April 28, 2022On leaving comfort zones and finding opportunities in times of change Q: Tell Us About Your Professional Background, Giving An Overview Of Experience As Both External And In-House Counsel. I hold a master’s degree in Business Law, University of Paris II Panthéon – Assas (Paris – France), and a postgraduate degree in Corporate & Tax Law, University of Paris IX Dauphine (Paris – France). I was a member of the Paris and Luxembourg Bars. Prior to joining Nestlé MENA, I worked for nine years as a lawyer at leading law firms and as in-house legal counsel for multinational groups headquartered in Paris and Luxembourg. I have gained considerable experience in advising, both as an external and as an in-house counsel, on all areas of business law with a focus on the legal considerations of mergers, acquisitions, cross-border acquisitions, corporate restructurings and commercial transactions. I am currently the Head of Legal & Compliance of Nestlé for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market (covering 19 countries). Based in Dubai, I advise on all areas of business law with a focus on commercial, contracts, corporate matters, antitrust, corporate governance and compliance. Q: You Have Built A Career Across Multiple Jurisdictions And Now, As Head Of Legal And Compliance Of Nestlé – Mena Market, You Manage A Practice Area Equally Traversing Borders. What Challenges And Opportunities Have These Experiences Provided You? In-house lawyers, like other functions, are not immune from the human tendency to “do what you know” rather than “do what the job demands.” When I decided to relocate abroad, I was leaving my comfort zone as I would...
March 6, 2022Q: Tell Us A Little About Your Professional Background And How You Came To Be In Your Current Role? I started my career as a lawyer specializing in capital markets, banking and corporate. After 5 years in private practice, I moved in-house, starting in a local pharma company, followed by P&G and Heinz, before joining Unilever Indonesia 6 years ago as the senior legal person. My experience in Unilever includes partnering for the Home Care business in SEAA for about 3 years, before taking on a new responsibility in 2020 as the corporate secretary (Unilever Indonesia is a major publicly listed company in Indonesia). I’m currently the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Unilever Indonesia. Q: How Big Is Your Team And How Is It Structured? Unilever Indonesia is a USD 2.5 billion company. There are 5 senior lawyers that directly report to me and 1 junior lawyer, with agile working principles, supporting the senior lawyers. We also have 1 senior compliance person leading the business integrity agenda. Our legal team may be lean compared to other companies of the same size. The idea for this structure is for the in-house counsel to take more strategic roles, so as to create more value for our business partners. Q: What Are The Biggest Challenges Facing In-House Lawyers Today? The biggest challenge is to integrate more into the business, becoming a risk artisan while still working within the boundaries. This is a real challenge because, as lawyers, we are used to precedents which have trained us to be prepared for the worst-case scenario of certain issues. We also often separate ourselves...
August 16, 2021IHC: WHAT IMPACT WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAVE ON THE FLEXIBLE LEGAL SERVICES MARKET? Nair: The new way of working only reinforces what we have known for some time: that flexible working and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive! Clients are now much more open to consultants supporting them from other jurisdictions and, given the advances in communication technologies, teams can still collaborate without needing to be onsite and physically present. This opens a whole new world of opportunity for legal consultants and gives clients access to a much wider pool of talent. IHC: WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES FOR IN-HOUSE COUNSEL AT THE MOMENT, AND HOW ARE YOU HELPING YOUR CLIENTS MEET THOSE OBJECTIVES? Nair: We are lucky to have the opportunity to speak with legal leaders across a range of industries to better understand their most pressing issues. Pinsent Masons’ flexible resourcing unit Vario is now comprised of Brook Graham (Pinsent Masons’ specialist Diversity & Inclusion consultancy), Client Consulting and Legal Project Management. This puts the firm in a unique position to speak to clients about matters beyond the more traditional remit of the legal team. Most seem to agree that, while we won’t soon see a return to the more buoyant market conditions of early 2019, we must accept our new environment and find ways to operate within those parameters. Some of those priorities are sector specific while others transcend industry lines. For example, because of the pandemic, there is a renewed focus on Health and Wellbeing along with ensuring employees feel well supported as they navigate the challenges of working from home or supporting sick family members. Several...
July 7, 2021Q. Give Us An Overview Of Your Role As In-House Counsel In The Energy Sector, In Particular. What Sort Of Work Are You And Your Team Often Called Upon To Help Solve? DNV is a leading global independent expert in risk management and quality assurance. We provide services to various fields including energy and maritime. Our regional legal teams support DNV’s business areas in the Middle East and Asia Pacific with day-to-day issues, but also strategic and regulatory matters. The team includes five lawyers with diverse legal and cultural backgrounds working from Shanghai, Singapore, and Dubai. We support DNV’s operations during the contracting phase to guard against legal uncertainties during or after service delivery and on regulatory matters. For DNV’s Energy Systems, our lawyers work closely with the energy contracting section, which is a global team of highly skilled contract advisors. Q. What Are Some Key Trends You Are Keeping An Eye On In The Overall Energy Sector? The larger trend for the energy sector and wider society is the shift towards more sustainable energy solutions and decarbonization. Much of the energy industry changed significantly in 2020. DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook (ETO) 2020, where we present an independent, model based forecast of the world’s most likely energy future through to 2050, found that energy-related CO2 emissions peaked, brought forward five years by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are now seeing lower demand and lower prices for fossil fuels and many governments are pushing plans to stimulate their economies using policies and investments designed to “green” their energy systems. Similarly, our ETO data also found that Covid-19 reduced global energy demand...
June 23, 2021Q: Tell Us A Little About Your Professional Background And How You Came To Be In Your Current Role? I am currently the Asia Pacific Regional General Counsel for Cargill. I have direct and indirect responsibility for the entire Asia Pacific Law team made up of more than 50 lawyers and legal personnel located in Singapore (where I am based), India, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, China, Japan and Korea. I began my career in a boutique law firm in Singapore where I learned to apply legal critical thinking and develop my technical skills for negotiating deals. In my mind, the best deal is done when all parties go away feeling they have snagged a good deal for themselves and no one feels ripped off. After about six years at a private practice, I moved to my first in-house role with some amount of trepidation since I had no idea how it might change my career path. Over the course of the next 17 years, I worked with three different companies with a diverse and evolving portfolio across three different continents. In those roles I developed a keen interest in how the law interacts with business, the importance of diversity and inclusion and the dynamics of leadership and talent management. Q: What Aspects Of Your In-House Role Do You Most Enjoy? I see myself as a “strategic dots-connector” when I help businesses achieve a commercial goal or when I guide my law team to make good judgment calls. I am a corporate commercial lawyer by training and have always enjoyed the process of understanding objectives, figuring out the crux of issues...
April 28, 2021This In-House Insight was published in IHC eMagazine Vol1, Issue 1. to read the full magazine, please click here. Carina Wessels is the Executive: Governance, Legal & Compliance at Alexander Forbes and Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. Q: Tell us a little about your professional background and how you found this present role? I am grateful for a varied career, which truly made me a well-rounded and commercially minded executive. I’ve managed company aircraft, balanced scorecard facilitation and coordination, managed SAP projects, bespoke 20 keys (similar to the Toyota production system principles) and performed many continuous business improvement interventions. Over the last 14 years, I was principally involved in the governance, legal and compliance disciplines. And after a decade and a half in the mining industry, I moved to financial services in 2017 (Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Limited) as Group Company Secretary. Six months later, I was the Group Company Secretary and General Counsel and a year after that I became the Executive of Governance, Legal and Compliance. Q: How big is your team and how is it structured? I have 26 people in the bigger team, most directly managed by Fiona Rollason, Head of Legal and Group Insurance, Shabnam Parker, Chief Compliance Officer and the Assistant Group Secretary/Assistant General Counsel. But that last position is presently vacant. Q: What are the biggest challenges for in-house lawyers? Establishing a solid and mutually supportive relationship with business is a constant challenge. This is especially true if in-house lawyers aren’t commercially minded or focused on enabling legal solutions. The ability to operate in “the grey” is crucial. Also,...
Singapore In-House Outbound Forum, 2023
June 21, 2023
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September 6, 2023
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October 5, 2023
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December 6, 2023
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Hong Kong In-House Community Congress, 2022 (in-person)
November 15, 2022
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October 12, 2022
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