Event information

Date: Thu 9 Mar 2023 Time: 12.30pm-7.00pm Venue: Grand Hotel Wien, Kärntner Ring 9, 1010 Vienna, Austria

The Legal 500 is delighted to formally announce the inaugural GC Summit Austria, taking place on 9th March 2023 in Vienna.

GC Summit Austria looks at Austria on the world stage and how GCs and senior in-house lawyers are coping with the legal and business challenges that domestic and international companies are faced with.

In association with our partners for this event, petsche pollak, Baker McKenzie, Taylor Wessing, Wolf Theiss & HSP Rechtsanwälte GmbH; this event will include a series of panel sessions covering a variety of cutting edge and up to date topics for discussion.

This includes understanding and overcoming data privacy challenges, managing international disputes, adapting to a new M&A landscape, the rise of legal tech, the growing importance of ESG and overcoming labour and employment issues.

Drawing on the vast experience of our highly accomplished speakers, this event will provide practical, hands-on advice to all in-house counsel.

It is a must-attend event for any in-house counsel in Austria who are aiming to reach the next level of their professional development.


12.30pm – 1.00pm Registration

1.00pm – 1.10pm Welcome Address and Introductory Remarks

Legal 500 GC Powerlist editor Sara Maggi will introduce the day’s festivities before handing over to our keynote speaker, Barbara Sesser. She will speak about some of the challenges and opportunities facing in-house counsel in Austria to set the tone for the Summit.

1.10pm – 1.30pm Opening Presentation: An expert guide to the transparency register

During this presentation, Dr. Peter Wagesreiter will give the audience a thorough overview of the transparency register in Austria and a roadmap for successful implementation.

  • Dr. Peter Wagesreiter, partner, HSP.Law

1.35pm – 2.25pm The system of corporate criminal liability and the looming threats

The system of corporate criminal liability is an increasingly important topic in the business world, with many companies facing significant legal and reputational risks. This panel will explore the legal framework for corporate criminal liability, including recent developments and the implications for businesses. The panel will also touch upon the looming threats facing companies, including the risk of criminal prosecution for corporate misconduct. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the evolving landscape of corporate criminal liability and learn practical strategies for managing legal and reputational risks in their organisations.

  • Andreas Pollak, partner, petsche pollak
  • Simone Petsche-Demmel, partner, petsche pollak
  • Jonas Hermann, general counsel EMEA, environmental catalyst and metal solutions, BASF
  • Stefan Führer, head legal & compliance, executive director, VTB Europe, Vienna (until recently)

2.25pm – 3.15pm Ever more complex rules on sustainability and ESG: the role of the legal department

In this session, an expert panel helmed by Baker McKenzie Rechtsanwälte partner Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac will interrogate the current and upcoming ESG requirements in Austria and on a global scale outlining the legal requirements, the role of the legal departments and future developments.

  • Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac, partner, Baker McKenzie Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
  • Stefan Wochinz, legal counsel and compliance officer, Vaillant
  • Bernard Reviczky, general counsel South-Eastern Europe region, Siemens Energy
  • Timo Matthias Spitzer, head of legal corporate and investment banking – Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Nordic countries; Banco Santander
  • Andrea Schwartz, in-house employment legal counsel, Western Union

3.15pm – 3.30pm Coffee Break

3.30pm – 4.20pm Practical guidance on Whistleblowing from an (inter)national perspective

What are the best practices for whistleblowing from a national and international perspective? In this panel session, Wolfgang Kapek and Jan-Patrick Vogel will lead the conversion bringing their considerable experience to the table and providing those in attendance with practical guidance.

  • Wolfgang Kapek, partner, Taylor Wessing Vienna
  • Jan-Patrick Vogel, partner, Taylor Wessing Frankfurt
  • Manfred Klika, chief legal officer, Diamond Aircraft Industries
  • Mario Himmelbauer, corporate audit, compliance and data protection officer, Energie Oberösterreich
  • Julia Lörincz, legal and compliance officer, Austrian Airlines

4.20pm – 5.30pm Litigation risks and trends in a time of political and economic instability: can companies prepare?

In-house lawyers must always be ahead of issues and prevent litigation. Is this really possible in the current climate of political and economic instability? This panel session, overseen by Wolf Theiss, will provide valuable insights on how companies can prepare to be ready to face and mitigate litigation risks.

  • Valerie Hohenberg, partner, Wolf Theiss
  • Paulina Pomorski, counsel, Wolf Theiss
  • Markus Taufner, counsel, Wolf Theiss
  • Maximilian Bülau, partner, Hengeler Mueller

5.30pm – 6.00pm Business, trials and prosecution – how to speed up 

The problem of overlong legal proceedings is a significant issue in many jurisdictions, with cases taking months or even years to reach a resolution. This can have serious consequences for litigants, including financial costs, loss of business opportunities, and prolonged uncertainty. In this panel, legal experts will explore the causes of overlong proceedings and discuss strategies for speeding up the legal process.

  • Andreas Pollak, partner, petsche pollak
  • Simone Petsche-Demmel, partner, petsche pollak
  • Sabine Matejka, president of the Austrian Association of Judges

6.00pm – 7:00pm Networking Drinks


Sara Maggi, research analyst: GC Powerlist Series, The Legal 500

Sara Maggi joined The Legal 500’s editorial team, specialising on the in-house legal community, in 2022 as a research analyst; since then, she has led the research for several editions of the GC Powerlist Series, aimed at highlighting the expertise of in-house counsel worldwide.

In researching for the GC Powerlist Series, Sara has had the opportunity to interview a large number of globally acclaimed general counsel, chief legal officers, and heads of legal using English, Italian and Spanish. Sara’s passion and interest in corporate governance have allowed for conversations, reports and write-ups concerning hot topics in the area such as ESG, legal tech, diversity and inclusion and changes to the role of general counsel in years to come.

Sara holds a BA from the University of Westminster and an LLM in International Corporate Governance from the University of Law in the United Kingdom. She was a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 2022.

Andreas Pollak, partner, petsche pollak

Andreas, a former federal public prosecutor at Central Public Prosecutor’s Office for Combatting Economic Crime and Corruption, is a sought after dispute resolution specialist with a distinct focus on white collar crime. Before joining the Public Prosecutor’s Office, he was part of the M&A team of Wolf Theiss, Austria’s largest law firm. As he also holds a degree in business administration (Mag. rer. soc. oec.) in addition to his doctorate in law (Dr. iur.), he uniquely combines extensive knowledge of the Austrian public prosecution system with vast corporate understanding.

Based on his strong background as defense counsel and his corporate expertise, Andreas has been involved as advisor and counsel in numerous high profile white collar crime matters. He regularly gives lectures on criminal law, for example at the Austrian Academy of Certified Public Accountants. Andreas is furthermore author of several articles on white collar crime.

Simone Petsche-Demmel, partner, petsche pollak

Simone is founding partner of petsche pollak, one of the Austrian leading firms for corporate criminal defense. Having been a litigator from the beginning of her career, Simone has more than 15 years of experience in dispute resolution. After being a partner with the dispute resolution team of Austria’s largest law firm, Simone co-founded petsche pollak. Her focus especially lies on corporate criminal defense and cross-border commercial litigation. She regularly represents international corporates in complex white collar crime and related matters.

Barbara Sesser, head of legal, refurbed

Barbara is head of legal at refurbed, an online marketplace for sustainable (electronic) products and services operating in 13 European markets. Since joining in October 2021, she has built refurbed’s legal team from scratch and scaled it to a team of five lawyers. Her most considerable challenges involved setting up the legal framework for a fully remote company, structuring refurbed’s group of companies, implementing contract processes and automation, and introducing new compliance projects. In her previous career, Barbara focused on dispute resolution (LL.M. QMUL 2014, Austrian bar exam 2017) and gained three years of industry experience in consumer electronics as senior legal counsel at Samsung Austria.

Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac, partner, Baker McKenzie Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG

Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac heads Baker McKenzie’s capital markets practice in Austria and is a member of the Firm’s EMEA Steering Committee for Capital Markets. She is also Global Lead Sustainability Partner for our Financial Institutions Industry Group and a member of Baker McKenzie’s global Sustainable Finance Service Line. Eva-Maria is a dual-qualified lawyer, admitted to practice in Austria and New York. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie’s Vienna office in 2008, Eva-Maria worked in the New York, Paris and Frankfurt offices of a well-known US law firm.

Dr. Peter Wagesreiter, partner, HSP.Law

Dr. Peter Wagesreiter, LL.M. (UPenn) read law at the University of Vienna and the University of Pennsylvania. Peter Wagesreiter also completed a research stay at Harvard University for his doctoral thesis and is admitted to the New York Bar. He has been a partner with HSP.law since 2002. Peter Wagesreiter’s areas of expertise include Banking & Finance, Corporate Governance & Compliance, Data Protection, as well as Corporate Law and M&A. HSP.law’s Banking & Finance department was voted one of Austria‘s best in the “JUVE” lawyer ranking.

Stefan Wochinz, legal counsel and compliance officer, Vaillant.

Stefan is an enthusiastic legal counsel and compliance officer with a strong international background. He has close to 20 years in-house experience in legal, compliance and contract management. Following various traineeships in Austria, Mexico, the US, Japan and the Philippines, he had worked for the global conglomerate Siemens for 11 years in various legal and compliance roles and countries, providing services to large international turn-key projects. Prior to his current role at Vaillant Group, Stefan spent 4 years in the airline industry working for Lufthansa Group as compliance officer for Austrian Airlines as well as the Lufthansa Group airlines in EMEA, and in 2020 also founded his own business consultancy practice. Stefan is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) since 2011 and in June 2022 was appointed by The Legal 500 for the inaugural GC Powerlist Austria 2022.

Wolfgang Kapek, Partner, Taylor Wessing Vienna

Wolfgang Kapek heads the Employment team and co-heads the compliance team at Taylor Wessing in CEE.
Apart from his many years of experience in advising clients in all areas of individual and collective employment law including employment litigation, one focus of his advisory work is labour law compliance. He has supported and supports national and international clients on their implementation of the Whistleblowing Directive, regularly gives lectures on the topic of whistleblowing and writes professional articles for relevant media. Amongst others, he has co-authored the booklet „EU-Whistleblower-Richtlinie kompakt – Basics für Ihre Umsetzung“, issued by Austrian Standards.

Jan-Patrick Vogel, Partner, Taylor Wessing Frankfurt

Jan-Patrick Vogel is co-head of the Compliance Group of Taylor Wessing Germany. Jan-Patrick Vogel has particular expertise in labor law and HR compliance. In this context, he comprehensively advises companies on the establishment and implementation of an HR compliance organization. Jan-Patrick Vogel has advised a large number of national and international clients on the establishment of a whistleblower system and also acts as a lawyer of confidence for them.

Bernard Reviczky, general counsel South-Eastern Europe region, Siemens Energy

Bernard Reviczky holds a Doctor in laws from the University Vienna, a Master of Business Administration from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and the Austrian Bar Exam. At the moment, he is acting as general counsel of the South-Eastern Europe region at Siemens Energy. He gained his experience from both private practice at international acting law firms and inhouse counseling at international acting stock noted companies. One of his current projects is focusing on ESG topics as global co-lead at Siemens Energy

Timo Matthias Spitzer, head of legal corporate and investment banking - Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Nordic countries; Banco Santander

With a paramount reputation across geographies, multi-award-winning head of legal Timo Matthias Spitzer works at Banco Santander’s Corporate and Investment Banking division for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordic countries, where he manages legal aspects of global transactions involving many of the world’s largest multinational companies.

In addition to being a technical legal expert, Spitzer serves Santander’s business teams as a strategic partner and accountable leader, also acting as the face of the legal department at many international gatherings where he promotes the bank’s corporate values and acts as an ambassadorial networker. Spitzer recently gave the keynote speech on the evolving GC role before, during, and after the pandemic and spoke on a panel on sustainable finance at The Legal 500’s inaugural DACH Summit in Frankfurt, bringing together some of the very best in-house professionals from across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Amongst other high-profile speaking engagements, he shared his views about leadership with integrity and current ESG developments together with Professor Paul Watchman, special advisor to the United Nations on sustainability principles and Vanessa Havard-Williams, head of Linklaters ESG-Practice at The Legal 500’s Enterprise GC conference in London. Furthermore, Spitzer spoke at the COP – UN Climate Change Conference, where he explained ways in which legal departments could deliver climate action and promote understanding of net zero implications. Apart from being a highly sought-after keynote speaker, Spitzer is chairman of The Legal 500 General Counsel Powerlist Germany advisory board, a member of the General Counsel Leadership Circle and an advisory board member of diruj, the German institute for legal departments and corporate lawyers.

Keeping ties with the literary world, he is an advisory board member of Deutscher AnwaltSpiegel, Business Law Magazine, Going Digital Magazine and Sustainable Value Magazine. Spitzer is the author of “The Importance of Human Leadership with Integrity in a Highly Regulated and Tech-Reliant Corporate Environment”, as published by Harvard Business Law Review and “ESG Colour-Washing: Combating Modern-Day Corporate Hypocrisy” edited by Cambridge University Press.

Spitzer much enjoys giving back to the community as an adjunct professor of International Economic Law and board member at the Institute for Law and Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt, as well as an occasional lecturer at Harvard and Fordham Law School. He was also invited by Professor Rhishikesh Dave as a commencement speaker at Marwadi University in India, where he gave words of encouragement to a new generation of professionals.

Spitzer is currently leading a first-class, four-jurisdiction qualified legal team at Santander, including Cristina Repáraz Grávalos from Spain and Esteban Hagedorn Belmar from Chile. In a nutshell, Spitzer is a very charismatic leader who has mastered the tension between being a true business partner and also a corporate guardian focusing on compliance with laws, ethics and values, all of which are essential to creating and maintaining a culture of integrity, diversity, and sustainability.

Andrea Schwartz, in-house employment legal counsel, Western Union

Andrea is responsible for all employment and labour-related aspects of over 3.000 employees in 40+ entities in 25+ countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. She has an extensive experience in global restructurings, the sale of business lines, and cross-border M&A. Andrea frequently speaks at international conferences on international employment law and ESG.

Andrea’s main responsibilities include advising the business and the HR function on all labour and employment law matters throughout Europe and MEA; examples include hiring, performance management and termination situations, investigations and disciplinary actions, restructurings, global RIFs, individual and mass dismissals, outsourcing projects, mergers and acquisitions, rights of works council and trade unions and other employee representatives at local country and regional level. Additionally, she leads the contacts with external counsel.

Andrea earned a law degree (Mag iur) in Austria. She taught civil and contract law as a lecturer at Graz Law School. Andrea is JD in law (Dr iur) in International Antitrust law from Vienna Law School, in the joint-study program with Harvard Law School. She passed the Bar exam at the Austrian Bar Association. Andrea moved on to the partner track as an attorney in Austria’s leading boutique employment law firms, advising mainly international clients on all employment-related matters.

Manfred Klika, chief legal officer, Diamon Aircraft Industries

Manfred Klika has been head of the legal department of Diamond Aircraft Industries in Wiener Neustadt since July 2022. Prior to this, he worked for a total of almost 10 years as Group Compliance Officer at two well-known Austrian companies in the technology sector (TTTech Computertechnik) and in trade (RWA Raiffeisen Ware Austria). Manfred Klika has almost 20 years of professional experience as a trainee lawyer (with passed bar exam), in-house lawyer and compliance officer. In addition, Manfred Klika has successfully completed a course to become a certified compliance officer and holds an LLM in Competition Law from Queen Mary University in London. Since 2013, Manfred Klika has focused on antitrust law and antitrust compliance.

Mario Himmelbauer, corporate audit, compliance and data protection officer, Energie Oberösterreich

Mario Himmelbauer is a certified compliance and data protection officer at Energie Oberösterreich and is responsible for the group’s controlling compliance. A key focus of his work is the creation of group-wide guidelines and instructions on compliance and data protection and the implementation of group-wide standards such as a whistleblower protection system. He supports the business and service units in rolling out and anchoring the compliance and data protection management system and acts as an advisor in this regard. The group is divided into the segments energy, waste management, holding and services, grids and Czech Republic and is a provider of electricity, gas, heat, water as well as waste management and ICT services. The compliance management of Energie Oberösterreich is therefore located in the group holding company.

Julia Lörincz, legal and compliance officer, Austrian Airlines

Julia Lörincz is legal counsel and compliance officer at Austrian Airlines. As a certified compliance officer, she is responsible in particular for compliance at Austrian Airlines as well as for the Lufthansa sales region Europe within the group-wide compliance management system. Before joining Austrian Airlines, she worked for several years at a renowned law firm in Vienna focusing on competition law and compliance.

Valerie Hohenberg, partner, Wolf Theiss

Valerie Hohenberg is a litigation partner in Wolf Theiss’ Vienna office, specializing in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, with an emphasis on fraud and corruption cases. She is also highly experienced in domestic commercial and corporate litigation, with a focus on criminal and civil liability of directors and officers. She regularly advises banks and non-regulated companies and their boards worldwide on internal investigations and compliance due diligence projects. In 2021 Valerie was included in GIR‘s top 100 list of remarkable women in the field of white-collar law and investigations.

Paulina Pomorski, counsel, Wolf Theiss

Paulina Pomorski is a member of the IP & TMT team. She focuses on data protection and IT law, as well as on intellectual property and unfair competition law. Paulina advises on data protection law in the employment context and in connection with investigations, and on data protection, IP and IT aspects of corporate transactions. Other areas of her expertise are privacy litigation as well as e-commerce issues. Prior to joining Wolf Theiss in 2015, she gained professional experience as an associate in the IP & TMT practice at another renowned international law firm in Vienna and as a research and teaching assistant at the Vienna University’s Department for Tax Law. She also teaches courses on “Media and Communications Law” at the University of Applied Sciences, St. Pölten. Paulina is admitted to the bar in Austria and New York.

Markus Taufner, counsel, Wolf Theiss

Markus Taufner joined Wolf Theiss in 2012 and is Counsel at the Dispute Resolution practice. He advises on all areas of corporate law, business law and litigation. His main practice area is corporate litigation with a focus on shareholder disputes and directors’ liability. In addition to his Austrian doctoral degree, Markus holds a master’s degree in International Business Law from King’s College London.

Jonas Hermann, general counsel EMEA, environmental catalyst and metal solutions, BASF

Jonas is responsible for legal and compliance region EMEA for environmental catalyst and metal solutions at BASF — he is a very passionate general counsel. His experience results from senior positions held in-house, such as heading legal and compliance in Central Europe for BASF, as well as from private practice, working as international M&A and corporate lawyer at Linklaters. One of his particular interests is the ever-evolving regulatory landscape for global corporates, associated risks, challenges and opportunities and the interdisciplinary approach required to address them.

Maximilian Bülau, partner, Hengeler Mueller

Maximilian is Partner in Hengeler Mueller’s Dispute Resolution Practice in Frankfurt. Maximilian‘s practice covers a broad spectrum of complex commercial litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. He has a focus on litigating mass claims, where he is currently defending listed companies against claims based on allegedly false capital market information and claims raised in connection with a public takeover. Furthermore, Maximilian advises and represents clients in corporate and post-M&A disputes as well as disputes relating to energy supply, large infrastructure projects, joint ventures and restructuring.

Sabine Matejka, president, Austrian Association of Judges

Sabine Matejka (*1974) started her career as a project manager at the Austrian association “Center of Legal Competence”. She was appointed a judge in March 2008 and is currently head of a district court in Vienna. Sabine Matejka is president of the Austrian Association of Judges since November 2017 and vice-president of International Association of Judges since September 2021.

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GC Summit Austria 2023

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