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Former Karsan Automotive Head of Legal Ibrahim Onur Baysal has joined Erdem & Erdem as a Partner and Head of the firm's Capital Markets practice.

DWF has announced that former Mostostal Warszawa Legal Department Director Marcin Bisikiewicz will soon be joining the firm's Dispute Resolution and Arbitration department in Poland as a Partner.

Turkish lawyer Meltem Azbazdar has relocated to Hamburg, Germany, to take the role of General Counsel Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, and MENA at Diageo.

Former Clifford Chance Senior Associate Rafal Burda has joined Orlen Synthos Green Energy as Head of Legal in Poland.

Nasa AIK Banka Head of Legal Aleksandra Hercl has joined Mindful Finance as Remote Head of Legal and as the Co-founder of Tesla Faktoring.

Polish lawyer Ewa Dziuban has rejoined Swiss Life Global Solutions as its Chief Compliance Officer in Luxembourg.

Vodafone Hungary Head of Regulatory Magdolna Csomor has joined 4iG as Deputy Head of Group Regulatory.

Ozlem Barut has joined the International Finance Corporation as a Counsel in the compliance department.

Pinar Ozercan has joined Jaguar Land Rover as Legal Transformation and Compliance Lead.

Katarzyna Kucharczyk has joined Orsted as Senior Legal Counsel in Warsaw.

G+P Law Firm Senior Partner John Giannakakis has joined ELTA Hellenic Post as its Chief Legal Officer.

Former Prime Kapital Development real estate development and M&A Lawyer Alexandru Coras has returned to private practice by joining Stalfort Legal-Tax-Audit in Romania as a Partner.

Former IBM Associate Partner Marcela Kanova has returned to private practice by joining Rowan Legal as a Partner in Prague.

Cansu Telli has joined SST Technology as Legal Counsel in Turkey.

Former HSBC Senior Legal Consultant Nazli Tonuk Capan has joined Sadik & Capan as its Managing Partner.

Former Baltic International Bank Management Board Member Maris Liguts has returned to private practice by joining the Riga office of Fort Legal as a Partner, starting May 2023.

Former Polish Development Fund Managing Director Legal Joanna Dynysiuk has joined FTF Services as its General Counsel/ Head of Group Legal in Warsaw.

Former Huawei Legal Director Alina Antonie has joined the Bucharest office of DLA Piper as a Counsel.

Former RWS Language Services Legal Director Nada Matusikova has been appointed Co-Head of Legal at the RWS Group.

Strategyzer has appointed Joanna Czaplicka to Head of Legal in Warsaw.

Microsoft has appointed Romanian lawyer Gabriela Popescu to Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Head, Central Europe.

British American Tobacco has appointed Zora Ilic as its Head of Legal and External Affairs for Adria Cluster.

CIG Pannonia Insurance has appointed David Kozma as Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

ISS Turkey has appointed Gamze Sandurac Baykal to Chief Legal Officer in Istanbul.

3M Hellas has appointed Antigone Papangelopoulou as the Country Leader in Greece.

Paysafe has appointed Vienna-based Christopher Fisher to Associate General Counsel & Senior Vice President.

Takeda has appointed former Dubai-based Head of Ethics & Compliance, ICMEA Gonca Sonmez Uyguc to Senior Director in Istanbul.

Delivery Hero has appointed Katalin Kiss as Director, Interim Head of Corporate Law in Berlin.

First Investment Bank has appointed Anton Petrov as Chief Compliance Director in Bulgaria.

Molson Coors Beverage Company's former CEE Region Legal and Corporate Affairs Director Anton Karlov has been appointed Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer, EMEA APAC Division within the company.

Adam Grzeskiewicz has been appointed to Head of Legal & Corporate Relations at DNB Bank Polska.

McKinsey & Company has appointed Burcu Karaaslan Altan to Assistant General Counsel in Turkey.

Fresenius Medical Care has appointed Belgrade-based Mirko Lalatovic to the role of Head of Compliance, Central & South East Europe, EMEA.

Metro A.E.B.E. has appointed Dimitris Smirnis to Executive Director - Legal & Government Affairs.

Former MET Group Senior Legal Counsel Daniel Varga was appointed as the company’s new Green Assets Division Legal Director.

Organon has appointed Miray Turkmen to Legal & Compliance Director, MENAT & South Africa.

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Latest Interviews

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In 2019, the In-house Counsel’s Section of the Budapest Bar Association was established to create a knowledge exchange platform for in-house lawyers. Tunde Hegyi, Corporate Senior Counsel at the MOL Group, who is also President of the In-house Counsel’s Section of the Budapest Bar Association, describes the initiative. 

In July, CEE Legal Matters reported that Vasile Tiple, the first in-house counsel and former General Counsel of UiPath, had left that role to become the company’s Head of Legal Automation. Tiple reports on the recent launch of the sArb - Simplified Arbitration Reference Facility software robot that was developed by UiPath for the Bucharest International Arbitration Court.

The “Financial Shield” programs are a part of the Polish Government-established “Anti-Crisis Shield” aid program, implemented by the Polish Development Fund. The programs, worth PLN 100 billion, aim to protect the labor market and to ensure companies’ financial liquidity in periods of severe economic disruption. Joanna Dynysiuk, Head of Legal, Anna Wawrzynczak, Office Director – Legal Office – Corporate, and Anna Blonska, Office Director – Legal Office – Investments, describe the programs and the legal work behind it.

The role of Internal investigations in an effective compliance program remains critical despite the significant impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting work-from-home set-ups. Altug Ozgun, Ethics & Compliance Director, explains how he runs them for Astellas Pharma.

John Giannakakis, General Counsel of the Andromeda Group, shares his insights on data protection and cybersecurity compliance issues – made all the more pressing in a COVID-19 context – and the best practices he has developed for assessing risks and nurturing a compliance culture.

Marianna Erdei, Country Legal Director at EY Hungary, shares the unique challenges of managing the legal matters of a professional services company – with a legal services arm.

The MET Group is targeting EUR 1 billion in M&A deals over the next few years. Dora Szebeni, Group Head of Legal M&A, explains what it means to oversee a series of high-value transactions.

Crenguta Catanea, Head of Legal at Romprest, draws from her in-house and consultancy experience to emphasize how important it is for GCs to train themselves to be taxation/fiscal-literate – and how they should develop that capability.

Christian Blatchford, General Counsel at Energo-Pro, explains how he goes about selecting external advisors – and what he wishes private practice lawyers would do differently.

On March 17, CEE Legal Matters reported that Adon Legal has advised Taiwanese capital company FinCause on obtaining an electronic money institution license from the Bank of Lithuania. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Waylon Yeh FinCause Founder and Member of the Management Board to learn more about the matter. 

On May 2, CEE Legal Matters reported that Zivkovic Samardzic has advised Fifth Quarter Ventures on the legal process for becoming an alternative investment fund in Serbia. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Pedja Predin, Co-Founder & General Partner at Fifth Quarter Ventures, to learn more about the matter. 

On November 23, CEE Legal Matters reported that Cobalt had advised BaltCap Latvia Venture Capital Fund and funds managed by Imprimatur Capital, together with other shareholders, on the sale of Blue Bridge Technologies to Everfield. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Henning Schreiber, Head of Acquisitions at Everfield, to learn more about the acquisition.

On February 3, CEE Legal Matters reported that Walless had advised the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant on a project tender for reactor dismantling technology design services. CEE In-House Matters spoke with INPP CEO, Audrius Kamienas to learn more about the matter.

On February 16, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons had advised a banking consortium on their EUR 155 million financing for the 103.3-megawatt Krivaca wind farm project co-owned by Serbia’s MK Group and Slovenia’s ALFI Green Energy Fund. The lending consortium consisted of Erste Group Bank, Erste Bank Novi Sad, and other banks. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Ladislav Tolmaci, Executive Director at Erste Bank, to learn more about the financing. 

On March 3, CEE Legal Matters reported that BPV Grigorescu Stefanica has advised Omnia Capital on its acquisition of Dumagas from Bancroft. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Matei Ladea, Chief Evangelist at Omnia, to learn more about the acquisition.

On February 21, CEE Legal Matters reported that Tokushev & Partners and Musseva & Ivanov had helped MFG Ins obtain an insurance license from the Financial Supervision Commission of Bulgaria. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Ivelina Kavurska, Director of Strategic Projects and a member of the Management Board of MFG, to learn more about the matter.

On January 18, CEE Legal Matters reported that Fatur Menard had advised the Svetlik family on the sale of their 42% stake in Hidria owner H&R to Spanish corporation Gonvarri. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Gasper Svetlik, Co-Founder and CEO at Svetlik Family Office, to learn more about the matter.

On January 4, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dorda, working with Loyens & Loeff, had advised Croma-Pharma on entering into a business combination agreement with the European Healthcare Acquisition & Growth Company. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Andreas Prinz, Managing Director at Croma Pharma, to learn more about the deal.

According to Dinc Sanver, General Counsel & Local Compliance Officer Turkey & MEA at Teva, the pandemic has accelerated a digital evolution of the legal function, giving rise to a whole new set of challenges.

According to Kameliya Naydenova, Legal Counsel South Central Europe at Mondelez International in Bulgaria, the market has somewhat recovered from the blast wave of the COVID-19 crisis. Yet, many industries still need to overcome the change in demand and consumer habits, as well as certain difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

According to Branko Gabric, General Counsel at Air Serbia in Belgrade, we are living in historic times. He reports that the unprecedented pandemic, as well as the subsequent vaccination process, has greatly affected not only the aviation industry, but also the legal sector in his country.

According to Richard Bacek, General Counsel at Siemens Czechia, there are three significant legislative changes underway in the Czech Republic, specifically in the areas of public procurement, construction, and whistleblowing. Meanwhile, Bacek reports that business in the Czech Republic is still burdened by the dearth of what he calls "reasonable regulation" of the home office concept.

Maido Lillemets, Legal and Compliance Manager at BaltCap in Estonia, reports that the three-pillar pension system in his country has been shaken by the recent legislative move from a mandatory to a voluntary approach to contributions into pension funds. This change, Lillemets reports, has cost the pension funds EUR 850 million already and the eventual cost may exceed EUR 1 billion.

“The energy sector has been highly affected in the past few months, as global demand went down tremendously, which has a significant impact on the whole value chain," says Rytis Valunas, GC for oil and LNG terminals operator Klaipedos Nafta. "Many companies, especially from the oil industry, caught themselves in a situation they never dealt with previously." And, he says, "with the pandemic evolving further, the business environment is not likely going to improve soon.”

“As compliance practitioners, we had to go through a major shift recently with going online, which is quite a new thing in our sector,” says Timur Khasanov–Batirov, Head of Compliance, Russia & CIS at the STADA Group.

“The construction business suffered from COVID-19, but so far less than others," says Agnieszka Dziegielewska-Jonczyk, GC of Skanska Central Europe. "We may see the impact in the coming months. As we are fully dedicated to our customers, Skanska construction sites in Central Europe are open."

“The past few months were hard on us,” says Stathis Mihos, Pfizer’s Legal Director for Greece, Israel, Malta, and Cyprus.

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Completing complex transactions, investment procedures, and deals is never easy. With the amount of work and pressure exerted over businesses, in-house legal teams must be versatile, nimble, and ready for everything.Taking a closer look at all the Deal 5 interviews that CEE In-House Matters has conducted over the years, we sought to map out the biggest challenges that got in the way of smooth sailing. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most frequent challenge that in-house teams and General Counsels working on some of the most important deals across CEE have mentioned was multitasking, or working in multiples. 

Looking at the CEE In-House Matters Deal 5 interviews over the past three years, approximately two-thirds of GCs said that the reason behind choosing a specific legal counsel was their successful cooperation in the past. We identified and structured those key elements and criteria they used in making their decision, with the most salient arguments presented below.

Based on 130 CEE In-House Matters Deal 5 interviews, we analyzed the fundamental factors that play a role in GCs’ decision-making process in terms of choosing a new law firm to work with. The most frequently brought up factors are described below.

Adam Brzezinski of MoneyGram, Alex Florescu of Nepi RockCastle, Asli Sahinkaya of Setur, Christian Blatchford of Energo Pro, Deniz Sanli of American Gaming Systems, Eleni Stathaki of Upstream Systems, Ernest Jedrzejewski of Amgen, Ioana Regenbogen of ING, Joanna Przybyl of Revetas Capital, Mark Erdelyi of Yettel Hungary, Marta Ziolkowska-Nasinska of Fererro, Mary Chaidou of AIG, Stefan Orosi of Prima Bank Slovensko, Wioletta Kaloska of Symfonia, Zita Toth of Primaenergia, describe what is at the top of the agenda for their compliance and risk functions and how they nurture a culture of compliance within their companies.

Adam Brzezinski of MoneyGram, Andrzej Klimek of Idea Getin Leasing, Clementina Canel of Fepra, Eleni Stathaki of Upstream Systems, Dora Szebeni of the Vanguards Fashion Group, Ingo Steinwender of CA Immobilien, Ioana Regenbogen of ING, Iwona Gajek of BNP Paribas, Judit Miskolci of Teva, Mark Erdelyi of Yettel Hungary, Mary Chaidou of AIG, Nadia Matusikova of RWS Moravia, Radu Culic of Roche, Stefan Orosi of Prima Bank Slovensko, Sylvia Nanovska of Telelink, Tiina Pukk of Kou Mobility, Viktor Fonth of HB Reavis, Zeynep Derman Kucukonder of Coca-Cola, Zita Toth of Primaenergia, Zsuzsanna Lippai of Mercedes-Benz, Zuzanna Kopaczynska-Grabiec of, and others talk about how they manage their companies' legal functions' budgets.

The last time I wrote for CEELM, we had been discussing how COVID-19 changed a General Counsel’s scope of activity. How everything shifted in a short time frame and how we were waiting to see the world return to a regular pace – different, but still comfortable enough – without the pandemic threat paralyzing us all.

Alex Florescu of Nepi RockCastle, Andrzej Klimek of Idea Getin Leasing, Bora Kaya of Gama Power Systems, Clementina Canel of Fepra, Dora Szebeni of Vanguards Fashion Group, Eirini Florou of Holcim, Eleni Stathaki of Upstream Systems, Gamze Bedirkurum of Ericsson, Gunel Rzayeva of VavaCars, Ioana Regenbogen of ING, Iwona Gajek of BNP Paribas, Judit Miskolci of Teva, Mary Chaidou of AIG, Milan Lomic of L’Oreal, Radu Culic of Roche, Ramona Ene of ADM, Sylvia Nanovska of Telelink, Viktor Fonth of HB Reavis, Wioletta Kaloska of Symfonia, Zita Toth of Primaenergia, Zuzanna Kopaczynska-Grabiec of, and others share their approach to working with and managing external legal counsel.

Adam Brzezinski of MoneyGram, Alex Florescu of Nepi RockCastle, Andras Levai of Market Epito, Andrzej Klimek of Idea Getin, Eleni Stathaki of Upstream Systems, Gunel Rzayeva of VavaCars, Ingo Steinwender of CA Immobilien, Ioana Regenbogen of ING, Iwona Gajek of BNP Paribas, Mark Erdelyi of Yettel, Marta Ziolkowska-Nasinska of Fererro, Nadia Matusikova of RWS Moravia, Stefan Orosi of Prima Bank Slovensko, Sylvia Nanovska of Telelink, Tiina Pukk of Kou Mobility, Zeynep Derman Kucukonder of Coca-Cola, Zita Toth of Primaenergia, Zuzanna Kopaczynska-Grabiec of, and more share their insights into how their in-house legal teams have been evolving and their best practices on managing in in-house legal function.

I suppose it comes as no surprise to anyone working in an in-house legal team that we are often asked to do “more with less.” Although this may be feasible on some occasions, it is clearly not an ideal or sustainable way of doing (legal) business. In fact, what often happens is that we end up just doing “less with less” – which may not be a bad thing, after all, provided it is done in the proper way.