The Legal 500 is delighted to formally announce the return of GC Summit Belgium, taking place on 14th March 2023, in Brussels.
GC Summit Belgium looks at Belgium 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, Loyens & Loeff, Mayer Brown, White & Case, Altius and Diligent, this event will include a series of panel sessions covering a variety of cutting edge and up to date topics for discussion.
This includes how companies can best contractually foresee sustainability targets and pass them on to the supply chain, managing international disputes, FDI and the practicalities of adapting to a new M&A landscape, the growing importance of ESG and the role that GCs play, the latest merger control updates, and overcoming regional 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 Belgium and the wider Benelux region who are aiming to reach the next level of their professional development.
12.15pm – 12.50pm Registration
12.50pm – 1.00pm Welcome Address and Introductory Remarks
- Nathan 0seroff-Spicer, research editor, GC Powerlist/GC Magazine, The Legal 500
1.00pm – 1.25pm Opening Presentation: Global supply chains and fair working conditions: the Employment Law take on sustainability
Philippe De Wulf, partner at Altius, will open the GC Summit – Belgium event by presenting on global supply chains and fair working conditions, as well as how employment law relates to sustainability within the modern corporate environment. De Wulf is an expert in both contentious and non-contentious employment matters across a broad range of sectors, as well as pensions-related issues of M&A and restructuring.
- Philippe De Wulf, partner, ALTIUS
1.25pm – 2.15pm The impact of ESG on shareholder activism
In this interactive presentation, Thomas Lenné and Mathias Hendrickx (partner and senior associate at Loyens & Loeff, respectively) will discuss the impact of ESG on shareholder activism, as well as address live audience polls and questions thereon. This session will address the major concerns in-house counsel may have regarding shareholder activism.
- Thomas Lenné, partner, Loyens & Loeff
- Mathias Hendrickx, senior associate, Loyens & Loeff
2.15pm – 3.05pm The new Belgian FDI Regime and its practical implications
During White & Case’s panel, The new Belgian FDI Regime and its practical implications, five White & Case experts and Caroline Kindermans, Group Head M&A Legal of Ageas Group, sit down to discuss the new Belgian screening mechanism that is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2023. This panel will be relevant to any in-house counsel that wants to stay on top of issues concerning foreign investments/subsidiaries.
- Thierry Bosly, partner, White & Case
- Carlo Meert, partner, White & Case
- Philippe Hendrickx, local partner, White & Case
- Nick Hallemeesch, senior associate, White & Case
- Aleks Stadnik, senior associate, White & Case
- Caroline Kindermans, group head M&A legal, Ageas Group
3.05pm – 3.20pm Coffee Break
3.20pm – 4.10pm Planning transactions when faced with a landscape of growing uncertainties: An insight into merger control review
Mayer Brown’s panel on planning transactions and merger control features Sarwenaz Kiani and Andrea Pomana, counsel and partner at Mayer Brown, interviewing a broad range of experts in merger control, including Joanna Huang, Global Legal Head of Eurofins; Grania Holzwarth, Head of EU competition policy at Telekom; and Ulla Schwager, Head of Unit D% at DG COMP. Expect a lively conversation on a broad range of related issues of interest to all corporate lawyers.
- Sarwenaz Kiani, counsel, Mayer Brown
- Andrea Pomana, partner, Mayer Brown
- Ulla Schwager, head of Unit D5, DG COMP
- Grania Holzwarth, head of EU competition policy, Deutsche Telekom
4.10pm – 4.40pm Boards & Governance: Keeping up with Stakeholder Demands in this time of risk uncertainty
In The Legal 500’s Fireside Chat, Hajo Jansen, Diligent’s Regional Vice President, Western Europe, and Kristof Macours, Euroclear’s Company Secretary, sit down with Nathan Oseroff-Spicer, Research Editor for GC Magazine / GC Powerlist. Topics that will be discussed include how to navigate and curate the information your organisation needs to remain vigilant on stakeholder sentiment, preparing for upcoming regulations and stakeholder expectations, how to keep the board informed and manage a potential crisis, and the role of the board to drive performance and keep up with stakeholder demands.
- Hajo Jansen, Regional Vice President, Western Europe, Diligent
- Kristof Macours, company secretary, Euroclear
4.40pm –5.30 pm How companies can best contractually foresee their sustainability targets and pass them on to the supply chain (pitfalls, best practices, etc.)
Loyens & Loeff return for a broad-ranging discussion on how companies can best contractually foresee their sustainability targets. Partner Stéphanie De Smedt and senior associate Sarah Benzidi of Loyens & Loeff will give a brief presentation, then will sit down with five experts across the spectrum of ESG and sustainability issues. The panel will detail the in-depth personal experiences of some of the leaders in the ESG industry, thus Catham House Rules apply.
- Stéphanie De Smedt, partner, Loyens & Loeff
- Sarah Benzidi, senior associate, Loyens & Loeff
- Anca Plovie, global lead ESG counsel, Nokia Corporation
- Fabienne de Blois, associate director, S-RM
- Marie van In, head of compliance, Allnex
- Nadia Adjeroun, legal counsel sustainable finance, Belfius Bank
- Arie Van Hoe, executive manager, law & business, VBO-FEB
5.30pm – 5.35pm Closing Remarks
5.35pm – 6.30pm Networking Drinks
Stéphanie De Smedt, partner, Loyens & Loeff
Sarah Benzidi, senior associate, Loyens & Loeff
Sarwenaz Kiani, counsel, Mayer Brown
Sarwenaz Kiani is a counsel in Mayer Brown’s Antitrust practice in the Düsseldorf and London offices. Being qualified in Germany and the United Kingdom, Sarwenaz advises on a wide range of EU, German and UK antitrust law questions with a specific focus on transactions and merger control proceedings. Sarwenaz routinely advises clients on questions regarding multijurisdictional filing assessments, gun-jumping and clean teams as well as merger control proceedings to the EU Commission, the UK CMA and the German Bundeskartellamt. Sarwenaz is currently seconded to the Washington DC office where she is working among other on US merger control matters. Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 2021, she worked for a renowned international law firm in their London and Frankfurt offices. Sarwenaz has studied law at the Humboldt University in Berlin and was awarded a Master degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris.
Prior to joining Mayer Brown in 2021, she worked for a renowned international law firm in their London and Frankfurt offices and as trainee at the EU Commission and in an international law firm in Paris. In addition, she has gained in-house experience on a client secondment with a global consumer goods manufacturer. Sarwenaz has studied law at the Humboldt University in Berlin and was awarded a Master degree (Master of European Law) from the Sorbonne University in Paris.
Nathan Oseroff-Spicer, research editor, The Legal 500
Nathan often contributes long-form articles and research reports to GC Magazine on topics ranging from ESG and legal tech to corporate finance and real estate, as well as developing GC and Private Practice Powerlists. He joined The Legal 500 in 2019 as a researcher/writer for The Legal 500 rankings. He has dealt with practice areas for numerous countries in Western Europe, the Nordics and Baltics, Eastern Europe, Australia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia, and has also covered parts of the London Bar.
He was promoted to research editor in early 2022. Nathan has been quoted in and provided background for several articles in English newspapers and magazines regarding a diverse range of topics, including the ethics of private funding of research in higher education and critical analysis of data presented in the UK government’s 2021 report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. He is a native English speaker, but conversationally fluent in both German and Spanish, although he is still working constantly on improving both.
Thomas Lenné, partner, Loyens & Loeff
Thomas is a partner in the Corporate and M&A Practice Group advising corporate clients, private equity funds and family offices. He is a recognised expert in corporate M&A and Private Equity with more than 17 years of experience.
His practice focuses on cross-border and domestic M&A and Private Equity transactions. He has a particular focus on acquisitions, disposals, management buy-outs and joint ventures. He also advises on corporate restructurings.
He works across several sectors, such as energy, technology, healthcare, mining and natural resources, manufacturing, packaging and construction.
In his field of expertise, Thomas is recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners (Global & Europe).
Mathias Hendrickx, senior associate, Loyens & Loeff
Mathias Hendrickx, attorney at law, focuses on domestic and international M&A, private equity and equity capital markets. He is a senior associate in the Corporate and M&A Practice Group in Belgium. Mathias is also a member of the Private Equity Team and the Capital Markets Team.
Mathias’ areas of specialism include domestic and cross border mergers and acquisitions (including public company takeovers), equity capital markets, private equity investments and restructurings.
He represents both listed and private companies and private equity firms in an array of Belgian and cross border transactions, transactions with restructuring elements and large-scale projects.
Philippe De Wulf, partner, ALTIUS
Philippe advises and assists Belgian and international corporations as well as senior executives in non-contentious and contentious employment matters across various sectors from ICT and automotive to retail, hotels and chemicals. He has particular expertise in the employment, social security and pensions aspects of mergers and acquisitions and workforce restructuring.
As an experienced litigator, Philippe represents clients in a wide range of employment and social security disputes.
Having worked for both Belgian and international law firms, Philippe has considerable experience of cross-border employment situations. Over the years he has developed a particular interest in issues relating to the use of new technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence) in the workplace.
Philippe is a regular seminar speaker and regularly publishes articles on employment law-related topics.
He is a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), the ‘Vereniging Sociaal Recht’, the ‘Vereniging van Praktijkjuristen in Sociaal Recht’, and the European Employment Lawyers Association.
Andrea Pomana, partner, Mayer Brown
Dr. Andrea Pomana is a partner in the Antitrust & Competition practice of the Brussels office. She has over 15 years of experience working in Antitrust & Competition and has worked at top law firms in Brussels and Frankfurt.Andrea advises on European and German antitrust law and foreign direct investment. She has extensive experience in complex, cross-border transactions and merger control proceedings before the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office. Andrea advises on aspects related to the abuse of a dominant market position and focuses on such issues arising out of the digital and tech space. Her practice also focuses on antitrust investigations, compliance management systems and compliance trainings. She has particular experience advising in the fields of chemicals, energy, aviation, automotive, technology, defence as well as private equity. Andrea is a Non-Governmental Advisor of the European Commission to the International Competition Network.
Hajo Jansen, Regional vice president, Western Europe, Diligent
Hajo Jansen is VP Western Europe at Diligent Corporation, the leading provider of modern governance software and insights. He assumed his role at the beginning of 2021 and leads all aspects of new client acquisition and expansion for the full breadth of Diligent’s solutions in the EMEA-West region. Previously served as CCO at EXIN and Managing Director EMEA at Viatech Publishing Solutions. Received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing/Communications from the University of Applied Sciences The Hague, in the Netherlands.
Thierry Bosly, partner, White & Case
Partner Thierry Bosly is Global Co-Head of White & Case Private Equity Industry Group, Head of Private Equity for the EMEA region, as well as Head of the BeLux Transactional Practice.
Thierry is highly regarded, with more than 30 years of experience in the resolution of complex cross-border transactions, advising private equity and venture capital firms, family offices, global and European-based investors and other financial sponsors. Clients praise his “very high capacity to understand clients’ goals and transform them into legal advice.”
Thierry is amongst the most influential private equity lawyers on the EMEA market, leading one of the largest, fastest growing and most successful teams on the European private equity scene. He is consistently recognized by Legal 500 as “Leading Individual”, and was included in the list of the ‘Fifty Most Influential Lawyers’ in Europe by Financial News in 2022.
Given his vast experience on high-level cross-border deals, Thierry is confronted on a daily basis to FDI questions, which are now integrated in the auction process strategies
Carlo Meert, partner, White & Case
Carlo Meert is a partner in the BeLux Transactional practice and the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Practice at White & Case Brussels.
Carlo advises private equity firms and corporates on cross-border transactions, particularly mergers & acquisitions and corporate finance transactions, as well as advising on general corporate matters.
Over the past years, Carlo has advised on some of the most significant M&A and private equity transactions in Belgium. He is ranked as ‘Up and Coming’ by Chambers Europe 2021 and Chambers Global 2021 for Corporate/M&A in Belgium and is a ranked as “Rising star” by IFLR1000 for M&A in Belgium
Philippe Hendrickx, local partner, White & Case
Phillippe is a local partner in the BeLux Transactional practice and the Global Mergers & Acquisitions practice at White & Case Brussels.
Philippe advises clients on all aspects of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, equity issues, joint ventures, and private equity transactions in various sectors in both a Belgian and international context.
Apart from transactional work, Philippe also advises on general corporate law matters, insolvency law aspects and corporate governance issues for listed and non-listed companies.
Nick Hallemeesch, senior associate, White & Case
Nick is a senior associate in the BeLux Transactional practice and the Global Mergers & Acquisitions practice at White & Case Brussels.
Nick advises listed and private companies on all aspects of mergers and acquisitions and corporate law, and has a particular expertise in corporate governance and shareholder rights. Nick has authored a monograph on shareholders’ agreements, for which he was awarded the international Pierre Coppens Prize in 2020. He regularly publishes articles on company law, corporate governance and commercial contracts in both national and international legal journals. Nick is a lecturer at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), where he teaches international company law and corporate governance in the LL.M. in International Business Law. Prior to joining White & Case, he worked as a doctoral researcher at KU Leuven and as an assistant professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.
Aleks Stadnik, senior associate, White & Case
Aleks is a senior associate in the Corporate and Private Equity practice at White & Case and is based in Abu Dhabi.
Aleks advises clients on a broad range of corporate transactions, including private equity and international M&A, across a number of industry sectors. She has an in-depth understanding, and significant practical experience, of working with a range of financial sponsors both in the Middle East and internationally, including clients such as Mubadala, ADQ, PIF, CVC and Goldman Sachs.
Prior to joining the UAE practice, Aleks worked in White & Case’s London office.
Aleks previously spent ten months on secondment to Mubadala, followed by three months at Mubadala’s subsidiary, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSD (Masdar).
Caroline Kindermans, group head M&A legal, Ageas Group
Caroline Kindermans is the Group Head M&A Legal at Ageas Group, a Belgian-based global leading insurance company.
Caroline started her career in 2010 as a Corporate M&A lawyer at White & Case before joining another leading international law firm in 2013. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious Prince Albert Fund grant, reserved to Belgian professionals under 30 for their international business projects. She joined Ageas in this context, as a member of the Strategy and M&A team in the Asia regional office of the company, in Hong Kong. Since her return to Brussels in 2018, Caroline has taken the role of Group Head M&A Legal and is in this capacity overseeing all legal aspects of Ageas’ global M&A activities.
Caroline has worked on many transactions in Asia, including transactions in India, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Vietnam and developed a strong expertise on the impact of FDI regimes on transactions.
Joanna Huang, global legal head, Eurofins Scientific
Joanna’s role has her overseeing global legal risk management and strategy with the objective to secure and promote the entrepreneurial business model of the Eurofins network of 1000 subsidiaries. Since joining three years ago, her role has expanded outside of purely legal matters to encompass heading the global data governance function and leading process transformation & communications for the Group. She works directly with the Group Executive Committee and presents regularly at their meetings, as well as to the Board of Directors and at broader global and regional leadership seminars.
Prior to her in-house role, she worked for eight years at two international law firms in Washington, D.C. and Brussels in competition & antitrust, focusing on M&A and cartel investigations in the US, EU, and many other jurisdictions around the world. She has also litigated two cases in front of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Joanna is a Canadian with a J.D. from Duke University School of Law and is a member of the District of Columbia and Maryland Bars. Over the span of her education and career, she has lived in Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, France, and the U.S.
Anca Plovie, global lead ESG counsel, Nokia Corporation
Anca Plovie is the Global Lead ESG Counsel of Nokia. She has multi-jurisdictional expertise in telecommunications and technology law, public policy law, privacy law, cybersecurity law, having provided specialized guidance to the Nokia group during the most significant regulatory changes and events of the past 8 years, such as the GDPR, Brexit and the COVID crisis. Previously, she worked as a regional legal counsel for Alcatel-Lucent and a tax lawyer for two Big Four companies. Her diverse experience provided her with a solid background for her current function where she is focusing on sustainability and responsible technology, supporting Nokia’s global efforts to meet ambitious ESG goals. Anca is also involved in policy and standardization efforts in AI and AI ethics. She holds Belgian and Romanian law degrees from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Sibiu.
Fabienne de Blois, associate director, S-RM
Fabienne has spent over twelve years working on human rights, political, civil society and anti-bribery issues in the MENA region. She joined S-RM in 2018 and now manages a team of eight. She works with clients to understand and address the human rights and environmental impact of their operations. She also helps financial institutions and the public sector understand the provenance of private funds from the Middle East, with a particular focus on war economies.
Prior to joining S-RM, Fabienne was a MENA-focused researcher and case manager at two UK-headquartered global risk consultancies, delivering complex human rights due diligence, deal advisory, litigation support, regulatory compliance and asset providence assessments for high profile corporate, public sector and institutional clients. She joined the industry having worked as a TV producer and teacher in Syria between 2008 and 2011 and then as freelance journalist, focusing on labour rights in informal workforces in Jordan, in 2012. During this time, she also worked as a research assistant for a well-established UK-based Egyptian political scientist and with the Danish Refugee Council on project focused on statelessness in Libya.
Fabienne holds a BA in Arabic and Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Ulla Schwager, head of Unit D5, DG COMP
Ulla Schwager holds the position of deputy head of DG COMP’s unit D.6 in charge of mergers relating to financial services, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Since joining DG COMP in 2012, Ulla has worked in various positions in the field of EU merger control. Prior to joining DG COMP, Ulla worked for nearly four years as associate expert in UNCTAD’s competition and consumer policy branch, supporting developing countries and economies in transition in the design and implementation of competition law and policies. At the start of her professional career, Ulla worked for two-and-a-half years as a German qualified lawyer in the Brussels antitrust, competition and trade practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, LLP. As a graduate of the Franco-German legal studies organised by the university of Cologne and Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Ulla holds a maîtrise en droits français, and an LLM from the university of Cologne. She subsequently passed the two German legal state exams in Berlin.
Grania Holzwarth, head of EU competition policy, Deutsche Telekom
Grania Holzwarth is head of EU competition policy for Deutsche Telekom in Brussels. As part of the international competition team at DT, her focus has been on ongoing competition cases in the field of telecoms mergers and antitrust cases in the ICT sector in the EU and US, as well as the development of competition policy in the context of digitalisation.
Beyond that, she is the Chair of ETNO´s Competition Policy Taskforce and the Vice Chair of ICLA’s EU chapter.
Marie van In, head of compliance, Allnex
After having graduated from Louvain law school in Belgium and pursued her legal studies in Germany and in Cambridge UK, Marie started practicing law in a Brussels law firm (1988-95). Thereafter she joined the legal department of UCB (1996-2005). Once Cytec acquired the chemicals business from UCB, Marie became the division counsel for specialty chemicals at Cytec (2005-2013). Further to the 2013 acquisition (by a private equity fund) of Cytec‘s Coating Resins business (rebranded as Allnex), Marie became responsible for the HR function within Allnex until the end of 2016. Early 2017 Marie moved back to the legal department as Allnex’s deputy general counsel. End of 2021 Allnex became part of PTT GC and Marie became Allnex’s global head of compliance.
Arie Van Hoe, executive manager, law & business, VBO-FEB
Arie Van Hoe is executive manager law and business at VBO FEB. As the voice of business in Belgium, VBO FEB defends the interests of over 50,000 small and large companies at federal, European and international level. Arie is member of the Belgian Corporate Governance Committee, responsible for drafting and monitoring of the Belgian Corporate Governance Code. Previously, he was active as a lawyer and academic.
Nadia Adjeroun, legal counsel sustainable finance, Belfius Bank
Nadia Adjeroun has several years of international experience in banking and capital markets, corporate law, governance and sustainable finance. After having practiced in law firms in Luxembourg, she held various in-house positions in the financial and energy sectors in Belgium, building expertise in financial markets, lending transactions and corporate governance. She currently acts as ESG legal expert within Belfius Bank, where she supports the implementation of the bank’s strategic sustainability ambitions, managing legal risks and monitoring the regulatory developments around sustainable finance and responsible investment. She fosters cultural and societal change through DE&I advocacy and volunteering. She earned a masters’ degree in law and is as a Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA).
Kristof Macours, company secretary, Euroclear
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Loyens & Loeff is an international law and tax firm with cross-border expertise in a wide range of sectors. As a leading firm, Loyens & Loeff is the logical choice for a legal and tax partner if you do business in, or from, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the firm’s home markets. You can count on personal advice from any of our 1,000 advisers based in one of the firm’s offices in the Benelux, Switzerland or in key financial centres around the world. Clients benefit from top-level advice thanks to the firm’s full-service practice, specific sector experience and thorough understanding of the market.
As a fully independent law firm, Loyens & Loeff is excellently positioned to coordinate international tax and legal matters. The firm has a network of offices in major financial centres, staffed with specialists in Dutch, Belgian, Luxembourg and Swiss law. The firm’s office network is complemented by its numerous region teams, all of which are experienced in structuring investments all over the world. Moreover, the firm is on excellent terms with other leading independent law firms and tax consultants. That way, Loyens & Loeff assists national and international clients in the most efficient way in every part of the world.
White & Case is a global law firm with longstanding offices in the markets that matter today. Our on-the-ground experience, our cross-border integration and our depth of local, US and English-qualified lawyers help our clients work with confidence in any one market or across many.
We guide our clients through difficult issues, bringing our insight and judgment to each situation. Our innovative approaches create original solutions to our clients’ most complex domestic and multijurisdictional deals and disputes.
By thinking on behalf of our clients every day, we anticipate what they want, provide what they need and build lasting relationships. We do what it takes to help our clients achieve their ambitions.
Mayer Brown is a distinctively global law firm,
uniquely positioned to advise the world’s leading companies and financial
institutions on their most complex deals and disputes.
With extensive reach across four continents, we are the only integrated law
firm in the world with approximately 200 lawyers in each of the world’s three
largest financial centers—New York, London and Hong Kong—the
backbone of the global economy.
We have deep experience in high-stakes litigation and complex
transactions across industry sectors, including our signature strength, the
global financial services industry.
Our diverse teams of lawyers are recognized by our clients as strategic
partners with deep commercial instincts and a commitment to creatively
anticipating their needs and delivering excellence in everything we do.
Our “one-firm” culture—seamless and integrated across all practices and
regions—ensures that our clients receive the best of our knowledge and
An independent Belgian law firm, ALTIUS knows the Belgian and European legal scene inside-out. Pragmatic, professional and personal, every lawyer on the 90-plus team brings their own brand of passion and expertise to the job at hand. At ALTIUS, we do legal differently. Going the extra mile and challenging the status quo is the way we work with every colleague, client and business partner. Our service is unique in today’s legal space. Open minds and bold ideas – that’s what makes us so much more than great lawyers.
Our know-how and expertise is second to none and we look at your business from two different angles: legal practice and industry sector. Our teams of specialised lawyers are additionally grouped into dedicated, cross-specialty, industry-focused teams. And to quote one of our clients in their very own words, “[ALTIUS] makes the legal aspect of our business fun, comprehensible and exciting”. Whether you are looking for a dedicated legal specialist or a team of industry insiders, at ALTIUS, we have your legal issue(s) covered.
Diligent is the global leader in modern governance, providing SaaS solutions across governance, risk, compliance, audit and ESG. Serving more than 1 million users from over 25,000 customers around the world, we empower transformational leaders with software, insights and confidence to drive greater impact and lead with purpose. Learn more at diligent.com.