During 2021 Vestas’ legal department has undergone a significant transition to adapt to the many changes that have taken place both in the market and in the company. From Madrid the department runs a very broad region that includes the whole of Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa and negotiates long term contracts of hundreds of millions, thus playing a critical role to ensure that they are well defined and reduce risks and uncertainties for Vestas and its clients.
From the Iberian Lawyer studios we interviewed Gianluca D’Angelo vice president and general counsel MED – South Europe, Middle East, Africa of Vestas. We discussed the reorganisation of the legal department following his appointment in April 2021, its functioning and the matters for which law firms are used.
You have been leading the legal team at Vestas since April 2021… How have you reorganised the legal department?
In addition to giving importance to Service and Sales and our internal clients, I have tried to ensure that the department also addresses the needs of “purchasing” and “production”. The reason for this is to ensure that there is “flawless execution” or efficient execution at all stages, which is especially important in these volatile times. The result is that we have achieved better contract management, reduced and become more efficient in the handling of claims and are better positioned in the event of litigation. In addition, we have created a unit that serves the offshore business (the company returned to 100% ownership of this unit in 2021 after many years).
On a personal level, I have tried to empower our more experienced employees to allow them greater autonomy, recognising their knowledge and leadership. This, in turn, has opened up many opportunities for juniors with new ideas. And the whole structure in itself encourages more closeness between managers and employees which underpins everyone’s personal development. In terms of team dynamics, I am trying to get us to communicate in a different way. Managers should have one-to-one meetings with their employees on a regular basis to evaluate performance and personal growth. We have quarterly team meetings to follow up on the most important issues and finally, two strategy meetings a year.
What led you to re-organise the legal department in this way?
There are several reasons for this, but they can be summarised as both internal changes and a need to adapt to circumstances. The pandemic, the domino effect on supply chains and transport, which has affected us greatly, and the increase in commodity prices. And finally, just when it looked like we were on our way out, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Regarding the internal reasons, I must say that our team is very experienced, and many of our employees had a perception of having reached their ceiling in the company. For me, they are great professionals and replacing them would have not be easy, so I decided to invest in giving them a new challenge. And one of these was to elevate them from professionals to managers. Finally, as I think almost all companies do, there is a need to optimise budgets.