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Oxana Balayan named among the Top 30 Women in Law

Hogan Lovells partner Oxana Balayan has been named in the ‘Women Who Will’ 2020 report by Obelisk Support and Next 100 Years who champion the talent and potential of women in law around the world. The award recognises the top 30 women of the legal in-house community, private practice and other change makers from within the industry, with nominations being accepted from senior General Counsel and other senior leaders in law.

Clients, including LSE listed Polymetal International plc, a global leader in the production of gold and silver, nominated Oxana Balayan for her ‘inspiring leadership’, ‘fantastic and innovative achievements’ and ‘legendary dedication to clients’.

Hogan Lovells commitment to diversity and inclusion is integral to our success as a global law firm. Oxana Balayan has been a poster-woman for gender equality in Europe and Russia for many years. Oxana leads the Corporate and Finance practice in Russia and CIS at Hogan Lovells, is a successful business woman, a mother of two great children, a marathon runner and a relentless gender equality fighter.

At Hogan Lovells, we fully support this report which aims to shine a light on talented individuals and on the gender diversity of leadership in law and why it matters. Hogan Lovells vision is to become the market leader in D&I, and to create an inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to thrive and belong.

DLA Piper advises VEON Holdings B.V. on its RUB100bn refinancing

DLA Piper has advised VEON Holdings B.V., a member of the multinational telecommunications VEON group, on the RUB100 billion (approximately USD1.5 billion) refinancing of its facilities with Sberbank of Russia.

The new term loan facility entered into with Sberbank on 3 June 2020 will be used to refinance and extend the maturity of the existing loan between Sberbank and VEON Holdings, as well as to provide additional funds for VEON Holdings’ general corporate purposes.

DLA Piper’s partner Mark Dwyer, who led the team advising on the transaction, said: “The refinancing forms part of VEON’s continued objective to improve its global capital structure, and is a another transaction which strengthens the relationship between DLA Piper, utilising its cross-border capabilities, and a key global client.”

The DLA Piper Finance team was led by London-based partner Mark Dwyer, legal director Mei Mei Wong and associate Elvis Dangol. They were assisted by Amsterdam-based partner Gerard Kneppers and advocaat Jocelyn van Moergastel, as well as Moscow-based partner Karen Young and legal director Alexei Kolesnikov.

Roland Berger appoints eight new partners in Europe

In home-country Germany, Frank Pietras and Uwe Weichenhain have joined the firm’s leadership. Pietras is based in Roland Berger’s Munich office and is an automotive expert. He specialises in automotive advisory, commercial due diligence, growth strategy, market & product strategy and business processes transformation.

Uwe Weichenhain has been with the consultancy for over a decade, and has been named a partner in the firm’s Energy & Infrastructure arm. He is an expert in new technologies that drive the transition towards sustainable infrastructure, including offshore wind, power transmission, gas and LNG, hydrogen, and digital technologies.

In the Netherlands, where Roland Berger has a team of around 100 consultants based in Amsterdam, Koen Besteman and Sameer Mehta have been promoted to partner level. Besteman specialises in the life sciences, and biopharma industry, supporting companies with innovation management, new market development, business cases, and setting up value models for research projects and portfolios. He also has gained extensive experience supporting universities with strategic and financing topics.

Having joined Roland Berger in 2010, Sameer Mehta focuses on merger & acquisition and investor support services. He works with private equity firms and corporate clients on topics related to due diligence, growth & performance improvement and restructuring. Mehta advises clients in a broad range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare and industrial products, with a particular focus on automotive, media, technology and steel.

In Sweden, Benny Guttman has been appointed a partner in the Gothenburg office. He has previously worked for three consulting firms, Accenture, EY and McKinsey & Company, prior to joining Roland Berger in 2017. In between consulting, he spent eight years at Volvo, the last six of which he was Senior Vice President at Volvo Logistics where he headed Strategy, Corporate Values and Operational Development. Guttman’s work is focused around strategic and operational improvement at clients in the automotive, manufacturing, med-tech and retail industries.

Artem Zakomirnyi has been serving the consulting firm for over twelve years, working from the offices in Moscow, Russia, and Kiev, Ukraine. He specialises in strategic and operations work in the consumer goods and retail industries. Zakomirnyi also has a deep understanding of supply chain and logistics topics, for both the traditional retail as well as online (e-commerce) retail channels.

Based in Bucharest, Romania, Szabolcs Nemes has been with the firm since 2001, in the period developing industry expertise in energy & utilities, telecommunications and transportation. His functional expertise spans strategy development, large-scale transformation, definition of new organisation models, operational excellence and efficiency improvement. Nemes supports clients in Romania and throughout the Central Eastern European region.

Last but not least, the Frenchman Pierre-Antoine Bodin, who has been named a partner in Roland Berger’s Pharma and Healthcare practice. Prior to joining the management consultancy in 2012, he spent eight years in various supply chain and marketing positions at pharma companies Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.

Beyond the eight new partners in Europe, Roland Berger also promoted four partners in Asia and the Middle East.

Staying in The Technology Race and Avoiding Pitfalls

Technology is the continually developing result of accumulated knowledge and application in all techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in industrial production and scientific research.

It is vital for law firms and in house counsel that they are at the forefront when advising on the specifics and legalities of the technology supply chain, which increasingly relies on mining raw materials for use within the manufacturing process of ‘smart’ products. However, an acute awareness of the barriers is also essential.

Given the increase in protectionist policies, and the inherent link that exists between these and mining essential raw materials, it has never been more important that in house teams work closely with their advisers to anticipate market changes and implement strategies to manoeuvre through what can be difficult events and circumstances.

What is becoming evident, as set out in the report, is that there is a startling correlation between countries that pursue digitally protectionist policies as well those that are protectionist in relation to their natural resources – in particular China, Russia, India, Vietnam, Argentina and Turkey – six key global players in both areas of the economy.

Given that countries like these are the very same which house the essential raw materials that need to be mined to fuel the development of technology, it is crucial to understand how to anticipate the impact of such behaviour on the technology supply chain.

General Counsel could be forgiven for focusing more on the operational and trading aspects relating to the existing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and global trade – and simply seeing digital protectionism as a side-line issue to focus on at a later date.

This would be a mistake, given that these measures pose as much a threat to international trade and development as the more traditional tools of trade protectionism that seem to be most in focus at present.

Not only do the identified countries above have a strong track record in imposing trade barriers and tariffs on imports, they also have a high number of restrictive data laws and large deposits of the vital raw materials needed to make smartphones, connected devices and batteries for electric vehicles.

While this is happening in real time, many technology focused brands – focused on the manufacturing side of the industry – may not yet have anticipated how this will affect their sourcing and subsequent supply chain partners and processes.

This makes it even more important that General Counsel communicate the effect of this on the output of their businesses in order to assist internal relationships or indeed, using the foresight of their selected legal advisers.