The Road to Internationalisation

Last month, NH Hotels changed its name to Minor Hotels Europe & Americas. This change, approved at the General Shareholders’ Meeting, aims to unify the company’s global recognition. However, its commercial brands will retain their identities. The change will generate synergies and enhance growth under the management of Minor Hotels. Iberian Lawyer spoke to Carlos Ulecia, general counsel of the group, about his role as head of legal counsel, exploring the challenges and strategies he implements to maintain excellence in his management.

by mercedes galán

What led you to move from working in a large firm to an in-house role?

Traditionally, in a law firm you have a fragmented view, limited to specific sequences of cases. There came a time when I wanted to see the whole picture, not just part of it. I have always seen law as an essential tool for doing business and I wanted to have full access to the business world and understand it in its entirety. I think this is reflected in my background, as I have had the opportunity to work in different industries, from technology and information systems to real estate and hotels to media. In terms of the diversity of industries, I have been very fortunate to understand them all and have joined at times of profound transformation and corporate growth, which has given me an exciting experience.

Would you say that the mentality of large companies towards in-house lawyers and their role has changed?

It certainly has. When I was working at the firm and dealing with our clients’ in-house lawyers, I must admit that I did not see myself in that style of corporate lawyer. However, the mentality towards lawyers has changed radically at all levels. And we are leading that change ourselves. Companies now want proactive legal advice, involved in all aspects of the business. Today’s in-house lawyer understands that their job is not just to receive and answer internal queries; they must go much further and seek, within the regulatory framework, possible solutions and flexible interpretations that contribute to achieving the company’s objectives. In today’s highly regulated environment, it is necessary to approach challenges from an innovative and forward-looking perspective.

Among your many functions is that of Secretary General of the group and member of the Management Committee. How do you organise your day-to-day work to handle the legal demands and needs of the business?

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Julia Gil

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