Full details of the winners of the third edition of the Iberian Lawyer Gold Awards
Compliance – Individual Award
Cecilia Álvarez Rigaudias is the European Data Protection Officer Lead at Pfizer, having joined the company in 2015 after a long career in private practice. Álvarez is also the chairwoman of the Spanish Privacy Professional Association and her areas of legal expertise include personal data protection, IT, and e-commerce. Among other recent achievements, Álvarez contributed, as part of Pfizer Global Privacy Office, to a strategic global review of the company after the safe harbour scheme governing the transfer of EU personal data to the US was invalidated by the European Court of Justice. Álvarez also led a project to produce a single notice/consent form that is compliant with the requirements of the European-wide pharmacy industry code of conduct in terms of transparency in 32 jurisdictions.
Telecommunications, Media & Technology: Individual Award
Francisco Javier Ramírez Arbués is the head of legal Spain & Portugal at ING Bank Sucursal en España and the secretary to the board. He manages a group of 17 lawyers in three teams and has pioneered a number of initiatives including a 100 per cent digital (paperless) process allowing clients to open a bank account online using new identification and authentication technology. Ramírez has also spearheaded the reorganisation of the company, implementing the merger of four finance sector entities in compliance with regulations across three European jurisdictions. In addition, he has implemented a digital-based risk mitigation tool, which improves customer satisfaction, diminishes the number of claims and reduces the risk level of the organisation.
Projects & Infrastructure – Individual Award
Javier Cabezudo Pueyo is the general counsel for Europe, Africa and the Middle East at Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica. His recent work has included the cross-border standardisation of the contracting structure of the company. Additionally, he redesigned the company´s risk map of his region to identify top priorities and the main areas of added value where legal resources should be focussed. He also trained a legal team to bring key legal services in-house and implemented templates and toolkits enabling business units to be autonomous in areas of less added value and low legal risk. Moreover, he has significantly reduced external counsel costs by implementing flexible schemes and building a network of high profile medium-sized law firms with proven expertise in the energy sector in the EMEA region.
Corporate Law – Individual Award
Maria Luisa Vara is the general counsel of Azora, having set up the legal department in 2009 after 10 years in private practice at international law firms. She has built the department in accordance with a vision of making the in-house team the “best partners the business can have when dealing with investments, disinvestments and other complex transactions”. In 2014, Vara reconfigured the team to comply with the requirements of a listed company when Azora launched the first Spanish-listed real estate investment company. Vara also led a reorganisation of one of the hotel funds managed by Azora, preventing the collapse of the fund, completing its refinancing, restructuring the portfolio of hotels and prevailing in multiple lawsuits in different jurisdictions.
Legal Team Award – Portugal
The legal team at ANA Aeroportos de Portugal provides legal support to an organisation that administers a network of ten airports that handles more than 38 million passengers a year. The 16-strong department (11 lawyers, 3 administrative assistants and 2 support staff) led by Francisco José Lourenço Sebastian, handled over 200 contracts in 2015 worth a total of €135 million. It also reduced ANA’s legal expenses by €10 million through several settlements and other out-of-court agreements. The department’s monitoring of obligations relating to EU or national law, as well as regulations relating to concession agreements, has meant there have been no contractual penalties and environmental fines for the last four years.
Global Team Award – Focus on Africa
The legal department at Andrade Gutierrez Europe, Asia and Africa is based in Lisbon and led by Rui Andrade, the head of legal affairs. It is responsible for over 40 jurisdictions, including 13 in Africa. The team recently handled the reworking of a joint venture agreement relating to a €420 million infrastructure project in Sub-Saharan Africa. This operation involved increasing the company´s participation in the project and eliminating certain risks linked to a potentially insolvent partner. The team also saved the company over €97 million in reparation and delay costs in a viaduct project in North Africa.
Global Team Award – Focus on Latin America
Iridium (ACS Group) is the lead sponsor in a consortium that was awarded the concession for the largest public-private partnership project to date in Peru. A team led by Gabriela Regojo Balboa, the head of the legal department for Latin America, created a collaborative platform with the legal teams of the co-sponsors of the project. It also overcame a number of obstacles to design an innovative financing solution – governed by New York law – for a project in an emerging market. This involved complex discussions with the local government, and a multifaceted decision-making process as part of a consortium formed by six companies from three different jurisdictions.
Legal Team Award – Spain
The legal team at Japan Tobacco International Iberia (JTI Iberia) is led by Ana Isabel Montero Corbín who is the Iberia legal director. The four-lawyer department covers five markets, each with different systems of regulation. In the fast-changing regulatory environment in which this company operates, the team has fostered a risk-aware culture by implementing compliance programs, providing risk mitigation systems and increasing legal certainty for conducting business. In addition the legal team is proactive in making improvements and innovations, especially in the areas of communication and technology (e.g. it helped develop a mobile App that explains ‘dawn raid’ procedure for business functions; and a trade website designed as a new channel of communication with clients). The team recently defended the company in administrative cases avoiding financial and reputational negative impacts as well as preventing litigation.
Compliance Team Award – Spain
This compliance department at SEAT was set up five years ago and currently plays a key role in the business decision-making process at this group of companies. Its scope covers several companies located in Spain, as well as in other jurisdictions such as Portugal and Germany. The team is led by Head of Compliance Sandra Olivera and has earned the trust of the board and the rest of the business, with consultations increasing from 200 to over 700 per year. It has also succeeded in increasing awareness among staff regarding the need to comply with laws as well as with the values of the SEAT Group included in its Code of Conduct. This has been achieved through massive communication campaigns which included visual cartoons of the Code of Conduct or the delivery of water bottles to promote the international anti-corruption day, as well as through the use of role play and visual media in targeted training sessions.
Compliance Team Award – Portugal
The compliance team at Zurich Insurance Portugal is led by Nuno Moraes Bastos, the general counsel and chief compliance officer. It operates in an industry that is more traditional and conservative, to which compliance is often seen as something new (as a new cost) rather than an investment. However, the team has implemented a model of compliance that follows a documented risk-based approach that incorporates the results of monitoring activities and training and awareness initiatives as part of the process. It has also introduced an audit trail for board members and senior management. Recently, Zurich Insurance in Portugal was selected by authorities to pilot a multijurisdictional legal project in Portugal because of its high level of expertise.