France 2018 – GC Powerlist

France 2018

Agnès Bardel

Head of legal | idverde

Commercial and professional services

As head of legal for idverde – a European leader in landscape construction projects and grounds maintenance services based in the UK and France – Agnès Bardel regularly proves her...

#GCPowerlist France 2018

Alexander Lunshof

Group chief legal officer | Essilor Group


CAC-listed eye care solutions provider Essilor Group is a historic French company that occupies an enviable position as a world leader in the field of ophthalmic lenses and optical equipment....

#GCPowerlist France 2018

Alexandre De Tourtier

Group general counsel | SoLocal Group

Sports and media

Having joined SoLocal Group, a leader in digital communication, in 2005, Alexandre De Tourtier has gained thorough experience of the company’s operations whilst also building his reputation as a highly...

#GCPowerlist France 2018

Alexandre Menais

Executive vice president, group head of M&A and corporate development and group general counsel | Atos

Information technology

Atos is a world-leading international information technology company, providing digital transformation services to clients all over the world across a wide variety of market sectors, and is listed in the...

#GCPowerlist France 2018

Anne-Sophie Le Lay

Executive vice president corporate secretary | Air-France- KLM

Transport and infrastructure

A major global air transport player, Air France-KLM is a Franco-Dutch airline holding company incorporated under French law. In February 2018, the organisation recruited the highly regarded in-house lawyer Anne-Sophie...

#GCPowerlist France 2018

Editor Message

Deadline, hashtag, business, digital. All words rejected by the Académie Française as suspicious Anglicisms. The term general counsel (GC) may soon be added to that list. Increasingly, France’s senior in-house lawyers are preferring to call themselves GC rather than directeur juridique. Of course, when speaking to an English-language publication this might be expected, but even our French-speaking researchers noted that GCs described their role using English phrases like ‘business partner’ or ‘strategic advisor’.

The fashion for English loan words in commercial settings may be partly to blame for this shift, though the change in terminology likely reflects the increasingly non-legal aspects of the GC role. From dealing with questions of ethics and corporate conduct to a rising tide of regulatory enforcement and understanding how new technologies will impact their businesses, GCs are stepping far outside their professional training. It certainly feels like there has been a conscious effort on the part of French GCs to differentiate themselves from the historical stereotype of the legal director as a corporate record keeper who plays little part in the wider organisation.

Indeed, a number of the GCs profiled here were closely involved in matters their organisations tend to describe as ‘existential’, from marquee deals to high-stakes litigations and dealing with new regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As a result of this work, several of the GCs profiled here have achieved recognition in France’s wider business press.

The GC Powerlist: France highlights this transformation while celebrating the leading figures of France’s vibrant in-house community. Research involved canvassing the opinions of leading law firm partners and in-house counsel alike, as well as analysing the career trajectories of the candidates considered for inclusion to identify those GCs that have made a truly lasting contribution to their organisations.

With thanks to our sponsor DS Avocats, we celebrate the rise of les GCs.

Editor |

Sponsor Message

DS Avocats

DS Avocats logo

Slow growth in Europe, and particularly the Eurozone has dominated headlines for so long that one could be forgiven for thinking European businesses have backtracked. France is often singled out as a case study on how low growth, high state expenditure, and heavy regulations have caused businesses to regress. As this Powerlist demonstrates, the reality is quite different.

France is home to some of Europe’s largest and strongest companies, producing goods and services that are in global demand. France is also recognised as a European centre for innovation, with high-growth technology companies which form a booming and visible part of the French economy. Moreover, French businesses are staffed by managers and professional advisers who are widely considered to be amongst the best in the world; French corporate counsels are no exception. To stand out from the crowd in this environment takes a rare combination of technical knowledge, commercial acumen, strategic wisdom, and interpersonal and managerial skills.

DS Avocats is delighted to support the GC Powerlist France and help recognise the leading figures of France’s internationally-renowned in-house community. A strong and vibrant French economy is key to the future of Europe, and those featured in this list will play an important role to prompt the ‘French Touch’ even further. DS Avocats shares their passion, their thorough knowledge of the various sector specifics, and their excellent advice and innovative approaches to law which enhance the businesses within their strategic growth and reinforcement of their market position. Like those featured in this Powerlist, we are constantly reflecting on various improvements of the legal services we provide through efficient methods as well as the role of the attorney within a changing business world.

However, we also believe that legal advice should be provided as simply as possible, without a vision of ‘over-simplification’. The interests of businesses are not served by avoiding the complexities of law. Professional advisers who can contribute to the success of a transaction, of a business or a strategic plan without losing sight of the legal complexities that may arise are truly unique. The members of
this Powerlist have all managed to achieve this in their own way. We at DS Avocats share their approach.

We should not limit the professional relationship between law firms and clients to a simple commercial approach, but rather create a long-term relationship based on trust and viability. Sharing the same values as those individuals we represent is key to a collective future profession of the law.

On behalf of all the partners at DS Avocats, I would like to congratulate the corporate counsels included in this year’s GC Powerlist for France.


DS Avocats est particulièrement fier de s’associer à The Legal 500 encore pour cela initiative exclusivement dédiée à la distinction des directeurs juridiques.

Cet événement majeur nous offre l’occasion d’appréhender, ensemble, la meilleure façon de relever les défis de notre temps.