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CEE Legal Matters first interviewed Ingo Steinwender in 2014, near the end of his first year as Group Head of Legal at CA Immobilien Anlagen AG, one of the largest real estate companies in Austria. Six years later, we check in.

CEELM: Can you walk us through your career leading you up to your current role?

Polish lawyer Anna Wawrzynczak spent 14 years in private practice with two highly-regarded international law firms before moving in-house with the Coast2Coast investment fund, where she was Regional Counsel CEE for almost three years. In October 2019 she accepted an offer to become the Legal Manager, Head of the Corporate Division at the Polish Development Fund in Warsaw. 

An interview with the Belgrade-based Senior Counsel CEE at Philip Morris International

An interview with the long-time Head of Legal at Eurostandard Bank in Macedonia

Building a successful in-house legal department involves selecting the right people for the right positions, deciding which lawyers to assign to which tasks, instructing and training them, convincing them to work as a cohesive unit rather than a bunch of individuals, and of course addressing and resolving conflicts and crises – all while fulfilling the critical function of legal advisor to the rest of the company. It’s not easy.

In addition to their traditional role guiding companies through legal and regulatory waters and managing disputes, General Counsels are increasingly called upon to provide input on strategic matters. An expert panel at the second annual Balkan GC Summit considered how this change in the nature of the General Counsel role is manifesting itself in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Hyprop Investments – South Africa’s largest listed specialist shopping center Real Estate Investment Trust – operates a portfolio of premium shopping centers in South Africa, other countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeastern Europe. Hyprop’s six current investments in SEE include two shopping malls in Zagreb and one each in Sofia, Podgorica, Belgrade, and Skopje. Hyprop is internally managed and headquartered in Johannesburg.

Peter Malovec is the Group Head of Legal at HB Reavis in Bratislava. He joined HB Reavis in 2010 after spending seven years in private practice with the BBH law firm. We reached out to him to learn more about his background, style, and strategies.

In the October 2015 issue of the CEE Legal Matters magazine we spoke with Eleni Stakathi, the Head of Legal at Upstream in Greece. We decided to check in with her and see how things had changed in the last four years.

Igor Andries is the Head of Legal & Regulatory at Orange Moldova.

Bardugov Alexander is the Head of Legal of Banca Intesa in Moscow, a role which he has held since 2013. He first joined Banca Intesa in 2004 as a Junior Legal Counsel, gradually progressing to Head of Sector for Banking Operations Legal Support in 2008, Head of Legal Support for Retail and SME in 2009, and Head of Business Legal Support in 2010.

Ante Sucur has been the Head of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary at Mercury Processing Services International Ltd (formerly Intesa Sanpaolo Card Ltd) since 2009. Before joining Mercury, he worked for five and a half years at Privredna Banka Zagreb d.d. (which is also part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group).

Basak Gurbuz is a Counsel at The Walt Disney Company Turkey, where she oversees the company’s legal and compliance matters. Prior to assuming her current in-house role, she was a Managing Associate with Gun + Partners. Her experience also includes time with Pekin & Bayar, the Yazici Law Firm, the Kasaroglu Law Firm, and Bayindir Holding.

Andras Levai is the Head of Legal-CE Ethics and Compliance at Tesco Central Europe. Levai, who is based in Hungary, has been with Tesco since June 2009, when he joined as Senior Legal Counsel. In 2013, he was appointed to the role of Group Internal Auditor for Hungary and Turkey and he became the Head of Legal for Hungary in 2014. He was appointed to his current role in 2016. Prior to Tesco, he worked at the Hidasi & Partners Law Firm.

Andras Mohacsi is the Head of Competition Law and Sanctions at British American Tobacco, where he is responsible for designing, rolling out, and coordinating the implementation of the company’s global competition law and sanctions compliance programs, as well as overseeing the management of any related proceedings against any group company. He first joined BAT in Hungary in 1998. Before that, he worked as Head of Legal of Daewoo Bank Hungary.

Adriana Minovic is the Head of Data Protection and DPO of the Ergomed Group, a provider of clinical research, pharmaco-vigilance, and other services in the Life Sciences industry, with headquarters in Guilford, U.K. Prior to joining Ergomed, Adriana was Head of Conent Security and DPO for the United Group, and before that as a lawyer specializing in regulatory/compliance matters at Air Serbia. Earlier still, she was an adviser for the European Integration Office of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and a legal adviser in Serbia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.

Artyom Podshibyakin is the Head of Legal and Compliance of INDITEX Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Prior to joining INDITEX over a decade ago, Podshibyakin was a Senior Lawyer with IKEA MOS Retail and Property.

Bahar Yenerer is the General Counsel of Atos in Turkey. Prior to joining Atos in 2012 she spent two years as a Senior Lawyer with ELIG. Prior to that she was a Senior Legal Counsel with Turkcell, Head of M&A and Corporate Affairs with the Yamaner & Yamaner Law Office, a Lawyer with Tekin Law Office, and a Legal Consultant with the Serap Zuvin Law Offices.

Artur Chrzanowski is the Head of Legal of EIFFAGE Polska. Prior to joining EIFFAGE in 2016, he was a Senior Associate with Magnusson in Warsaw for one year. Earlier still, he was Head of Legal at Metro Properties, Legal Section Manager of the A1 Motorway Project at Skanska, an attorney-at-law with the Kronospan Group, and a lawyer with Kompania Piwowarska. In the process, he has served in managerial roles as a compliance officer and as a member of various company management and supervisory boards.

Miljan Malovic is the Head of the Business Legal Advisory Office of Banca Intesa Belgrade. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade in 2001, and joined Banca Intesa in 2006.

Helena Kokot is the Director of the Legal Affairs Department at the Zagreb International Airport. She joined the ZIA in 2014 after 12 years in the telecommunications sector with Croatian Telecom and T-Mobile Croatia. She got her law degree from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb in 1999.

Jovan Velkovski is the Head of Legal at JAT (Yugoslav Airlines) Tehnika, an Aircraft Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Center in Belgrade. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a Senior Legal Advisor at Privredna Banka Beograd, where he gained professional experience in bankruptcy cases.

Linda Szegvari is the Chief Legal Counsel of MET Hungary, an energy trading company that was established in 2007. The company is a subsidiary of the MET Group, which is present in 28 markets.

On July 2, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Herbst Kinsky had advised Viennese start-up GoStudent GmbH on its EUR 8.3 million Series A financing round, which was led by VC fund Left Lane Capital. We spoke with Felix Ohswald, CEO of GoStudent, to learn more.

On May 26, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that NKO Partners had advised Dr.Max, the largest pharmacy network in Central Europe, on a public-private partnership project involving the concession of 27 state-owned pharmacies in the City of Krusevac and the Rasina District of Serbia. We reached out to Daniel Shull, CEO of Asterfarm (Dr.Max Serbia), for more information about the project. 

On June 10, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Allen & Overy and Gedik & Eraksoy had advised on an ESG-linked syndicated loan facility for Turkey’s Garanti BBVA. We spoke to Ebru Dildar Edin, Executive Vice-President at Garanti BBVA, to learn more about the facility.

On May 7, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sorainen had represented Tallinna Linnatranspordi Aktsiaselts, a company fully owned by the City of Tallinn, in its purchase of compressed gas for natural gas-powered buses. We spoke with Deniss Borodits, Chairman of the Board at Tallinna Linnatranspordi, to learn more about the deal.

On April 17, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Linklaters had advised Penta Real Estate on the sale of the D48 office building in Warsaw to IAD Investments. We reached out to Damian Grzywacz, Managing Director in Penta Real Estate Poland, to learn more about the deal.

On May 27, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons had advised CPI Property Group on a successful tender offer of bonds and the issue of EUR 750 million 2.75% notes due 2026 under CPI's EUR 8 billion Medium Term Note Program. We spoke with Martin Matula, General Counsel at CPI, to learn more. 

On May 28, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Cobalt had advised Lithuania's AB Lietuvos Radijo ir Televizijos Centras - Telecentras on the sale of its data transmission and digital television business developed under the Mezon brand to the Bite Group. We spoke Aida Raziulyte, General Counsel of Telecentras, to learn more about the deal.

On April 14, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons had advised Savills Investment Management, acting on behalf of Korean institutional investors managed by Vestas Investment Management, on its acquisition of the Leroy Merlin distribution center near Lodz from Invesco Real Estate. We spoke to Alistair Ennever, Transaction Manager at Savills Investment Management, about the deal.

On April 14, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dorda had advised Greiner AG on the takeover of Eurofoam GmbH from Recticel. We reached out to Maximilian Wellner, Head of Group Compliance & Legal at Greiner, to learn more about the takeover.

On April 30, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Motieka & Audzevicius had advised the founders of Lithuania's In Balance Grid on the investment of EUR 950,000 into the company by Koinvesticinis Fondas, Contrarian Ventures, and several angel investors. We spoke with Simonas Stankus, Co-Founder & CEO of In Balance Grid, to learn more about the investment round.

On April 7, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Motieka & Audzevicius had represented big data company Oxylabs in its successful appeal of a dismissal of an IP rights infringement dispute for lack of jurisdiction in Lithuania. We spoke with Urte Karkliene, Legal Counsel at Oxylabs, to learn more about the case.

On April 17, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Greenberg Traurig had advised IAD Investments on its acquisition of the company holding the D48 office building in Warsaw from Penta Real Estate. We reached out to Vladimir Bolek, Member of the Board at IAD Investment, to learn more about the acquisition.

On March 11, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sorainen had successfully defended HR solutions provider Amston before the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in Lithuania. We spoke with Henrika Bivainiene, Director of Amston, about the case.

On April 9, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons had advised Hines Poland Sustainable Income Fund on the sale of a portfolio of six Polish distribution parks and the Nord Point office building in Warsaw to Chinese investor CGL Investment Holdings Corporation Limited. We spoke to Mietek Godzisz, Head of Hines in Poland, about the deal. 

On March 27, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dorda had advised Warburg-HIH Invest Real Estate on the sale of a multi-story office building in the Summering part of Vienna to a real estate fund managed by Luxembourg-based Blue Colibri Capital. We spoke with Jana Wetzel, Real Estate Manager at Warburg-HIH Invest, about the deal.

On March 19, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Linklaters had advised Sovcombank on its arrangement of a RUB 5.7 billion domestic green project bonds issued by an orphan special purpose vehicle, SFO RuSol 1 LLC. We spoke to Sergei Kaduk, Executive Director for Securitization and Project Finance at Sovcombank, about the Issuance.

On March 11, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Kinstellar had advised FirstFarms on its acquisition of agricultural land in Romania from NCH Capital. We spoke to Anders Noergaard, the Group CEO of First Farms, about the deal.

On January 7, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Tokushev & Partners had helped the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria make arrangements with two financial intermediaries to create several alternative investment funds for equity investments. We asked Lazar Petrov, Director of Financial Instruments and Operational Programmes of the Fund of Funds, to walk us through the set-up of the alternative funds. 

On February 19, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Cobalt had advised Change Ventures on its EUR 500,000 investment in Estonian educational startup 99math. We spoke with Yrjo Ojasaar, Investment Partner at Change Ventures, to learn more.

On December 29, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Selih & Partnerji had advised Supernova on its EUR 220 million acquisition of seven shopping malls and five smaller shopping centers from Centrice Real Estate. Johannes Wurzer, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at Supernova, spoke with us about the deal.

On December 11, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Stanek Vetrak & Partneri had advised the Czech Republic's Franco Real Estate on its acquisition of Vseobecna Uverova Banka's real estate portfolio. We spoke with Vladimir Polacky, Project Manager for the Slovak Republic at Franco Real Estate, about the deal.

On December 18, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that NSP had advised IBS IT Holding on its acquisition of Aplana Software from the Aplana Group. We reached out to Eugene Peskin, Head of Strategy at IBS, for more details.

On December 18, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Scandinavia's Flugger group A/S acquired a 60% shareholding in Unicell, a paint manufacturer based in Poland. We reached out to Flugger’s Group General Counsel and Vice President, Torben Schwaner Dehlholm, for more details.

On July 25, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Competera, a Ukrainian pricing platform for e-commerce and omni-channel retailers, had established its headquarters in the United States. We reached out to Competera's Senior Legal Counsel Denis Boshko for details.

The Tallinn office of Fort Legal has been joined by a three-person team from CORE Legal led by Partner Merit Lind and by Kristin Kamilla Kirss, the former Chief Legal Counsel and Head of Baltic Legal at Svenska Handelsbanken AB Estonian Branch.

Bora Kaya, the former Managing Legal Counsel at Gama Power Systems Engineering and Contracting, has become Chief Legal Officer of Gama Holding.

Iliana Byanova, the former Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at the First Investment Bank, has joined Sopharma Trading as its Chief Legal, Risk, and Compliance Officer in Sofia.

Eva Nikolic has become Senior Director Legal, Developed Markets at the Astellas pharmaceutical company, where she will head the company's commercial legal agenda and lead related legal support in 22 European markets, including Central Europe and the Adriatic and Baltic regions.

Altug Ozgun, Astella Pharma's Ethics & Compliance Director in Turkey, is joining the recently established Cetinkaya Attorneys-at-Law firm as a Partner. 

Cerha Hempel's Budapest office has helped set-up a new company – Cetin Hungary – by way of a de-merger from Telenor Hungary.

Vasile Tiple, the first in-house counsel and former General Counsel of UiPath, has left that role to become Head of Legal Automation – in which capacity he intends to develop a new and expanded Legal Automation Program as part of the company's business offering. 

Mihaela Popescu has joined Idea Bank Romania as its new General Compliance Head.

Former Grupa TVN Chief Legal Officer Marek Szydlowski has joined Komputronik S.A in June as General Counsel.

Anna Blonska has been promoted to Director of Legal (Investments) Office at the Polish Development Fund.

Florina Homeghiu has joined the Policolor-Orgachim group as its new Legal and Compliance Group Director in Romania.

Former Dentons Partner Edward Keller has joined alternative investment firm Alpha Blue Ocean as its General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer.

Krzysztof Mazurek, former Legal & Compliance Director for CEE at Bayer, has been promoted to Regional Legal & Compliance Operations - Head Team EMEA.

Former Herguner Bilgen Ozeke Partner Bige Yucel has joined Siemens as its Deputy General Counsel in Istanbul.

Former Paksoy Partner Selin Barlin Aral has joined Getir as its Chief Legal Officer in Istanbul.

Alan Ragueneau, the former Legal Director Market Operations and Sales EMEA at Whirlpool, has joined Nextlaw In-House Solutions, Dentons’ global legal operation advisory, as Europe Managing Director.

Alipay Limited has hired Polish lawyer Tomasz Janyst as its Chief Compliance Officer / Money Laundering Reporting Officer in Luxembourg.

Balazs Toth has joined Telenor Common Operation as its new Legal Director in Hungary.

Maciej Szczepanski has been promoted to Head of Legal Europe at the OLX Group.

Former Klepierre Head of Legal Ceren Arslan has joined Bilgili Holding as its new Vice President Legal in Turkey.

Basak Gurbuz, the former Counsel & Director responsible for legal matters in Turkey at The Walt Disney Company, has now joined Visa as its Senior Regional Counsel for South-Eastern Europe, where she will be responsible for nine jurisdictions: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, and Turkey.

Adrienn Trinn Becomes Head of Legal at Budapest's TV2

Hungary

Adrienn Trinn has been promoted to Head of Legal at the TV2 Media Group.

Niewiadomska-Siniecka Returns to Warsaw as Vodeno GC

Poland

Dominika Niewiadomska-Siniecka has joined Vodeno as General Counsel and Head of Compliance.

Jozsef Antal, the former Chief Legal Counsel at Unix Auto, has become the new Head of Legal and Compliance at Metro Cash & Carry Hungary.