Colombia Teams 2017 – GC Powerlist

Colombia Teams 2017

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

Abbott

| Abbott

Abbott expanded its operation in Latin America in 2014 with significant acquisitions of Chile’s CFR Pharmaceuticals and two Colombian companies, Synthesis and Lafrancol, with the latter owning brands such as...

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AIG

| AIG

One of the premier global insurance providers, AIG maintains a presence in Colombia even though a period of transformation across Latin America and elsewhere as it seeks to refocus on...

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Alpina Productos Alimenticios

| Alpina Productos Alimenticios

The Bogotá-headquartered Alpina Productos Alimenticios is the third largest dairy producer in Colombia, with annual revenues of over $700m. Operating across Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and the United States, the company...

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Altra Investments

| Altra Investments

A private equity firm specialising in buyout transactions of middle market companies, Altra invests in companies operating across most sectors and all stages within the Andean Region and Central America,...

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AngloGold Ashanti

| AngloGold Ashanti

Since beginning exploration in Colombia in 2002, AngloGold Ashanti has made significant investments into various greenfield projects in the country, which has resulted in two major discoveries – La Colosa...

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AT&T

| AT&T

The legal team covering the Northern Region of Latin America for telecommunications conglomerate AT&T is a relatively new one – in the last two years alone a third of the...

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Auteco

| Auteco

Auteco occupies an important place in the history of Colombian automotive production, being the first domestic company to successfully assemble motorbikes in the country, which it first did by producing...

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Avianca Holdings

| Avianca Holdings

Formed in February 2010 by the merger of the Colombian airline Avianca and TACA Airlines from El Salvador, Avianca Holdings is the second largest airline holding company in Latin America...

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Banco de Bogotá

| Banco de Bogotá

Financials

The oldest Colombian commercial banking institution, Banco de Bogotá operates approximately 650 branches, five corporate services centres and a banking attention centre. Since 1965 the bank’s legal team has been...

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Banco Popular

| Banco Popular

Financials

Colombia’s Banco Popular was founded in 1950 and it has been part of the conglomerate Grupo Aval, the largest financial services conglomerate in the country, since 1998. At present the...

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BancTrust & Co

| BancTrust & Co

Summing up the challenges for BancTrust & Co, a boutique Latin American investment bank, Carlos Enrique Hernández Laya, general counsel, explains how his team has led ‘the expansion of the...

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Baxter Colombia

| Baxter Colombia

Fortune 500 healthcare company Baxter provides products and services including producing medical supplies to treat haemophilia, kidney disease and provide intravenous therapy to patients across the world. Baxter’s operations in...

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Bayer Colombia

| Bayer Colombia

The Colombian activities of Fortune-listed global pharmaceutical company Bayer are supported by a team of technically competent, business-minded and thorough in-house lawyers. Rodrigo Borda Olarte – an inclusion in the...

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BBVA Colombia

| BBVA Colombia

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) is multinational Spanish banking group with a global revenue of approximately €24bn in 2015. BBVA has a widespread presence in South American countries through a...

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Bolsa de Valores de Colombia

| Bolsa de Valores de Colombia

Bolsa de Valores de Colombia (BVC), Colombia’s stock exchange, employs a strong and highly capable legal team which is tasked with promoting regulatory changes needed to advance the development of...

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British American Tobacco Colombia

| British American Tobacco Colombia

Featuring bright and talented professionals such as Monica Acosta and Jorge Andrés Torres, the legal team at British American Tobacco Colombia has made significant steps towards achieving efficiency and cost-effectiveness...

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Canacol Energy

| Canacol Energy

Based in Canada, Canacol Energy has made a significant impact on the growing Colombian Energy market in a short space of time, having only launched in the country less than...

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Caracol Televisión

| Caracol Televisión

Owned by the Valórem Business Group, Caracol Televisión is a Colombian private national television network and boasts the largest television audience in the country. To defend the broadcaster’s interests across...

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Carvajal

| Carvajal

Carvajal, together with its subsidiaries, engages in packaging, furniture, pulp and paper, communications and technology businesses. One of the few Latin American companies with a history of over 110 years,...

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CEMEX LatAm Holdings

| CEMEX LatAm Holdings

CEMEX is a multinational building materials company that was originally founded in Mexico, but now has operations in more than 50 countries and is the second-largest company of its kind...

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Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture)

| Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture)

Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (International Centre for Tropical Agriculture) is a not-for-profit research and development organisation dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger while protecting natural resources in developing countries....

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CEPSA Colombia

| CEPSA Colombia

Colombia represents a significant market for Spain-headquartered CEPSA – having 11 exploration and production projects based in the Los Llanos Basin and Upper Magdalena River Valley areas of the country....

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Chevron

| Chevron

Multinational energy behemoth Chevron is one of the largest producers of natural gas in Colombia. Through a partnership with Ecopetrol, Colombia’s national oil company, Chevron supplies almost 25% of the...

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Citi

| Citi

Having had a presence in the country since the early 20th century, the Colombian activities of international bank Citi are supported by a strongly recommended in-house legal team. From their...

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Ciudad Limpia Bogotá

| Ciudad Limpia Bogotá

Ciudad Limpia is a waste management business that operates in cities across Latin America. The Colombian legal team consists of four lawyers and one non-lawyer, who support the company in...

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Coca-Cola FEMSA

| Coca-Cola FEMSA

Food, beverages and tobacco

With a presence in Colombia for over a decade, Coca-Cola FEMSA currently operates seven bottling plants located in major production centres in the country and employs approximately 5,000 people that...

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Colombia Móvil (Tigo)

| Colombia Móvil (Tigo)

Since Millicom first established a presence in Colombia through Colombia Móvil, the Tigo brand has grown to be one of the most widely-known in the country. In 2014 the telecommunications...

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Colombina

| Colombina

Colombina is a global food company based in Valle del Cauca with more than 84 years of experience in the manufacture and commercialisation of food products. Currently the company offers...

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Corficolombiana

| Corficolombiana

Corficolombiana’s legal function, comprised of 13 employees and led by Marcela Acuña Ramirez, has gained a formidable reputation nationwide for its expertise in participating in the financing and supporting “Fourth...

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Davivienda

| Davivienda

A constituent of the Forbes 2000 global index of the most prominent companies in the world, in 2016 Davivienda posted the third largest total assets for any Colombian bank, boasting...

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Decameron All-Inclusive Hotels & Resorts

| Decameron All-Inclusive Hotels & Resorts

Led by legal vice president Juan Pablo Barrea Ulloa, the legal department at Decameron All-Inclusive Hotels & Resorts supports a hotel chain with a broad international presence that is involved...

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Diageo Colombia

| Diageo Colombia

One of the premier alcoholic distillers in the world, and until April 2017 the largest alcoholic beverage company globally by market capitalisation, UK-headquartered Diageo boasts an enviable range of brands....

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Ecopetrol

| Ecopetrol

Among the four foremost energy companies in Latin America, as well as being one of the largest globally, Ecopetrol is the chief beneficiary of Colombia’s one-million-barrel-a-day oil production and the...

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Eficacia

| Eficacia

The 14-person legal function of Eficacia, a Colombian business process outsourcing provider and the sixth largest employer in the country, is tasked with designing and structuring all internal legal processes...

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Emgesa

| Emgesa

An electric power company that supplies and markets energy throughout Colombia, Emgesa is among the largest companies in the country and the second largest generator of electricity. Belonging to Enel...

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Empresa de Energía de Bogotá

| Empresa de Energía de Bogotá

Empresa de Energía de Bogotá is the second largest company in the transmission of energy in Colombia, with a market share of 12.5%. The organisation prides itself on the sustainable...

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ETB

| ETB

ETB is one of the leading telecommunications and media companies in Colombia, operating in excess of two million telephone lines and serving TV customers throughout the country through its alliance...

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everis

| everis

Everis is a rapidly-growing, Madrid-based, management consultancy firm operating at the cutting-edge of the business and strategic solutions market. The company boasts 18,000 employees across 15 nations, and maintains a...

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Falck

| Falck

Led by Nicolas Ruiz, Falck’s legal department in Latin America has consolidated itself as a necessary business partner to the different areas of the company and is currently viewed as...

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Fox Networks

| Fox Networks

The Colombian legal unit at Fox Networks Group Latin America, a US headquartered television and media company, was set up in 2009 by seasoned professional Adriana Sinisterra to provide legal...

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Gas Natural Fenosa

| Gas Natural Fenosa

The multinational natural gas utilities organisation Gas Natural Fenosa is one of the main distributers and marketers of gas in Colombia, operating in the city of Bogotá and the municipalities...

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General Motors Financial

| General Motors Financial

General Motors Financial is the financial services arm of the global automobile manufacturer General Motors. GM Financial provides auto finance across the world, with operations in the US, Canada, Europe,...

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GLOBAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

| GLOBAL ENERGY DEVELOPMENT

As a leading Colombian developer and seller of hydrocarbon products, Global Energy Development has been exposed to declining oil and gas prices globally. Nevertheless, the company management has successfully implemented...

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Gran Colombia Gold Corporation

| Gran Colombia Gold Corporation

The legal team of Gran Colombia Gold Corp presides over an exciting operation focused on locating and mining an ever-increasing quantity of gold within the Segovia and Marmato operations bases...

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Grupo Argos

| Grupo Argos

A major Colombia-based conglomerate with significant holdings in the cement and energy sectors, Grupo Argos posted revenue figures of around COL$14 trillion, equating to around $4.5bn, and had over 11,000...

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Grupo Aval

| Grupo Aval

Grupo Aval is Colombia’s largest financial conglomerate, owning significant shares in many of the country’s most important banks and pension fund managers including Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Occidente, Banco...

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Grupo Bancolombia

| Grupo Bancolombia

Financials

Providing legal support to one of the largest commercial banking institutions in Colombia, the Grupo Bancolombia legal department has a strong country-wide reputation for the transactional expertise of its lawyers....

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Grupo Éxito

| Grupo Éxito

Under the leadership of Claudia Echavarría Uribe, Grupo Éxito’s legal team has attained considerable success in supporting the largest South American retail company. Praised by external nominators for its exceptional...

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Grupo Nutresa

| Grupo Nutresa

Described as a ‘model of legal expertise and professionalism’, the in-house legal team at the Medellín headquartered Grupo Nutresa, supports the activities of one of the largest and best-known food...

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Grupo Orbis

| Grupo Orbis

Based in Colombia, where it traces its history back to 1921, Grupo Orbis is a multinational company that has major operations centred on paints, chemicals and the production of water...

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Grupo Prodeco

| Grupo Prodeco

Grupo Prodeco, Glencore’s wholly owned subsidiary in Colombia, is the country’s third largest exporter of thermal coal, generating 17 millon tonnes each year, which accounts for approximately 22% of Colombia’s...

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GSK Colombia

| GSK Colombia

The healthcare sector is a particularly demanding sector for in-house lawyers, and global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) relies on excellent knowledge and expertise from its teams around the world to...

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Haceb

| Haceb

Medellín-based appliances company Haceb is a specialist in producing white goods including refrigerators, water heaters, microwaves and other electrical and gas appliances. Legal support to the company is headed by...

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HALLIBURTON

| HALLIBURTON

The Latin American subsidiary of Haliburton provides support services for oil and gas extraction across Colombia and the wider region. With offices in 10 of 13 countries in Latin American,...

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise

| Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s legal department was founded in 2015, when Hewlett Packard spun off into two separate companies – Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. Shortly after its inception, HPE’s...

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HOCOL

| HOCOL

Acquired by Ecopetrol in 2009 for $168m, Hocol has since operated as a 100% owned subsidiary of the largest petroleum company in Colombia. Hocol’s exploratory portfolio today includes light, heavy,...

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ibm

| ibm

Led by the dynamic lawyer Juan Pablo Ovalle, IBM’s legal department in Colombia has won many plaudits for providing strategic advice to the business, generating creative and proactive solutions to...

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Iron Mountain Colombia

| Iron Mountain Colombia

The American enterprise information management services company Iron Mountain has a strong presence across Latin America and is among the leaders in the regional storage and information service sector. Its...

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ISAGEN

| ISAGEN

One of Colombia’s largest companies in terms of energy generation, the previously state-owned enterprise ISAGEN was sold to Canadian Brookfield Asset Management in 2016 for a sum of COL$6.5tn. Headquartered...

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Itaú BBA Colombia

| Itaú BBA Colombia

Itaú BBA is Latin America’s largest corporate investment bank, and is part of the Itaú Unibanco group, one of the largest financial conglomerates in the world. The corporate investment bank...

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Johnson & Johnson

| Johnson & Johnson

Based near Cali, the history of Johnson & Johnson Colombia has been framed within a permanent and vigorous development path on the commercial, industrial, labour and corporate level. With a...

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Manuelita

| Manuelita

Headquartered in Cali, Manuelita is a leading Colombian agribusiness company selling ethanol, palm oil, biodiesel, mussels, shrimp and a variety of fruits and vegetables. In business since 1864, the company...

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MetLife

| MetLife

Since MetLife’s entrance into the Colombian market in 2010 when it acquired ALICO (American Life Insurance Company), the legal team has suffered drastic changes and recently in 2015 the newly...

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Metro de Medellín

| Metro de Medellín

Medellín’s metro system employs a strong group of lawyers to defend the company against the array of legal challenges and issues that it faces on a daily basis. Led by...

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Microsoft Colombia

| Microsoft Colombia

Microsoft’s brand is known across the world, with a revenue of $85bn generated from its IT hardware and software solutions. Protecting Microsoft’s existing products across hundreds of countries, as well...

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Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia)

| Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia)

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia) employs some of the brightest lawyers in the country’s public sector; many of them have shown a capacity to...

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MSD Colombia

| MSD Colombia

Present in Colombia for 65 years the leading global biopharmaceutical company MSD is recognised as one of the most important and innovative businesses in the national health care sector and...

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Nestlé de Colombia

| Nestlé de Colombia

Nestlé entered the Colombian market in 1922, when it introduced its first products to the country through Panama. Since officially opening its first operation in the country in 1944, the...

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Nokia

| Nokia

Nokia’s legal team in Colombia is led by Juan Pablo Guzman Perico, head of legal and compliance for Latin America. Guzman oversees a regional team that is filled we excellent...

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Odinsa

| Odinsa

The five-person legal unit at Odinsa, the leading infrastructure developer in Colombia, has facilitated several key transactions that have paved the way for the company’s strategic shift away from ports...

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Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional (OPAIN)

| Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional (OPAIN)

Operadora Aeroportuaria Internacional (OPAIN), a consortium composed of Colombian construction and engineering firms and the Swiss company Flughafen Zürich AG, is in charge of managing, modernising, expanding, operating and marketing...

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Organización Corona

| Organización Corona

The Bogotá-headquartered Organización Corona is among the largest conglomerates based in South America. Specialising in the manufacture of ceramics for the home improvement sector, the company also operates six diverse...

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PACIFIC EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION CORPORATION

| PACIFIC EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION CORPORATION

Pacific Exploration and Production Corporation, headquartered in Canada, is a global energy company concerned with oil and gas exploration and production. The company has significant operations in Colombia, many of...

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Parque Arauco

| Parque Arauco

The five-person team managing the Colombian legal affairs of Parque Arauco, a large Latin American shopping mall company, has had a fundamental impact on the corporate strategy of the business...

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PayU

| PayU

The increasing dominance of e-commerce transactions means that online payment providers are an important part of the modern financial landscape. It is fundamental to the business model of online payment...

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PepsiCo

| PepsiCo

Food, beverages and tobacco

PepsiCo’s Colombian legal function covers all legal matters faced by the food and beverages businesses of the company across the Andean region. In charge of this multi-functional team is highly-rated...

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PERENCO COLOMBIA

| PERENCO COLOMBIA

Having entered the Colombian market in 1993 following its acquisition of assets in the Llanos basin, today Perenco operates a large number of oil and gas contracts in both the...

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PETROBRAS INTERNATIONAL BRASPETRO COLOMBIA

| PETROBRAS INTERNATIONAL BRASPETRO COLOMBIA

The legal team of Petrobas International Braspetro Colombia is in charge of the management and administration of all legal and compliance matters that companies within the holding group face in...

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Philip Morris International

| Philip Morris International

Philip Morris’ legal department in Colombia has gone through a busy period in the last few years, implementing fundamental changes that enable it to effectively deal with the inherent complexity...

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Pórticos Ingenieros Civiles

| Pórticos Ingenieros Civiles

Pórticos Ingenieros Civiles is a construction company located in the city of Medellín, with more than 31 years in business and over than 300 projects such as offices, apartments, warehouses,...

#GCPowerlist Colombia Teams 2017

Praxair Colombia

| Praxair Colombia

With global revenues of over $11bn, Praxair is the largest industrial gasses company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. The activities of the company in...

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Productos Ramo

| Productos Ramo

Founded in 1950, Productos Ramo has established itself as one of the few national Colombian companies that offers competition to multinational food brands such as Frito Lay and Grupo Bimbo....

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Promigas

| Promigas

The 30-person legal department at Promigas, a large Colombian natural gas and electric energy corporation, has played a key role in the strategic direction of the company in many ways....

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Renault Colombia

| Renault Colombia

Renault has a widely respected legal function in Colombia, which has received recognition for its internal innovations and strong commercial focus. Rather than working as a back office support function,...

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Roche

| Roche

Until the start of the century, Roche’s distinctive charter in Colombia was its position in the market for syphilis, vitamins and antibiotics, incorporating the most sophisticated technological processes developed globally...

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SAP

| SAP

SAP is a German-headquartered software corporation, which has expanded its operations across the world as businesses have increasingly embraced technology solutions. As regional general counsel for Latin America and the...

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Schneider Electric

| Schneider Electric

Multinational equipment and solutions business Schneider Electric is known for its innovative approach to business solutions. The global legal team has been the recipient of a number of awards and...

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SGS Colombia

| SGS Colombia

The Colombian legal department of the world’s leading inspection, verification and certification company SGS Group was founded in 2012 as a consequence of its first major acquisition made in the...

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Siemens

| Siemens

The past few years have been highly memorable for Siemens’ six-person legal department in Colombia, as the team executed a major initiative to harmonise and simplify all of its contract...

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Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (Superintendence of Industry and Commerce)

| Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (Superintendence of Industry and Commerce)

Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (Superintendence of Industry and Commerce), the competition authority of the Colombian Government, is in charge of regulating fair business practices, promoting competitiveness and acting as...

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Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (Financial Superintendence of Colombia)

| Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (Financial Superintendence of Colombia)

Providing oversight of financial regulation and market systems across the whole of the Colombian economy, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia is a government agency that employs a large amount of...

#GCPowerlist Colombia Teams 2017

SURA Asset Management

| SURA Asset Management

Comprised of six lawyers, the Medellín-based regional legal team at SURA Asset Management is tasked with implementing strategic projects and transactions for the company and forming synergies with legal teams...

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Telefónica (Movistar)

| Telefónica (Movistar)

Branded as Movistar, Telefónica operates the local mobile network in Colombia, having purchased the entire operations of now-defunct American telecoms company in BellSouth in 2004 in a $5.8bn deal. Since...

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Terpel

| Terpel

Headquartered in Bogotá, Terpel is an oil and gas company that operates a number of different business lines: service stations, convenience stores, oils and lubricants, corporate mobility, marine solutions, aviation,...

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Terranum Group

| Terranum Group

The corporate affairs team of Terranum Group, the Colombian market leader and pioneer in the development and operation of property, is comprised of four distinct directorships according to the core...

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UNILEVER

| UNILEVER

Headed by Colombian lawyer Jorge De Los Rios, Unilever’s seven-strong Middle Americas legal team covers the entire Andean region and Central America. Over the past two years the team has...

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Unisys colombia

| Unisys colombia

The US-headquartered technology company Unisys has developed a substantial presence in Colombia, offering a range of services, software and technology solutions to a host of industries. The company’s products include...

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VETRA COLOMBIA

| VETRA COLOMBIA

A notable Colombian company within the oil and gas sector famed for its exploration and exploitation activities, the culture at the core of VETRA Colombia’s conduct is a highly ethical...

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Willis Towers Watson

| Willis Towers Watson

In keeping with the structure of the Willis Towers Watson global legal team, the Latin American team has a separate reporting line from the businesses it supports, with lawyers in...

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Yara Colombia

| Yara Colombia

Yara is the world’s largest mineral fertiliser company, which has almost 15,000 employees and sales in nearly 160 countries. Since its inception in 1905, Oslo-headquartered Yara has grown to provide...

#GCPowerlist Colombia Teams 2017

Colombia is currently the fourth largest economy in Latin America with modern and progressive institutions that have helped the country to develop out of a historically difficult period. As a result of structural reforms designed to liberalise financial markets and achieve greater competitiveness, Colombia has experienced a significant transformation, changing from a predominantly rural economy with low population density, into a diversified economy with large urban population. The last decade of Colombia’s history, in particular, has been a period of economic boom, positioning the country as one of the most promising developing markets in the world. Helped by prudent monetary and fiscal policy, Colombia has delivered one of the most solid economic performances in the region, and displayed growth rates that outpace the region’s average.

With substantial oil reserves and significant production of coal, gold, silver, platinum and emeralds, Colombia’s energy and commodity sectors still amount to the bulk of economic activity in the country. The last two decades however have also seen significant growth in modern industries, such as information technology, electronics, automotive, shipbuilding, tourism and construction. In-house legal departments, mirroring a common trend across the region, have become increasingly prevalent among businesses in Colombia, irrespective of company size and industry.

In this year’s GC Powerlist: Colombia Teams, we highlight the recent achievements of some of the most impressive legal teams in the country. These teams have brought significant value to the Colombian business world with their superior technical expertise, and have developed creative solutions to some of the most pressing legal and compliance challenges.

Over the last several months, our experienced research team has been speaking to law firm partners and in-house legal practitioners to garner nominations for those believed to provide the most outstanding support and innovative methods of working in the market. We then chose the nominees who were most worthy of inclusion through a process of background research and telephone interviews.

I would like express my gratitude to our sponsor Baker McKenzie for generously supporting our publication. A special mention must also go to the general counsel and private practice lawyers that took the time to speak to us during the research process, as well as to our research team, Boris Dechev, Joe Boswell and Jamie Rayat.

David Burgess

Publishing Director

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie logo

If we look back at the recent past and ahead towards the short and medium term future, it is difficult to imagine more interesting times for Colombia from a political, economic and business perspective. The country has come a long way in establishing itself as a credible, fast-growing and resilient economy, which is now producing world-class companies that are capable of competing at a regional and global level. Security is improving by the day; a large scale infrastructure program is finally coming together; and the government and the largest remaining guerrilla group signed and started implementing a historical peace agreement.

Investment should increase in the foreseeable future for a number of reasons: Colombia’s institutional framework, while not perfect, is robust and works reasonably well. The country has a modern central bank and orthodox monetary policy, a free and active opposition and an independent judiciary which ensures that democratic checks and balances actually operate. Colombia compares well to the region in terms of GDP growth and demographics. The exchange rate of the Colombian peso vis-à-vis the US dollar has made Colombian targets more affordable and locally produced goods should be competitive once again. A good number of 4G toll road and other infrastructure concessions have been awarded and actually achieved financial closing in the recent past. The deal with FARC and the “post-conflict” offer many opportunities for investment and growth, in sectors such as infrastructure, tourism and agribusiness and although lower commodities prices and compliance scandals have put some regional players in distress, these same factors have prompted a spike in deal making.

We cannot ignore, however, that Colombia is facing important challenges and the legal community, in particular, will play a key role in addressing them. Perhaps the most salient obstacle is the country’s tax regime, which is uncompetitive, and will continue to be uncompetitive, at least in the medium term. Since 2015 the government had committed to submitting a tax reform bill to congress aimed at restoring competitiveness without sacrificing revenue, by lowering rates and expanding the base. Thus, we were led to expect that a business that was properly paying its taxes would benefit from a noticeable reduction in its future tax burden.

A tax reform bill was indeed submitted and approved by congress, but the outcome could not have been more disappointing. Due to the global fall in the prices of certain commodities (upon which the government came to depend, in excess), and the political landscape (the rejection by referendum of the first version of the peace agreement with FARC) the government was unable – or unwilling – to push for structural changes to the tax regime. The result: the effective income tax rate for companies remains approximately the same, at least until the end of the current administration.

This obligates us to focus on the country’s many other strengths, some of which are highlighted above. They allow us to stay positive, even in the face of dire predictions by the prophets of doom. Thinking that Colombia has bright a future is not only good for business: it’s probably correct.

With 77 offices in 47 countries around the world, Baker McKenzie is the premier global law firm. Our Colombian member firm was established in 1937 and has been a part of Baker McKenzie since 1979. This means that as well as understanding where you come from and how you do business, we understand Colombia and can explain the laws, risks and opportunities in a way that makes sense for you.

At Baker McKenzie we believe that the best clients are those with which there is a good fit in terms of our culture, ethos and aims. This fit is what allows us to work well and succeed together. At this point in time, in the current juncture of Colombia’s history, we cannot limit ourselves to working together in the provision of legal services only. The opportunities and challenges referred to above give us the chance, and the obligation, to do something far more important that goes beyond the purely legal function. We like to believe that we are different in the way that we think, work and behave. We have an instinctively global perspective. Diversity is in our DNA. We are committed to developing our members as far and as fast as their talents and drive will take them. Ideas and innovation are expected. Pro bono and community service are at the top of our agenda.

GC Summit Switzerland

On 23rd November, The Legal 500 was in Zurich again to host the GC Summit Switzerland 2022.

The event gathered leading general counsel and private practice practitioners from Switzerland to exchange their views on cutting-edge legal topics. The quality of the discussions was exceptional.

The Summit opened with a session, led by Fabian Martens and Nils Harbeke, of Pestalozzi, focusing on the changes brought by ESG in the legal and tax functions. The panel, which also included Eva Frehner (Sulzer), Romana Giesen (Swisscom) and Matthias Maurer (Lonza), discussed the recent shift in the weight of ESG, changing from being  “best practice” to compulsory legal obligations. Following a comprehensive introduction, the panel explained the key legal ESG-related requirements for companies carrying out business in Switzerland, with a specific focus on competition and tax law.

Daniel Raun and Beda Kaufmann, of Advestra hosted the second panel. Along with Philippe Huber (SIG) and Robert Kuster (Zurich Insurance), they shared insightful comments on how to draft term sheets accurately and the main elements that parties should focus on at this early stage of a prospective deal.

The following session was chaired by Melissa Magliana, Daniel Lucien Bühr and Matthias Gstoehl, of Lalive. The discussion covered strategies to mitigate and manage dispute risks. The speakers examined how companies can prevent disputes, optimize amicable resolutions and prepare for legal proceedings, should they arise. Both litigation and arbitration were discussed, with a highlight on climate change litigation, stakeholder claims, and greenwashing-related enforcement.

To conclude the Summit, Irène Suter-Sieber and David Vasella, of Walder Wyss, moderated a panel that explored key issues of international private law, data protection and secrecy law, and labour, tax, and social security law, which relate to remote working from abroad.

After an excellent afternoon of exceptional panel discussions, attendees continued the conversation and enjoyed a valuable networking opportunity over Swiss gin, wine and canapes.

Thank you again to all our panellists for sharing their insights, and special thanks to Advestra, Lalive, Pestalozzi and Walder Wyss for partnering with us on this enjoyable and successful event in Zurich.