Leonor Pissarra – GC Powerlist
Iberia 2022


Leonor Pissarra

Country chief legal officer | Novartis Farma – Produtos Farmacêuticos

    Team size: Five

    What are the most significant cases or transactions you and your team have been involved in?

    2021 was the year of success; Novartis successfully concluded a very important embezzlement case. Our in-house legal team fully handled this case. Our team also led the restructuring of the company, involving downsizing 20 percent of workforce in Novartis. Our legal support was essential to minimise the negative impact for the company’s activities. Whilst supporting the company’s business model transformation, we provided constant legal advice to protect Novartis’ IP rights, for instance, we successfully defended Novartis’s exclusivity rights on this specific product which was challenged by one of the company’s competitors.

    Even in the best-case scenario, Covid is likely to have far-reaching ramifications. How are you safeguarding the long-term health of the business?

    Since the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, our top priority has been the health and safety of our associates. We accordingly implemented several health and safety measures, including the supply of personal protective equipment, the five-golden rule procedure, and some relevant changes in workplaces (desks and meeting rooms) to help our employees to better for their social distancing. The lockdowns and remote working have significantly impacted on mental health of our people. To remedy this, we took initiatives of organising virtual social gathering and regulator team meetings with senior management. In addition, we provided employees’ wellbeing programs and hosted career development events in town halls with special guests including renowned public health physicians. Our industry kept operating normally and did not suffer much from the Covid-19 pandemic. As a multinational company, we have a strong local presence in the countries where we operate, allowing us to support the local businesses efficiently using our internal resources. The legal team’s deep understanding in our business needs enabled us to respond to a wide range of internal issues quickly and proficiently. In addition, with the increasing risk of cyber-attacks under the remote working environment, we have implemented awareness campaigns in the company to mitigate potential risks.

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

    Novartis is committed to developing data and digital transformation for the future. As a legal team, we are fully aligned with the company for this strategic pillar. We believe that the effective use of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) will enable in-house lawyers to spend their time in more value-added work by cooperating with business functions in the design of innovative solutions. By implementing a new contract management tool tailored made to our practice, I believe it can take the company to the next stage of development.


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