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Hogan Lovells boosts Paris practice with leading hires

Hogan Lovells is strengthening its Corporate & Finance Practice in Paris with the hire of leading M&A and Private Equity partners Matthieu Grollemund and Hélène Parent. They join with five associates from Baker McKenzie, where Grollemund co-headed the Paris Corporate department.

Matthieu and Hélène’s practice focuses on M&A and Private Equity transactions with an emphasis on buy-out funds, high-end growth or venture funds, and family offices with significant private/public equity activity. They represent numerous public and private companies and private equity funds in a wide range of domestic and cross border transactions, including business combinations, divestitures, leveraged buy-outs, IPOs, and restructuring matters. In addition, they regularly advise boards and committees on a variety of governance and other issues.

Their appointments follow the additions announced in Private Equity last year in London (Ed Harris and Leanne Moezi), United States (Adam Brown), Shanghai (Don Williams, Tony Mou, and Cheng Xu) and Frankfurt (Nikolai Sokolov).

“We are very happy to be joining Hogan Lovells” said Grollemund.The firm has a great culture based on collaboration, cooperation and cross selling and we are excited to be adding our experience to such an impressive team. The partners’ conqueror mindset combined with the strength of the firm’s high quality full service platform and its depth of capabilities in Europe, Asia, the Americas and beyond, present unique advantages for our clients.”

David Gibbons, Global Head of the Corporate & Finance Practice at Hogan Lovells, added: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Matthieu Grollemund, Hélène Parent and their team of associates to Hogan Lovells. They will add significant depth to our existing Tier 1 team in Paris who are already executing a broad range of sophisticated transactions for clients. Furthermore, Matthieu and Helene’s reputation for excellence in technology and life sciences M&A aligns with the strengths of the firm and our own focus on highly-regulated industries.”

The Hogan Lovells Corporate & Finance practice provide end-to-end transactional solutions to clients globally across a wide range of capital strategies and funding structures. We have over 400+ partners (and approximately 1,400 lawyers) within the Practice, located across all the major financial centres in the world. We are a fully integrated global team that combines exceptional transactional experience with deep industry sector knowledge. Our Corporate practice in Paris is ranked as Tier 1 in the market by multiple sources and has recently been involved in major transactions, such as the acquisition by TowerBrook Capital Partners of the rail activities of Consolis group and the acquisition by PAI Partners of a majority stake in Euro Ethnic Foods.

Kate Stonestreet Appointed Global Chief Operating Officer

Baker McKenzie is delighted to announce the appointment of Kate Stonestreet as our new Global Chief Operating Officer. In her new role, Kate will report to our Global Chair Milton Cheng, and will oversee all of the business services functions of the Firm, as well as the Firm’s internal business services transformation project which aims to deliver higher quality service to our internal and external clients in a streamlined and tech-enabled way.

Kate will work alongside the Global Chair and Executive Committee on the implementation of Firm strategy, with a key focus on our clients and our people. This will leverage the Firm’s global footprint and the investments we have made in innovation and sustainability to reinforce our leading position as a diverse and inclusive workplace committed to our clients, people and the communities in which we work.

She will take up her new position with effect from 1 February 2021 and will remain based in London.

Since 2017, Kate has been the Firm’s Global Director of Operations with responsibility for the strategic oversight of our Centers in Manila, Belfast, Buenos Aires and Tampa, and as part of the leadership team overseeing the development and implementation of the Firm’s business services transformation program.

Prior to assuming her current role Kate spent 13 years as the EMEA Regional Operating Officer (ROO) supporting our EMEA leadership, working with Managing Partners and leading the regional business professional teams. During her time as EMEA ROO, she was instrumental in the new office openings in Casablanca, Dubai, Istanbul and Johannesburg.

Prior to her EMEA role, Kate held a variety of positions within the Firm including COO for HK/PRC/Vietnam and Director of Business Development for Asia Pacific. She joined the Firm in Hong Kong in 1995 and has been based in London since 2004.

Kate earned her BA Hons degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Northumbria and her MBA from the University of Western Ontario (Toronto), Hong Kong campus. She is a member of our Global Diversity & Inclusion Committee and our Global Race & Ethnicity Task Force, and co-leads the Firm’s social mobility program.

Kate said, “Coming from a small village in Yorkshire in the North of England and joining the Firm in a relatively junior role in Hong Kong, I am a story of what is possible at Baker McKenzie. As a Firm we are in a strong position as we emerge from the pandemic – with loyal clients, connected global teams, and the drive to excel. This is an exciting time, and we face both opportunities and challenges as we emerge from the crisis, but I believe we are strongly positioned for the future and I look forward to playing a central role in ensuring our future success.”

Milton said, “Throughout her career with the Firm Kate has been an inspiring leader and a highly effective professional. Having known her for more than 20 years I can say with assurance that I know she represents the very best of Baker McKenzie. I look forward to working even more closely with Kate in the coming months and years to drive our global Firm strategy forward.”

Milton Cheng joins 70 Global CEOs in Catalyst For Change initiative

Baker McKenzie Global Chair, Milton Cheng has reinforced the commitment of the leading global law firm to join Catalyst’s mission to elevate women in leadership roles.

Milton is one of 70+ CEOs involved in the Catalyst For Change initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. Catalyst’s 2020 report, Towards a More Equitable Future, found that Catalyst For Change companies are addressing challenges in the representation of marginalised groups by building a strong foundation at the manager level.

The Catalyst CEO Champions For Change are using their voices to advance women across the leadership pipeline. The 2020 report identifies ways global companies can collect data on ethnicity and race in their organisations, as well as highlighting the latest statistics for women’s representation in the global leadership pipeline. It also explores ways to measure the representation of women who identify with underrepresented ethnic and racial groups and provides a three-step plan to help organisations accelerate their journey toward equity:

  • Step 1: Get educated on intersectionality.
  • Step 2: Establish a system for collecting reliable data on race and ethnicity.
  • Step 3: Start the conversation about racism.

You can read the full report here.

Milton Cheng, Baker McKenzie Global Chair commented; “Twenty years after electing the first female Chair of any global law firm, we are proud to say that once again we are leading the way in the legal sector. To demonstrate our commitment to being inclusive, we have set global aspirational targets of 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons) by 2025. This target applies to Partners, senior business professionals, firm committee leadership and candidate pools for recruitment.”

“Women, and particularly women of colour, continue to face entrenched barriers to advancement in companies across the world, but it’s important that Catalyst CEO Champions For Change companies continue to demonstrate collective progress,” said Catalyst President & CEO Lorraine Hariton. “We know more work needs to be done, but the data show positive gains, and we’re proud to partner with these CEOs in this effort.”

This pledge follows Baker McKenzie’s earlier commitment with Catalyst in 2020. The Firm became one of 56 companies and organisations who have joined Catalyst’s Gender and Diversity KPI Alliance (GDKA) to support the adoption and use of a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure gender and diversity.

Board directors’ duties and ESG considerations in decision-making

Some may say sustainability is the ‘flavour of the month’. If that was ever the thinking pre COVID-19, the pandemic has certainly had an impact on corporates’ sustainability agendas – no longer a ‘nice to have’ but rather an operational and strategic imperative, at the heart of any business’s ability to compete and succeed in the long term.

Good governance, good decision making, is a cornerstone of good business. The double-headed health and financial crisis has accelerated the growing focus on both the purpose of the corporation and the role of the board in overseeing and leading in ways that promote sustainable business success. Alongside this, the push by investors has moved from talking purely of share price and returns to asking about resilience and long-term value creation. Put simply, society is forcing companies to focus on the link between values and value.

That is why we worked with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to finalise this paper on fiduciary duty which draws primarily upon perspectives and insights from UK and US legal and regulatory structures. We explain why sustainability matters and why it should be included by boards on their agendas as a matter within their remit. We consider how boards should address sustainability in the context of their company’s strategic objectives and business model.

Along with WBCSD, we are challenging directors to assess whether they are taking all relevant steps in the boardroom to ensure the company not only properly assesses and mitigates sustainability risks but also understands the opportunities that sustainability considerations can bring.

You can access the full report by clicking here.

Baker McKenzie announces global revenues of $2.9 billion

Baker McKenzie has announced revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2020 (FY20) of $2.9 billion. In terms of constant currency revenues were up 1.2% compared to the previous year. In US dollar terms, the Firm’s reporting currency, this translates into a flat year (FY19 $2.92 billion), after the effect of adverse currency movements during the year.

All of our regions recorded growth in constant currency terms – Asia Pacific up 1%, EMEA higher by 2%, Latin America rose 2% and North America increased 1%. In US dollar terms, three out of our four regions – Asia-Pacific, EMEA and North America – each experienced slight growth. Latin America revenues, however, fell by 12% in U.S. dollar terms, highlighting the weakness of currencies in that region during FY20. The first quarter of FY21 has continued that growth with revenues and profitability up in all four of our regions.

Our PPP for FY20 is down 12% year-on-year as compared with FY19, reflecting the significant investments we made in new technology, infrastructure and laterals and other talent, as well as the negative impact of FX. Over the last decade the Firm has grown by 37% in terms of revenue and 31% in terms of PPP.

We saw revenue growth in our two largest markets – the United States and the UK. Some of our markets that saw high single-digit or double-digit growth include: Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, Hungary, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Morocco.

Milton Cheng, Global Chair, Baker McKenzie says, “I am proud of how our Firm has stepped up this past year to record a reasonable set of results, given the economic and logistical headwinds we have faced since January and the softening of demand we saw in the final quarter of FY20. It is a strong demonstration of our collective resilience.

“We continue to look to the future. Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and the decline in economic activity in many parts of the world, Baker McKenzie is heading into FY21 with confidence, bolstered by our client base, resilient team, and exciting investments in the future of our industry and communities. The Firm has appointed new leaders, including our first Chief Sustainability Officer, as well as announcing our innovation arm Reinvent.

“A record number of lateral hires these past 12 months combined with our continued commitment to developing home- grown talent, as well as our significant investments in technology and our new services centres ensure that we are well prepared for a new set of challenges over the next decade.

“We have also learnt how to collaborate, work and socialise together in new and innovative ways that bring out the very best of Baker McKenzie. We transitioned smoothly to working remotely, with nearly all of the teams in our offices across the world working from home for significant periods of time over the past months.”

Baker McKenzie names Alyssa Auberger as Chief Sustainability Officer

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has named Paris-based Partner Alyssa Auberger as its first Chief Sustainability Officer. Alyssa will be responsible for leading the Firm’s global Sustainability strategy which is core to the Firm’s overall priorities for the next decade.

After beginning her legal career in-house in the United States, Alyssa joined Baker McKenzie in Paris in 1998 and from 2016 until this appointment, was Global Chair of its Consumer Goods & Retail Industry Group. In this role, she worked closely with a number of global bodies, including the United Nations Global Compact, to heighten awareness of the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities for the consumer goods and retail industry. She has worked with the Firm’s leading practices to develop solutions for clients on supply chain transparency and claims, product lifecycle issues, and human rights and emissions reporting, in order to help them understand their impact and responsibilities across entire value chains.

Franco-American and as a partner specialised in multijurisdictional M&A and Private Equity transactions and based in Baker McKenzie’s Paris office, Alyssa has extensive experience regularly advising American and French corporations, multinationals, and private equity investment funds on their acquisitions and divestitures worldwide as well as in their international expansion efforts.

Baker McKenzie has strong relationships with leading sustainability-focused forums, including the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, of which it was the first law firm member. In 2017, the Firm collaborated with the World Economic Forum to launch the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, which brings together leading policy makers, businesses, start-ups, academia and international organisations to collaborate for the greater good by maximising the benefits of science and technology.

The Firm became a participant of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2015 and remains committed to upholding the Ten Principles on human and labour rights, the environment and anti‐corruption. Since then, it has adopted eight of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Gender Equality, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Recently Global Chair Milton Cheng joined more than 1,200 Chief Executive Officers from companies in over 100 countries to demonstrate the Firm’s support for the United Nations and inclusive multilateralism by signing onto a powerful Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation. To mark the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the statement was released by the UNGC Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16), of which Baker McKenzie is a proud co-patron. The Firm also recently announced commitments to significantly reduce its global carbon emissions over the next decade and achieve aspirational global gender diversity targets, set at 40:40:20 per cent, to represent 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons).

Alyssa said, “I am delighted to be taking on this new role and leading Baker McKenzie’s Sustainability efforts. Our clients are at differing stages of their sustainability journeys and we want to do all we can to help them achieve their ESG goals given our own depth of experience. More than 20 years ago, we established the first Climate Change practice within a major law firm, and we now offer a number of ESG Advisory services, including Sustainable Finance, Corporate Governance, Renewable Energy, Human Rights and Modern Slavery, Sustainable Real Estate and Responsible Product Sourcing.”

As well as announcing Alyssa’s appointment, Baker McKenzie reaffirmed its commitment to placing Sustainability at the core of its strategy for the coming decade, facilitating active engagement with like-minded businesses, governments, international organisations and civil society, in order to achieve shared goals for a more sustainable world.

Milton Cheng, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie said, “Collaborating with our clients to find solutions to their complex problems has always been at the core of what our Firm does. We strive to provide holistic business advice to our clients, helping them navigate their sustainability risks, as well as identify the opportunities that come with being a responsible business.”

Milton adds: “As a passionate lawyer, partner and leader within Baker McKenzie for over 20 years, Alyssa understands our Firm, our practices and our clients and I have no doubt that this knowledge will be an asset to her as she leads our Firm wide efforts with the same passion and commitment she has always shown.”