General counsel | OQ
Focus on: My career Abdulwahhab is currently the group general counsel of OQ, a global integrated energy company based and owned in Oman, managing a legal function consisting of approximately...
Vice president, general legal advisor | Saudi National Bank
Ahmed El Sayed El Hadidi specialises in banking and finance transactions, energy, construction, securities, global markets, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, trademarks, and patents. With a background spanning Saudi National...
General counsel and compliance officer | North Oil Company
Andy Russell serves as the General counsel and compliance officer for the North Oil Company (NOC). In his role, he leads the Legal and Governance Division within NOC and is...
Group chief legal and compliance officer | &e
Brooke Lindsay is the group chief legal and compliance officer of e& (formerly Etisalat Group). She started her legal career in private practice in Australia. However, her desire for new...
General counsel | Qatar Railways Company
Dominic Winfield joined the legal department of Qatar Railways Company in 2013 and was appointed general legal counsel in April 2018. He currently manages a team of six lawyers who...
Director of legal, associate general counsel EMEA | Kearney
Dr. Abobakr Dafalla is a highly educated, experienced, multicultural, and bilingual executive corporate and commercial law specialised senior legal counsel, with special expertise in project finance, PPP, M&As, and procurement...
Head of legal and compliance | Airbus Saudi
Dr. Raed Al-Saadouni, Head of Legal and Compliance at Airbus International, has led Airbus to achieve significant projects in aerospace, defence, and space across various countries, including Germany, France, Romania,...
General Counsel EAST - legal, government and regulatory affairs | The Kraft Heinz Company
Egor Nuzhdin manages the legal, regulatory affairs, and government relations, with a strong focus on ethics and compliance, security procedures, and crisis response in the region. Egor joined Kraft Heinz...
Chief legal officer and board secretary | Sohar International Bank - SAOG
Elsamawal Abdulhadi Idris is a highly proficient lawyer, with more than twenty years of diverse experience, with a special focus on banking and finance (both Islamic and conventional), corporate and...
Chief Legal, Regulatory & Corporate Governance Officer | Ooredoo Group
Hilal Mohammed Al-Khulaifi has held the pivotal role of group chief legal, regulatory and corporate governance officer at Ooredoo Group since March 2023. Before ascending to this esteemed position, he...
General counsel and head of corporate compliance Middle East and North Africa | Danone
A bilingual Egyptian qualified attorney with tertiary qualifications in law, with around 20 years of post-qualified legal experience in three Gulf jurisdictions and Egypt. Currently the general counsel and head...
Executive vice president - legal | Al Ghurair Investment
Karim has been the executive vice president, legal for Al Ghurair Investment since January 2023. Before that, he held the position of head of dispute resolution for Al Ghurair’s construction...
Head of legal | Seddiqi Holding
Khalid Khan is the new Head of Legal at Seddiqi Holding. Among other things, Seddiqi Holding owns Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the luxury watch and jewellery distributor. Khalid has more...
Head of the legal department, general counsel | OiLSERV
Marthinus Vermeulen is a highly accomplished general counsel with a robust legal background and extensive experience with multinational corporations. Having earned a law degree, a master’s degree in law, and...
Chief legal risk officer and general counsel | stc
Experienced legal leader, promoting best practices in complying with all international and local Laws. Mathad brings over 22 years of experience in various fields of law to his clients. He...
Group chief legal officer | Ajlan & Bros Holding
Matthew Donovan serves as the group general counsel and group chief legal officer (board member) for Ajlan & Bros Holding, Saudi Arabia, based in Riyadh. The group encompasses 27 distinct...
Chief legal officer and board secretary | Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)
Mohammad is a seasoned legal professional with extensive experience spanning the energy, industrial and financial sectors. Since July 2020, Mohammad has served as the Chief Legal Officer and Board Secretary...
Group general counsel | Petromin Corporation
Mohammed Jamil – Group General Counsel Petromin Corporation, which is multi-national, mobility solutions provider covering the entire mobility chain with more than 6,000 colleagues, boasting deep roots in over 40 countries...
General counsel | NEOM
Neeta Thakur is a highly skilled, dynamic, and US trained general counsel with more than two decades of international expertise spanning various industries, including industrial, manufacturing, aviation, consumer goods, FMCG,...
General counsel | Emirates Investment Authority
Rima Hadid is an accomplished legal advisor, possessing over two decades of valuable experience in both private practice and in-house roles. Her most notable experiences include serving at two prominent...
Head of regulatory affairs and privacy | Abu Dhabi Government Health Services Company (SEHA)
Robin Heads the regulatory affairs and privacy section for a prominent Healthcare system in the Middle East. He is a business-focused Legal professional, board member, and tech enthusiast with fifteen...
Group general counsel | BEEAH Group
Shaun has over 24 years of experience as a general counsel and C-suite executive, working for both public and private sectors across Australia, the UK, Europe and now the Middle...
Group chief legal and compliance officer | ADNEC Group
Simon Price is the group chief legal and compliance officer at ADNEC group and board secretary to its subsidiary, the London International Exhibition Center (known as ExCeL London). ADNEC Group...
General counsel | The Royal Commission for AlUla
Sultan S. Albooq began their academic pursuit in the field of law at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah in 2001. Building a solid foundation in the civil law system,...
General counsel - EMEA | Kyndyl
Tarek Nakkach is an award-winning General Counsel, chosen as one of the most influential General Counsel in the Middle East by the Legal 500 GC Powerlist for promoting AI, technology,...
Head of legal/ Director, legal and compliance - Middle East | Gartner
A versed and diverse multi award-winning experienced business advisor, head of legal and board member, Yosr moved in-house early on in her career and played a key part in establishing...
Managing director, legal and investments | Fajr Capital
Zahid Kamal is a Managing director at Fajr Capital and is actively involved in various aspects of Fajr Capital’s investments, including origination, execution, portfolio management, and strategic initiatives. Zahid is...
I am honoured to present The Legal 500’s eagerly anticipated GC Powerlist: Middle East 2023. This publication celebrates the remarkable accomplishments and exceptional talents of the foremost general counsel in the Middle East, a region recognised as a prominent hub for in-house legal expertise. It is no exaggeration to say that the Middle East edition is one of the standout highlights in the GC Powerlist team’s portfolio.
This edition acknowledges the outstanding ability of these legal professionals to tackle new challenges and adapt to evolving scenarios, encompassing shifting business demands, digital innovation, risk management, and ESG considerations.
What sets each edition of the GC Powerlist Middle East apart is the diverse input we receive each year. In-house lawyers featured here have something unique to share. Some have addressed specific questions, others have contributed thought pieces on their areas of expertise, while some have shared their personal journeys and the challenges they have overcome to reach their current positions, serving as a source of inspiration for their peers.
The in-house lawyers I have engaged with have actively participated in significant transactions, negotiations, and legal matters that have propelled the progress of their nations in the Middle East and advanced the interests of their global organisations. The individuals showcased here represent the most accomplished in-house legal practitioners in the region, uniting an impressive array of attributes that surpass legal expertise and exceptional skills.
One recurring theme from our research is the readiness of in-house counsel in the Middle East to embrace innovation, not only in technology but also in adapting to a new set of responsibilities that will impact the role of the general counsel in the future. As Karl Rogers, regional general counsel for Africa and the Middle East, put it: ‘In-house lawyers need to clearly understand and appreciate the business they work in. Focusing on legal issues in isolation without a deep commercial understanding limits the lawyer’s effectiveness. To some degree, technical information can be considered an area where technological advances in AI will provide low-cost solutions. The desire to learn about the business and the enthusiasm to regularly communicate with others (often outside the legal department) provide a platform for an enjoyable and successful career as an in-house lawyer and provide the human element that AI will struggle to replicate. As general counsel, my role rapidly evolved to chief integrity officer. I am regularly asked for my ‘gut feel’ or direction on what we should do, recognising how we are trained to think and assess problem-solving. We may not always come up with visionary ideas- but our opinions as commercial and experienced lawyers are considered highly valuable if we position ourselves as more than just technical experts’.
Dr. Christina Federle, head of legal and compliance for the Middle East and Africa, offers valuable insights into balancing the responsibilities of a general counsel with dispute resolution and M&A matters, emphasising the power of teamwork, cooperation, and coordination: ‘Special projects that require urgent attention need to be reconciled with the day-to-day business of the legal function. For this balance to work, the general counsel needs to build a strong team of individuals who can take over and absorb the day-to-day duties of the general counsel if the general counsel is drawn into unforeseen matters which need her urgent attention. It is, therefore, key to train my team in all of the relevant legal issues I face daily. However, it is even more important to spend time with the individual members of the team explaining the issues at play, as well as my approach to problem-solving’.
In a time when environmental awareness is of paramount importance, everyone is called upon to implement sustainable practices, including general counsel. The GC Powerlist Middle East 2023 sheds light on how these legal professionals drive and embed sustainable practices within their companies and industries. They also share the steps taken to foster a culture of inclusion and respect for diversity.
I invite you to explore the fascinating stories and perspectives of the Middle East’s leading in-house practitioners included within these pages.
On behalf of The Legal 500, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who generously shared their time and insights during the research process. Congratulations to all those featured in the 2023 edition, a testament to the top general counsel in the Middle East.
Sara Maggi| Deputy Editor – The Legal 500 GC Powerlist Series
Launched in 2005, Fichte & Co Legal Consultancy LLC has become one of the UAE’s leading law firms. Driven by passion, professionalism, and a team of over 30 dedicated local and international lawyers and counsel, Fichte & Co is a force to be reckoned with and the ‘go-to’ firm for legal advice and business support. Landmark cases include being the first law firm to successfully enforce an International Arbitration Award in the UAE Courts under the NY Convention. At Fichte & Co, we strive to keep our clients’ interests at the forefront of everything we do, and have listened and evolved to meet their needs. We owe our success to our reputation as a firm which knows how to get things done, on time and on budget. Our local know-how and network is unparalleled and, combined with our personal touch and professional ethos, this consistently ensures the best results for our clients. We are proud to say that Fichte & Co is large enough to matter but small enough to care. We regularly advise international corporations on commercial law issues and risk advisory matters, including strategic advice on business risks. Our clients have included governmental and quasi-governmental entities such as ADNOC, Oman and Dubai Drydocks, UAE Classification (Tasneef) and the Port of Fujairah. As a pioneering law firm, we aim to shape the region’s legal landscape and regulation – we are founding members of the Maritime Law Association (UAE) NPIO (which is set to become a member of the Comité Maritime International), chaired the Dubai Maritime Advisory Council (DMAC), and a have a seat on the DIFC Rules Subcommittee. When it comes to dispute resolution, we strongly believe that litigation before any court or tribunal should be the ultima ratio, and that clients’ interests are best served if we can avoid costly and lengthy trials. Our international team of legal experts is highly experienced in alternative forms of dispute resolution and arbitration, and understand that solving matters amicably not only saves clients’ time and resources, but also increases the chance of maintaining commercial relationships between parties.
The last year has seen unprecedented growth across multiple industries all over the world and the legal markets have been no exception. Businesses have needed to recruit in order to keep up with demand which includes building and retaining teams of lawyers. We have seen huge development across several industries such as TMT, financial services, energy and defence sectors. Public sector and government spending across the Middle East on a wide array of giga, infrastructure and investment projects, has both grown economies and kept private sector organisations very busy. The GCC nations have demonstrated their capabilities with an exceptional bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, as they continue their transformation journeys whilst achieving all time economic highs.
Taylor Root is honoured to be part of The Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Middle East 2023 as we gather to celebrate the accomplishments of in-house counsel professionals and acknowledge their pivotal roles within their respective organisations. Congratulations to those who earned rankings in this year’s The Legal 500 GC Powerlist: Middle East 2023. Despite the challenges that persist in our ever-evolving world, lawyers continue to play a vital role in guiding transformation and driving progress.
About Taylor Root
We are a global legal, risk and compliance search and recruitment consultancy and have been a market leader for more than 30 years.
We help businesses to build and expand their legal, risk, compliance and corporate governance functions. Whether you’re hiring your first In-house Counsel, expanding your in-house team in a certain practice area, or expanding your risk department internationally, we partner with you at every step of your journey.
Our services include contingent and retained search, permanent, temporary and interim recruitment as well as consultancy solutions.
Wherever we operate we have made an impact, from Düsseldorf to Dubai, New York to Shanghai or Milan to Melbourne. From pioneering specialist recruitment in particular locations, to shaping how our clients have approached hiring, our influence is evident everywhere.
Today, we have 16 international offices – a truly global network of search and recruitment experts. Put simply, no one can match our global reach, or our history.
Please do contact us any time to discuss your legal, compliance or risk recruitment needs.
Director, Head of In-house Legal
Middle East, Turkey and Africa
+971 4 448 7770
Associate Director, In-house Legal
+971 4 447 0318
The Legal 500 granted the Ankara in-house community exclusive access to the groundbreaking GC Summit, an event dedicated solely to delving into the crucial legal challenges and opportunities faced by in-house legal specialists in the Turkish capital.
Setting the tone for the event, Murat Yazıcı, the founder of Yazıcı Attorney Partnership, delivered a compelling opening keynote address. He passionately explored the active role that general counsel can and should play in today’s dynamic world, addressing the imminent challenges on the horizon.
Throughout the day, we were privileged to glean insights from eminent private practice attorneys at Erciyas, Çakmak Avukatlık Ortaklığı, Gonen Law Office, and Tunca Attorney Partnership. Additionally, the perspectives and ideas of senior in-house attorneys from renowned companies such as LG Electronics, KİBAR Holding A.Ş., Hyundai Assan Otomotiv San. ve Tic. A.Ş., Rönesans Holding, Akfen Holding, Pragma, Gülermak Group, Kalyon Holding, Alacer Gold Madencilik A.Ş., COB Tüprag, and Limak Group of Companies, among others, enriched our understanding. The Istanbul Arbitration Centre also made valuable contributions.
The agenda encompassed a diverse range of topics, including navigating internal challenges with insights from leading in-house counsel; exploring current trends and sectorial insights in M&A transactions with a focus on key elements for a successful deal and legal challenges; mastering the art of crafting effective contracts by navigating drafting, negotiations, and key considerations; and delving into strategic investment dynamics in mining and energy, where discussions centered around navigating legal frameworks, building trust, and managing public perception for in-house success.
Bringing the event to a powerful conclusion, Başak Gürbüz, Visa’s principal regional counsel, delivered an inspiring presentation. She summarized the day’s key insights and explored the pivotal role of in-house counsel in today’s ever-evolving landscape, offering valuable insights on managing organizational expectations effectively.
We are grateful for the excellent response from sponsors, speakers and delegates.
Finally, we’d like to thank the moderators and panellists who helped construct a great program that ensured the summit’s success and enabled all of you to attend.
Until the next time, take care.