Amanda Devonish – GC Powerlist
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Australia 2022

Energy and utilities

Amanda Devonish

Company Secretary and Senior Corporate Lawyer | Santos

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    Australia 2022

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    Amanda Devonish

    Company Secretary and Senior Corporate Lawyer | Santos

    What are the most significant cases and/or transactions that your legal team has recently been involved in?

    2021 was a significant year for the Santos legal and company secretarial team. We supported a range of material transactions and initiatives to assist Santos to continue to achieve its ESG goals and deliver its Transform, Build, Grow strategy. Of most significance was the delivery of the merger with Oil Search Limited pursuant to a scheme of arrangement whereby Santos acquired all the issued shares in Oil Search. The merger created a regional champion of size and scale elevating Santos to the ASX top 20 and included a dual listing on the PNGX and change of share registry services provider. Critically, we also continued to support and facilitate the board performing its role and discharging its duties which has been particularly challenging during the pandemic. We also successfully delivered our second online annual general meeting amidst an evolving regulatory framework and rapidly changing Covid environment.

    How do you feel the pandemic has changed the world of work for in-house counsel and the function of the general counsel?

    The pandemic has fast tracked the adoption of digitised processes and tools across Santos and the in-house legal and company secretarial function is no exception. Video conferences are now part of everyday business and the modernising of legislation addressing electronic execution of documents and electronic communications to shareholders are welcome changes. These sorts of developments make it easier to work anywhere and at any time which facilitates flexible working practices. Of course, like many things, there needs to be balance as these technological advancements can also create an environment where it is difficult to ‘switch off’ and make it harder to separate work from other aspects of our lives. The pandemic has also added considerable workload to be managed without additional resources. To keep across current COVID requirements, often meaning multiple contingency plans are required to ensure that deliverables and timetables are not compromised.

    Looking forward, what technological advancements do you feel will impact the role of in-house legal teams in the future the most?

    There is still lots of opportunity for technology to assist in-house legal teams to increase efficiency in delivery of routine or business-as-usual tasks ensuring lawyers can focus on the work that adds the most value, drawing on their unique knowledge and understanding of the business to do so. After two years of pandemic, I think we have also learned that there is no substitute for people being in a room together at least some of the time. The challenge going forward is getting the balance the right between embracing technology and recognising the value of human interface in our transactions and interactions.

    Amanda Devonish - Australia: Rising Stars 2019

    Senior corporate lawyer and assistant company secretary | Santos Limited

    Since April 2012, Amanda Devonish has served as senior corporate lawyer and assistant company secretary of Santos, having previously worked in-house and in private practice in Abu Dhabi with Abu...

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