Moving to Asia and starting at Agoda when there was no legal team was the number one highlight in my overall career’, he says. ‘Getting to know an e-commerce company that was still in startup mode although it had been acquired two years prior by a US listed company. Adapting to a high-velocity, high-energy and fast-changing company was energising (and exhausting at times). It reinforced my conviction that a good legal counsel or advisor needs to help think with the business and help find solutions rather than raising obstacles’. When discussing how he went about building the legal team upon taking on the role, Thomas favoured a ground-up strategy: ‘The first priority was creating the appropriate level of awareness and ensuring the business knew how to work with the legal function. Trust-building in an incremental and humble way was crucial to ensuring success. The team gradually expanded but was initially quite focused on commercial support and legal advice or regulatory action in a more reactive way, but has shifted into a more proactive mode overtime. I was also responsible for the people (HR) function for the first three years of my career at Agoda’. His impressive record of project work in support of the company’s objectives is evidence of the excellent job he has done so far, which looks set to continue into the future.
Assuming his role with Samsung Electronics Vietnam SAVINA in 2017, Son Tran Vo Quoc amassed a decade of experience as general counsel and head of legal with Heineken Vietnam, five years with PepsiCo and Unilever as general counsel and another five with Indochina Capital as general counsel. Clearly, then, he was a highly experienced in-house counsel with a raft of skills accrued from a variety of senior roles even before joining Samsung. He goes into just some of the projects he has been involved with for the company since: ‘At Samsung, I am the first certified information privacy manager in Vietnam by IAPP, successfully landing the Samsung showcase project at Bitexco Financial Tower – the 1st showcase in Asia, asset deal with respect to factory at Thu Duc district, and robust compliance agenda including advertising, trade promotions and data privacy and data protection compliance program for the company. With Samsung Pay, the first approved cashless mobile payment tech application licensed by the State Bank of Vietnam, which I was deeply involved with and help to complete, despite the current unclear and ambiguous Vietnam legal framework for fintech and technology companies like Samsung’. On the role of the modern general counsel and how they can really add value to the business, Tran says, ‘general counsel are at the heart of the businesses that we advise, and a key part of the business. Legal risk management should still be the core service of in-house lawyers, but we need to move from being excessively reactive to being proactive. We need to anticipate problems before they arise as the focus of the general counsel should be avoiding disputes rather than resolving them. So a practice of “preventive law” is very important’.
An extremely well-regarded lawyer who comes highly recommended by nominating sources, Felix Tse began his legal career in Australia with the Supreme Court of New South Wales before taking on his first private practice role with Mallesons Stephen Jaques. He then moved to London, firstly with Clifford Chance and then as part of his first in-house role there with Gazprom Marketing and Trading; this proved to be a highly successful with him staying at Gazprom for almost a decade, eventually moving to Singapore as head of legal for the country in the process. Having built an outstanding reputation in the energy community, Tse moved to Singapore’s Pavilion Energy in August 2018 and looks set to continue his outstanding achievements at this exciting new energy provider in the future.
Initially working with Amcor as part of its demerger of its Australasia and Packaging Distribution business while practicing privately, Lily Ann Twui Siang Tsen’s excellent performance with the company led to a secondment which was first extended and then upgraded to a full-time general counsel role for Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific (AFAP) in October 2014, which she accepted. Tsen explains that, as the role has provided her with so many opportunities, selecting particular highlights is tough but that she would mention her work with the Thailand team and the president of AFAP to close her first greenfield project – and the company’s new Philippines plans – as one particular personal milestone. ‘After closing the deal, I worked closely with the new country general manager, leading negotiations with the consultant and contractors who built and commissioned the plant. This transaction highlighted the importance of clear and effective and the need for cross-cultural sensitivity when doing business’, Tsen says. She is also extremely pleased with the progress she has made with the legal function and how it relates to the rest of the business: ‘The most significant shift is changing the mindset of the organisation so that it views me as a trusted business partner. Traditionally, and especially so in Asia, lawyers (in-house or otherwise), were viewed as a doorstop and there to review contracts and provide legal advice when things turned pear-shaped. There’s still a lot of contracts to review, but the behaviour change to working with legal as a business enabler and risk mitigatory has been pleasing’. With several greenfield projects under her belt, one particularly exciting transaction that Tsen is working on currently is the announced acquisition by Amcor of Bemis, a particularly complex, multi-billion dollar deal that, once approved, will see the companies strategically combine their assets to create the global leader in consumer packaging.
Jonathan Wise originally joined Nomura in 2008 (when Nomura purchased the Asian and European businesses of Lehman Brothers) and operated in the company’s Tokyo and Hong Kong offices before assuming his current role in 2013, a move which he considers a personal career highlight along with his original move from New York to Japan back in 2003. ‘Each of these opportunities presented me with a chance to expand my substantive skill set, gain experience from diverse working environments and challenges, and develop a variety of new professional relationships’, he explains. When discussing his career since moving to Singapore, Wise goes into some detail into his leadership of the Nomura legal function: ‘I have made several changes to the Nomura Singapore legal team since relocating to Singapore in 2013, for instance leveraging the skillsets of team members by multi-hatting certain lawyers where necessary and through combining legal coverage teams where possible. Overall, the changes have led to a more responsive, proactive and well-coordinated Singapore legal team’.
Adrian Wong’s time with Brunei’s national energy operation Brunei National Petroleum Company has been extremely rewarding and, during more than a decade operating in the high-pressure environment of the company, he has marked himself out as one of Southeast Asia’s most experienced in-house legal professionals in the energy sector. Initially established during his private practice career as a commercial litigation and conveyancing professional, Wong has steadily added to his capabilities since then, and now boasts both great range and depth of legal knowledge, which he consistently displays in his role: ‘As the company evolves, my primary role as head of legal has likewise expanded to include multiple commercial and project-based portfolios in addition to the core legal discipline’, he says. Similarly, he has been active in both proactive and reactive measures aimed at protecting the company’s interests. Alongside ‘keeping at bay various possibilities of litigations and disputes’ (of which, since 2005, the company has successfully handled, indicating the success of Wong’s approaches and tactics), ‘managing the expectations and perceptions of the wider company on the role of legal away from strict legal recommendations and balancing the various commercial and business risks and exposures with objectives in ventures and initiatives of the company’, has been a major focus.
During her decade-long career in trading, real estates, renewable energy and environmental industries, Supaporn Wonganan has handled a myriad of highly significant litigation cases and disputes between former and current shareholders of Wind Energy Holding, one of the fastest-growing renewable energy company in Thailand. She has undertaken a diversity of legal work and engendered cooperation with diverse business and government units throughout the projects she has undertaken on behalf of the company, and has also contributed to non-legal aspects of business. This includes taking on business tasks for conglomerate companies in different industry fields, such as the food and beverage, hospitality, and music industries. For the past three years, Wonganan has led the implementation of a number of core process improvements for the board of shareholders’ meeting procedures in order to build a foundation of trust, transparency and accountability in the company. Such processes include measures related to training, to affirm that the new meeting procedures comply with the highest standard legal practice and standards of corporate governance.
On behalf of Jones Day, we congratulate each of the counsel included in the GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019. We have had the pleasure of working with many of you and are truly pleased to see you recognised among the most influential and innovative lawyers in the region.
Jones Day is a global law fi rm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 43 offi ces across five continents. The firm is distinguished by a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.
The firm’s 126 years of sustained growth – in experience, reputation, and successful client interaction – have been built by its dedication to a ‘One Firm Worldwide’ philosophy, which fosters the creation of inter-office and cross-practice teams, assembled to ensure that clients receive the best possible guidance and representation, without regard to barriers conventionally imposed by geography, borders, time zones, or language.
Jones Day has committed substantial resources and capacity to serve each of Asia’s distinct markets, including China, Japan, Singapore, and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia. Spread throughout 10 offices in the region, the firm’s 250+ lawyers represent clients in practice areas including antitrust, banking and finance, capital markets, corporate and commercial, energy, global disputes, intellectual property, labour and employment, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, real estate, and several others.
Our Singapore office serves a base for our multilingual team to support clients across the region. The majority of our Singapore partners have been living and working in the region for most of their careers. In recognition of our long-standing commitment to Singapore and deep experience in key practice areas, Jones Day is one of only a few firms awarded a QFLP licence to practice Singapore law in permitted areas (primarily commercial, corporate and finance).
Jones Day is proud to sponsor GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019.
Frasers is delighted to congratulate the general counsel who have been nominated for this year’s GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019. We sincerely believe that this is well deserved recognition for all your hard work and achievements over the past year. We have had the privilege to work with many of you in helping you to accomplish your goals.
The role of in-house counsel has changed dramatically over the past decade with an increasingly complex global regulatory environment and growing expectations of the in-house counsel role bringing new challenges. At the same time, new markets, particularly in Southeast Asia and changes in technology have given rise to many new opportunities. It has been increasingly important for external counsel to work in partnership with in-house counsel to support them in their critical role to help identify and manage risk while enabling the businesses that they support to explore new opportunities.
Frasers was the first law firm to receive a foreign law company licence in Vietnam, and we continue to uphold our position as a progressive leader in Vietnam’s rapidly developing legal arena. Some senior lawyers within our team have been advising on Vietnam law matters for three decades. Through an integrated team of foreign and local lawyers, we are able to provide a streamlined approach whereby we are able to advise on local law issues, whilst protecting our clients’ interests to the highest international standards.
With one of the largest teams of international and local lawyers in Vietnam, Frasers has advised on some of Vietnam’s most ground-breaking projects, assisting corporations through all the steps of conducting business in Vietnam, and counselling on transactions that traverse numerous practice areas and industry sectors. Frasers’ team is led by managing partner, Mark Fraser, who himself has been advising clients on transactions in Vietnam since 1994, and who is consistently recognised as a top tier lawyer practising in Vietnam.
The team’s intimate understanding of Vietnam’s rapidly changing regulatory framework coupled with extensive knowledge of the local business climate enables us to act as strategic partners to our clients. By leveraging this expertise, we are able to provide innovative, responsive, and state-of-the-art legal solutions. We differentiate ourselves by not only ensuring compliance with Vietnamese laws and regulations, but also ensuring transactions are structured and documented to best protect the interests of our clients.
We look forward to another year of success working in close partnership with our clients and are proud to support the GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019.
The role of in-house counsel has changed fundamentally over the past decade. More particularly, in-house counsel in Southeast Asia deal with many challenging situations in a complex regulatory environment. While covering multiple jurisdictions, diverse legal systems, and many cultures, the counsel must steer the business through a maze of regulatory regimes. The in-house teams have to avoid and mitigate significant legal and regulatory risks – all in a day’s work!
Singapore is an apt venue for your meeting. It has developed fantastically as a commercial and innovation hub – it is in the midst of regional economies providing some of the highest potential and opportunities in the world. Many economies in the region have seen tremendous growth over the last few years.
As a sponsor firm for the GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019, we bring greetings from India and a promise to work together with you on a platform of shared values of resilience, innovation, ethics, and grit.
Our experience in working with in-house counsel helps us develop optimum solutions to address legal problems – from simple, to complex, to impossible!
JSA is recognised as a leading national law firm providing legal services to top Indian corporates, Fortune 500 companies, multinational banks and financial institutions, governmental and statutory authorities, and multilateral and bilateral institutions, both in the domestic and the international markets. We focus on our clients and the communities we practice in.
Our practice is organised along practice areas, service lines, and sector specialisation.
Practice areas: corporate; finance and disputes – with 30 service lines within them focusing on these three universes of corporate legal needs.
Sectors: agriculture and forestry, capital markets, communication, media and sports, construction and engineering, defence and internal security, education, energy: power and hydrocarbons, environment, financial services and insolvency, hospitality, tourism and retail, infotech and ITES, insurance and pension, life sciences, healthcare and pharma, manufacturing, non-governmental sector, mines and minerals, real estate, services, start-ups, transportation and logistics, urban infrastructure and smart cities.
All of us at Kudun & Partners, Bangkok’s fastest growing, innovative law firm, extend a hearty congratulations to this year’s winners of the GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019. We are well aware of the amount of hard work and sheer effort that it takes to achieve such distinction, and we celebrate your success as you strive forward.
Several of our attorneys have worked in-house, and as a result we are aware of the special demands placed upon in-house attorneys and the pressures that you confront each day.
Kudun & Partners was established in early 2015 by passionate young lawyers who were emboldened by a vision to change the traditional working relationship that law firms have with their clients and thereby create a vibrant new practice. We treat our team members and clients as family, respecting each person’s unique talents and capabilities. Our partners bring with them deep expertise and respect in the Thai legal community. The unique combination of varied experience and close cooperation among the partners brings a depth not typically found amongst most Thai law firms.
Our key practice areas include capital markets, M&As, tax and restructuring, FDI and investment-related laws, property and infrastructure funds, REITs, and dispute resolution/litigation.
We have broad experience across a spectrum of industries including most specifically power, renewable energy, oil and gas, financial services, real estate developers, TMT (technology, media and telecoms), and manufacturing/industrials.
As the Thai sponsor firm for the GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019, we strive each and every day to reflect the unique values that guide Thailand and to deliver quality legal services with a distinctive Thai flavour.
Once again, our sincere congratulations on your accomplishment and our best wishes for your continued success.
My partners and I congratulate you on your selection into this year’s powerlist. This is a transformational year for Malaysia with new leaders at the helm. The future looks bright from where we stand.
Having worked with some of you in high intensity settings, I am all too familiar with the invaluable role that GCs play in any successful litigation or transaction. Speaking as a dispute resolution practitioner, the pace and demands of international litigation has become such that it is the eff ective GC who often plays the pivotal role in managing the dispute.
Your selection into this powerlist sets you apart from the field, and is a deserving recognition of hard work, commitment and impressive legal skills that each of you epitomises. We are indeed pleased for you and also pleased that we have partnered with you to deliver dispute resolution success.
Our focus as a boutique practise specialising in commercial and construction arbitration has taken us to leading arbitral fora all over the world. At home, in Malaysia, we frequently appear in the courts and are regulars at the AIAC acting in high-value claims. Recent involvement in investment treaty disputes is also a notable addition to our experience and skillset bank.
Like each of you, my partners and I are committed to excellence and believe very strongly that we must constantly challenge ourselves. Indeed, a fighting spirit and thinking out of the box are vital to successful outcomes, and qualities which our practise seeks to inculcate in each of our lawyers.
My best wishes to each of you and hope that this recognition spurs you to new challenges and enriching careers. Enjoy your evening!
Blackstone Chambers congratulates all of the in-house lawyers recognised in The Legal 500's GC Powerlist Southeast Asia 2019.
Blackstone Chambers is a leading set of barristers based in London. Members of Chambers offer expertise in the international arena across a range of specialist areas, including rbitration, commercial litigation, financial services, public and regulatory law and international law.
GC Powerlist is a trading name of The Legal 500 Series and Legalease Ltd, and operates in multiple legal jurisdictions worldwide.