Event information

Date: Thu 14 Mar 2024 Time: 12.30pm-7.00pm Venue: Hotel Bristol Vienna, Kaerntner Ring 1, Vienna, Austria, 1010

The role of general counsel and senior in-house legal advisors is constantly evolving to meet the rapidly changing demands of organisations in today’s business world. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day legal challenges affecting the business and managing legal staff, in-house lawyers are expected to diversify their service offering in order to overcome a growing list of commercial challenges. Whether it is managing internal investigations, defending their company in cross-border disputes, handling complex data or adapting to the shifting trends in M&A, the required skillset of the profession is developing at an exponential rate.

The Legal 500’s GC Summit Austria 2024 invites the most esteemed in-house counsel from the country’s most prolific companies, and leading practitioners to discuss their changing roles as in-house leaders and the challenges, issues and opportunities they are set to face in 2024 and beyond.

Between comprehensive panel discussions, presentations and the opportunity to meet and engage with fellow in-house counsel, GC Summit Austria promises to be a practical, forward-looking event bringing together the region’s top legal minds.


12.30pm – 1.00pm Registration

1.00pm – 1.10pm Welcome Address and Introductory Remarks

Legal 500 GC Powerlist editor Joe Boswell will introduce the day’s agenda before handing over to our keynote speaker, Stefan Wochinz, legal counsel and compliance officer at Vaillant, who will speak about some of the challenges and opportunities facing in-house counsel in Austria, to set the tone for the Summit.

  • Stefan Wochinz, legal counsel and compliance officer, Vaillant.

1.10pm – 1.40pm With the rise of technology, is it now easier to protect your brand? 

What are the best practice benchmarks for trademarks, anti-counterfeiting and licensing in a world where technology means that maintaining ownership of intellectual property is harder than ever? In this expansive discussion, Alina Alavi Kia and Roman Heidinger of CERHA HEMPEL will provide the audience with a thorough overview of brand protection requirements in Austria, and give a roadmap for successfully shepherding a brand through new technological developments.

  • Alina Alavi Kia, attorney at law, CERHA HEMPEL
  • Roman Heidinger, attorney at law, CERHA HEMPEL

1.40pm – 2.30pm ESG litigation, Greenwashing and supply chain due diligence – How to effectively manage the corporate (criminal) risks ahead

Featuring a speaker lineup boasting extremely diverse experience and a topic that opens up multiple avenues of conversation, this panel will tease out a number of issues that are likely to be at the forefront of the minds of corporate counsel in the near future. As new supply chain due diligence requirements begin to take hold in Austria across Europe, strategies for ensuring business-as-usual will be outlined, with concrete examples given throughout.

This panel will be conducted in German.

  • Simone Petsche-Demmel, partner, petsche pollak
  • Andreas Pollak, partner, petsche pollak
  • Amanda Neil, general counsel, Head Group
  • Nicole Bäck-Knapp, owner and managing director, Ecker & Partner
  • Alice Fremuth-Wolf, market head of Austria & the CEE region, Nivalion

2.30pm – 3.20pm The opportunities, challenges and risks of using AI tools for and in legal departments

As AI capabilities appear to improve exponentially, it seems inevitable that organisations will come to increasingly rely on it, even to support critical functions. At the same time, recent and upcoming regulatory initiatives on both EU and national level mean a potential compliance headache. This panel aims to explore regulatory risks linked with the use of new AI technologies by leveraging the experiences of an extremely well-regarded speaker lineup.

  • Andreas Schütz, partner, Taylor Wessing Vienna
  • Axel von dem Bussche, partner, Taylor Wessing Hamburg
  • Prof. Dr. Clemens Heitzinger, co-director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (CAIML), TU Wien
  • Alexander Sammer, head of legal and investigations, The National Anti-Doping Agency – Austria
  • Dr. Peter Lohberger, head of legal, Wiener Wohnen Hausbetreuung GmbH

3.20pm – 3.40pm Coffee Break

3.40pm – 4.30pm Carve-Outs – rising trend: Key success factors and best practice

In an increasingly challenging M&A environment, carve-out transactions have become an attractive option not only for financial but also strategic investors. Given that carve-outs tend to be more challenging than an acquisition of stand-alone businesses, the panel will discuss the key structuring considerations as well as practical and legal issues that must be overcome. The panel will also focus on the planning, due diligence and documentation of carve-out transactions, and touch upon selected issues regarding effective integration.

This panel will be conducted in German.

  • Philipp Stanek, counsel,  Baker McKenzie
  • Sophie Schubert, senior associate, Baker McKenzie
  • Dr Franz Fazekas, vice president & head of legal global, ams OSRAM
  • Michael Stelzel, head of compliance, Hoerbiger Group of Companies
  • Klemens Keferboeck, vice-president, legal and general counsel, Magna International

4.30pm – 5.20pm Legal Resilience in Mergers & Acquisitions: Managing Risks and Opportunities in a Volatile Market

The discussion will take a broad look at M&A issues, focusing on the key challenges which clients and their advisers face executing deals in the current climate. The panel will also consider strategies for addressing a variety of deal-related uncertainties to enhance and create value and provide a range of insights – from the investment bank, legal and broader advisory perspectives.

  • Andrea Gritsch, partner, Wolf Theiss
  • Florian Kusznier, partner, Wolf Theiss
  • Victoria Corley, general counsel, Enery Development GmbH
  • Dr. Alexander Schall, general counsel, UniCredit Bank Austria AG

5.20pm – 5.50pm Austrian Business Crime Laws – complex, costly and elaborate?

This panel will be conducted in German.

  • Simone Petsche-Demmel, partner, petsche pollak
  • Andreas Pollak, partner, petsche pollak

5.50pm – 7.00pm Networking Drinks


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.

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.

Philipp Stanek, counsel, Baker McKenzie

Philipp Stanek is a member of Baker McKenzie’s Tax Practice Group in Austria. Prior to joining the Vienna office in 2016, he was a senior consultant at a Big Four professional services firm. He works and teaches at the University of Salzburg and frequently publishes articles in professional journals and legal commentaries.

Philipp concentrates on a broad spectrum of corporate and international tax law. He is seasoned in reorganizational tax law and the taxation of mergers & acquisitions.

Sophie Schubert, senior associate, Baker McKenzie

Sophie Schubert is a senior associate at Baker McKenzie and a member of the Corporate Practice Group in Vienna. She joined Baker McKenzie’s Vienna office in August 2014.
Sophie advises domestic and international clients on corporate restructurings, corporate reorganizations, M&A transactions and all aspects of general corporate law. Furthermore, she assists clients in a broad range of compliance and dispute resolution matters, including internal investigations.

Andreas Schütz, partner, Taylor Wessing Vienna

Andreas is the head of the firm’s data protection team and the Logistics & Transport sector in CEE and a highly-regarded IP and IT partner working across a number of sector groups. Andreas has been recognised as an “IP Star”, and will provide you with effective advice on all aspects of IT law.
Andreas is a versatile lawyer who also works across our environmental, planning and regulatory, and consumer and retail groups. He applies his expertise in IP and IT law to guide clients  through data protection, software licensing and distribution, advertising or unfair competition matters, e-commerce and GTCT. He also has years of experience in procurement and food law.

Joe Boswell, global editor - Powerlist Series, The Legal 500

Joe Boswell has been a part of The Legal 500’s editorial team, specialising on the in-house legal community, for more than seven years. He now heads The Powerlist team, acting as chief editor for the over 40 separate editions of the GC Powerlist series which serve as The Legal 500’s flagship title celebrating the world’s top in-house counsel, as well as Global Editor for The Legal 500’s Private Practice Powerlist Series.

During the course of researching for the GC Powerlist series, Boswell has interviewed a vast number of world-renowned general counsel, chief legal officers, and legal directors about overcoming the challenges they face, their legal innovations, and how they see the general counsel role progressing in coming years. As well as this, he is a regular speaker at Legal 500 summits, roundtables, award ceremonies and other events, and often writes in-depth reports on business and legal issues.

Boswell is an alumnus of both the University of Sussex in The United Kingdom and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in The Netherlands.

Axel von dem Bussche, partner, Taylor Wessing Hamburg

Axel is a specialist lawyer for information technology law in the Technology, Media & Telecoms practice group. He advises clients on national and international digital and data protection projects and is a recognised IT law and GDPR expert.
With his many years of experience and outstanding expertise, Axel routinely guides clients on the provider and user side through complex, international transactions, contract drafting and regulatory issues. He advises corporations on the transformation towards digital and global business models, supports companies in the implementation of AI and data protection regulations, is a strategic advisor to management on compliance in digitalisation and conducts negotiations with the relevant supervisory authorities.

Mag. Alina Alavi Kia, attorney at law, CERHA HEMPEL

Alina is an attorney at CERHA HEMPEL. Her practice areas include IP, unfair competition and media law with a strong focus on trademark and anticompetitive infringements. She advises clients on various trademark matters, e.g. trademark strategy, opposition and cancellation proceedings. Alina further advises clients regarding the protection of their trade secrets and know-how. In addition, she regularly publishes on current case-law in these areas of law.

Dr. Roman Heidinger , attorney at law, CERHA HEMPEL

Roman Heidinger is an attorney at CERHA HEMPEL. His focus lays on IT law, IP law and unfair competition. He regularly advises national and international clients in the field of trade mark law. In addition, he teaches IP law at the University of Göttingen (Germany), where he was a researcher prior to joining CERHA HEMPEL. He also publishes regularly in the fields of his specialisation and is a member of the editorial advisory board of two legal journals. Furthermore, he is co-organiser of the largest event on IT law in Austria.

Dr Franz Fazekas, vice president & head of legal global, ams OSRAM

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.

Michael Stelzel, head of compliance, Hoerbiger Group of Companies

Klemens Keferboeck, vice-president, legal and general counsel, Magna International

Dr. Klemens Keferböck is a seasoned legal professional with over two decades of expertise under his belt already. Currently serving as Vice President Legal and General Counsel at Magna International, a position he has held since 2014, Keferböck has exhibited exemplary leadership and legal acumen throughout his time with the company. Having joined in 2008, Keferböck has consistently grown his responsibilities, contributing significantly to the company’s legal strategy and operations. On the private practice side, Keferböck’s legal journey has included stints at renowned firms such as Binder Grösswang, WilmerHale, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Andrea Gritsch, partner, Wolf Theiss

Andrea Gritsch is a member of the financial sector team, as well as the firm’s Management Board. Andrea has a strong focus on the financial industry and specializes on cross-border M&A, distressed situations including NPL, corporate and financial restructuring, banking and financial services as well as regulatory compliance. Her clients include banks, financial institutions, insurance undertakings, strategic and financial investors as well as private equity. Andrea is also active in the fast-evolving area of financial technology (FinTech), assisting regulated and non-regulated businesses in digital transformation and taking up new technologies.

Florian Kusznier, partner, Wolf Theiss

Florian Kusznier heads the firm-wide Corporate/M&A team and specialises in cross-border M&A transactions, takeovers and start-up services. He advises strategic and financial investors in a range of industry sectors but has a particular focus on healthcare and life science, as well as on technology and digitalisation. Florian regularly publishes on healthcare, corporate and takeover law as well as on selected capital markets topics.

Victoria Corley, general counsel, Enery Development GmbH

Amanda Neil, general counsel, Head Group

Amanda Neil is General Counsel of the Head Group. Prior to joining Head, she was Special Counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she specialised in international commercial and investment arbitration, with a particular focus on ESG issues, and also sat as arbitrator and tribunal secretary. Amanda is qualified as a solicitor in both New South Wales, Australia and England and Wales.

Nicole Bäck-Knapp, owner and managing director, Ecker & Partner

Nicole Bäck-Knapp is the owner and Managing Director of Ecker & Partner, one of the largest PR and Public Affairs agencies in Austria. The graduate political scientist with a master’s degree in integrated communication has been working in PR for 25 years, including more than 20 years on the agency side. She is a proven expert in Litigation PR and one of the editors of the book „Litigation PR – Storytelling, Strategie & rechtlicher Rahmen“ (translated title: “Litigation PR – storytelling, strategy & legal framework”).

Nicole Bäck-Knapp is also Deputy President of the Austrian Public Affairs Association (ÖPAV) and teaches Policy Communications at the FH Campus Wien.

Alice Fremuth-Wolf, market head of Austria & the CEE region, Nivalion

Alice Fremuth-Wolf is Market Head of Austria & the CEE region at Nivalion. Before joining Nivalion, Alice was Secretary General of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) for 10 years. She is a lecturer for arbitration at the Institute of Civil Procedure Law at the Law Faculty of Vienna University, and frequently acts as guest lecturer. She has authored numerous articles and books on arbitration and ADR. In addition to her academic career, she worked as an associate for the leading law firms Wolf Theiss and Baker McKenzie in Vienna where she passed the Austrian bar exam, acting as counsel and arbitrator in international arbitration and mediation cases. Alice graduated in law from Vienna University (Mag. iur.), holds a PhD in law (Dr. iur.) and an LL.M. degree (London School of Economics). She is also a trained mediator and mediation advocate. She speaks German and English.

Prof. Dr. Clemens Heitzinger, co-director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (CAIML), TU Wien

Clemens Heitzinger is Co-Director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (CAIML) at TU Wien and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science (Informatics) at TU Wien.

Clemens Heitzinger received both his master’s degree (Dipl.-Ing.) in applied mathematics and his PhD degree (Dr. techn.) in technical sciences with highest honors from TU Wien. He was a visiting researcher in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Arizona State University, a research associate in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, and a senior research associate in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical

Physics (DAMTP) at Cambridge University. In 2015, he returned to TU Wien as an associate professor. He is also Adjunct Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University. He was awarded the START Prize, Austria’s most prestigious award for young scientists, by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in 2013. He is author of “Algorithms with Julia” (Springer, 2022).

His research interests are reinforcement learning and uncertainty quantification (in particular Bayesian inversion) with applications in the sciences, medicine, and engineering.

Alexander Sammer, head of legal and investigations, The National Anti-Doping Agency - Austria

Alexander Sammer is the Head of Legal and Investigation of the National Anti-Doping Agency Austria for more than 10 years. He is responsible for conducting doping proceedings against athletes and heads the Intelligence and Investigation department for the detection of Anti-Doping rule violations as well. At international level, he is a member of the Sport Human Intelligence Network of the World Anti-Doping Agency and Steering Committee Member of the Anti-Doping Intelligence and Investigation Network as well as part of the Advisory Group on Legal Issues of the Council of Europe. Prior to joining NADA Austria, he gained experience in the regulatory field and worked for corporate legal departments in an international context.

Dr. Peter Lohberger, head of legal, Wiener Wohnen Hausbetreuung GmbH

Dr. Peter Lohberger is a recognized expert in IT and data protection law. He has several years of professional experience from an international law firm. He also worked in leading legal positions in big corporations for many years.

Currently, Peter is the head of the legal department (incl. compliance & insurance) at Wiener Wohnen Hausbetreuung GmbH, arbitrator at the Vienna International Arbitral Center, self-employment data protection officer and founder of a whistleblower platform.

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GC Summit Austria 2024

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