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.
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.
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.
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.