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From her beginnings as an M&A attorney in Bulgaria to her current role as Regional Compliance Manager for Eastern Europe at Yazaki, Veselka Petrova’s career has been a testament to the power of blending legal expertise with strategic business insight.

In The Inside Track, General Counsels across CEE share the nuances of their roles, challenges, and strategies for success. Since now is the time when plans for next year are made (and budgeted for) this time we asked GCs: Is your in-house legal function’s budget increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same in 2024?

Infobip General Counsel Tomislav Pifar first joined the company in 2011 and has been a witness to the company’s remarkable growth over the past 12 years. In reflecting on his journey, he explores the evolution of in-house legal work and international exposure, placing a particular emphasis on the transformative impact of AI on daily operations.

In The Inside Track, General Counsels across CEE share the nuances of their roles, challenges, and strategies for success. Given the importance of relationships between in-house legal departments and law firms, this time we asked GCs: What is the most common reason for which you cease working with a specific law firm and what would you suggest firms definitely do to ensure they do not make the same mistake?

After several years working for law firms and on major energy projects, Gabija Kuncyte has been with Compensa Life Vienna Insurance Group’s Lithuanian Branch as a Legal and Compliance Officer for over a year and a half. She discusses the evolution of in-house legal positions and the nuances of the legal industry in the Baltic region.

Panattoni Legal Director Kamila Dutkowska-Wawrzak talks about her background and in-house transition, building up the in-house legal team, and their current workload.

Siemens Turkiye Lead Country General Counsel Bige Yucel talks about her in-house legal team’s current and upcoming focuses.

At the CEE Legal Matters GC Summit in Istanbul, legal experts from across the region and beyond tackled the importance of crisis management – even when nothing is burning. Summit attendees were briefed on how companies can navigate gray areas, manage global supply chain disruptions, and, overall, be prepared for whatever comes their way.

Pfizer Eastern Europe Cluster Legal Lead and Legal Director Lucie Kubenova talks about her career leading to her current role and managing her team at Pfizer.

Skoda Group General Legal Counsel Karol Marsovszky talks about the Skoda Group’s legal team and what shapes his in-house team’s workload.

Are compliance teams a necessary evil or effective facilitators of business success? At the CEE Legal Matters GC Summit held in Istanbul, legal experts from across Europe discussed how to best foster a culture of compliance and ethics in order to benefit businesses, as well as why multidisciplinary knowledge and an agile approach are crucial for compliance teams.

On November 9, 2022, Magyar Telekom’s Legal Service Evolution Squad unveiled its largest service development project yet – the Legal Magic Book – during the company’s annual Love Your Lawyer Day event. We sat down with Magyar Telekom Group Legal Director Daniel Szeszler and Legal Service Evolution Squad Product Owner Botond Ungvary to learn more about the book and the team behind it.

Interview with Pascale Rahman, Vice President & General Counsel EMEA and India at Flex about her background and best practices.

Interview with Kamil Lewandowski, Head of Legal Poland – Asset Management at the CPI Property Group about his background and best practices.

Interview with Jaroslav Krupec, Country Legal Director at Veolia Slovakia about his background and best practices.

Interview with Irisz Szel, Legal Director of CEU about her background and best practices.

Interview with Judyta Sawicka, Head of Legal at Globalworth about her background and best practices.

Interview with Nadia Matusikova, General Counsel of RWS Moravia about her background and best practices.

Interview with Zlatko Stojcheski, Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs at A1 Makedonija about his background and best practices.

An interview with Milan Kajtez, Head of Legal at UniCredit Bank a.d. Banja Luka about his background and best practices.

An interview with Alice Radu, General Legal Counsel for Romania & Bulgaria at Bosch Group Romania about her background and best practices.

An interview with Andras Busch, General Counsel at Siemens Energy Hungary.

Juncu has been with Mondelez since 2018, when she joined it on secondment from Stratula & Asociatiii. In April 2019, she took on her current role.

Florina Homeghiu spent the first decade of her career in private practice before, in 2017 moving in-house with the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company – Romania, initially as Senior Legal Counsel, then, in 2018, as Country Legal Manager and Compliance Officer. In May of 2020 she joined the Policolor-Orgachim group.

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.

On November 16, CEE Legal Matters reported that Popescu & Asociatii had successfully represented the interests of the City of Sinaia in a construction dispute. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Vlad Oprea, the Mayor of Sinaia, to learn more about the matter.

On December 8, CEE Legal Matters reported that BDK Advokati had advised MediGroup on its acquisition of Konzilijum. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Mihailo Obucina, Director of Strategy, M&A, and Business Development at MediGroup, to learn more about the acquisition.

 

On July 4, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov had advised Maple Bear on its EUR 100 million investment program for the CEE region through a partnership with Vantage Capital. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Yann Bidan, General Manager at Maple Bear, to learn more about the matter.

On November 4, CEE Legal Matters reported that Gugushev & Partners had advised Blackpeak Capital on its acquisition of a stake in Telelink Bulgaria. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Kiril Ivanov, Investment Director at Blackpeak Capital, to learn more about the acquisition.

On August 23, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that JSK had advised Credit Value Investments on its investment in the Saunia Group through bond financing. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Radoslav Tausinger, Managing Director at Credit Value Investments (CVI), to learn more about the matter.

On September 9, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that PeliPartners had advised WDP on the acquisition of the Arad Business Park logistics center. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Adrian Vitelaru, Chief Operating Officer at WDP Romania, to learn more about the acquisition.

On August 30, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii had advised Meta Estate Trust on its IPO and listing of shares on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Raluca Dragan, CFO at Meta Estate Trust, to learn more about the matter.

On August 30, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Boyanov & Co had advised Yara International on the sale of Bulgarian and Romanian businesses Yara Bulgaria and Yara Digital Romania to the Nik Group. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Sverre Hodnebo, Legal Counsel at Yara International, to learn more about the sale.

On July 28, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that ODI Law had advised Holding Slovenske Elektrarne on a EUR 350 million cross-border syndicated debt refinancing. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Matej Petrisic Assistant Head of Legal Affairs and Corporate Governance at Holding Slovenske Elektrarne, to learn more about the matter.

On August 9, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Vukovic & Partners had advised ODM Collections on obtaining a purchase of receivables work license from the Central Bank of Montenegro. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Drazen Stevanovic, CEO at ODM Collections, to learn more about the matter.

On July 13, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Onisko & Holesova, Planinic Soljic & Partners, and solo practitioner Klemen Ticar advised Kofola on its refinancing. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Martin Pisklak, Group Chief Financial Officer at Kofola CeskoSlovensko, to learn more about the matter.

On June 28, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Motieka & Audzevicius, working with Osborne Clarke, had advised the Orion Private Equity Debt Fund I on its EUR 7 million acquisition of secured mezzanine bonds issued by Austrian real estate developer Soini Asset to finance its real estate projects in Germany. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Benas Poderis, Head of Investment Management Department at the Orion Private Equity Debt Fund I to learn more about the deal.

On March 1, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that KWKR Konieczny Wierzbicki had advised Knacks's owners on their sale of a majority stake in the company to RightBridge Ventures. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Dawid Szymanski, CEO at Knacks, to learn more about the sale.

On March 1, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that KWKR Konieczny Wierzbicki had advised Knacks's owners on their sale of a majority stake in the company to RightBridge Ventures. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Dawid Szymanski, CEO at Knacks, to learn more about the sale.

On April 28, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Porobija & Spoljaric had advised Croatian tourism company Mon Perin on listing its shares on the Zagreb Stock Exchange. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Massimo Piutti President of the Management Bord at Mon Perin, to learn more about the matter.

On April 29, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that PwC Legal had advised Benefit Systems on its acquisition of 75% of the shares and agreement on the optional acquisition of 25% of shares in Lunching.pl. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Iwona Rykaczewska-Kuderska, Head of Legal at Benefit Systems, to learn more about the acquisition.

On May 25, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Balicki Czekanski Gryglewski Lewczuk had advised Symfonia on its acquisition of a majority stake in HRtec. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Wioletta Kaloska, General Counsel at Symfonia, to learn more about the acquisition.

Lead Counsel Alexey Amvrosov has started a new position with IBM as the Manager of the Legal Department IBM Central and Eastern Territories Europe.

Former Home Credit International Legal Manager Martin Seda has been promoted to the Chief Legal & Compliance Officer position for the group.

Felix Prechtl – the former S IMMO Head of the Corporate Office & Capital Markets – has returned to private practice by joining Doralt Seist Csoklich in Vienna as an Attorney at Law.

Former Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka Partner Rafal Hajduk has moved in-house, joining R.Power Renewables as the company's Chief Commercial Officer.

Effective April 2024, former LCF Law Group Partner and Head of International Arbitration Yuliya Atamanova has joined JSC CB PrivatBank as a Legal Counsel and the head of the bank's International Arbitration and Cross-Border Litigation Department.

Former Senior Legal Counsel Can Aksoy has been appointed as Delivery Hero's Principal Legal Counsel M&A.

Former Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi Head of Legal Advisory Mehmet Tekergul has moved to the Alternatif Bank as Head of Legal.

Former CMS Warsaw Senior Associate Przemyslaw Karolak has joined banking-as-a-service cloud-native platform Vodeno as its General Counsel.

Former Senior Counsel Pawel Kulak has been appointed as the Nordic Investment Bank's Principal Counsel.

RoPower Nuclear In-House Counsel Andrei Nicolae has been appointed as the General Counsel of the company.

Former Koutalidis Partner Nikos Salakas has left the firm to join Alpha Bank as its new Chief of Corporate Center and General Counsel.

Former Compensa Life Vienna Insurance Group Chief Legal and Compliance Officer in Lithuania Gabija Kuncyte has been appointed as the company's Head of Legal Baltics, effective April 1, 2024.

Deutsche Bank Turkiye Head of Legal and former Vice President Ozge Sanioglu was appointed Director at the company in March 2024.

Former Alacergold Madencilik General Counsel Ahmet Ilker Dogan has returned to private practice as a Senior Managing Partner with Tunca Attorney Partnership in Ankara.

Former Getir Senior Legal Counsel Gizem Taskin Tavli has joined Domino's Turkiye as Head of Legal.

Former Danone Head of Legal & Compliance in Turkiye Sevda Aydin Alemdar has returned to private practice by joining Sayin Law & Consulting as a Partner to lead the firm’s FMCG and Healthcare sectors out of Washington DC.

Former MVM Deputy CEO Balazs Tomaj has joined Kinstellar in Budapest as Senior Counsel.

Turkish lawyer Damla Aygun Yararca was appointed to the role of Head of Legal, Ethics, Compliance & Quality by Novo Nordisk. 

Turkish lawyer Emre Botan Kumet has joined Copyright Capital as its Head of Legal & Business Affairs in London.

Turkish lawyer Soley Guzel was appointed by Roche Pharmaceuticals as its Legal Director of Roche Diagnostics Asia-Pacific.

Former Willis Towers Watson Regional Compliance Business Partner Maciej Hajewski has joined the PIB Group as its Group Head of Risk and Compliance - Europe in Poland.

Romanian lawyer Andreea-Paula Armanu-Costache has joined the European Investment Fund as a Legal Counsel in Luxembourg.

Former TAV Construction Legal Director has joined Samsung Electronics in Istanbul as its Director of Legal Affairs.

Former Baker McKenzie Turkish affiliate Esin Attorney Partnership Associate Nihat Aral has joined Alcon as a Head of Legal & Compliance in Turkiye.