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Martin Strnad has been the General Counsel of Y Soft – A Czech Software company headquartered in Brno, with offices in ten countries – since March 2016. He was previously an Attorney with Havel, Holasek & Partners and a Managing Associate with PwC Legal. Earlier still, he was a Clerk responsible for drafting bills of law and assisting in the preparation process with the Legislative Office of the Czech Ministry of Interior.

We first spoke with Pawel Stykowski, the Head of Legal at InterRisk in Poland, two years ago, in the December 2014 issue of the CEE Legal Matters. We decided to follow up with him now to see how his role and expectations have changed in that time. 

Vladimira Jicinska is the Head of Legal at AHOLD, responsible for the Czech market. She first joined the company in December 2012 after spending a little over two years in China working as the Head of Legal and Compliance of Home Credit China. Before that, she worked for AAA Auto holding for nine years, initially as an Acquisition Lawyer, and later as the Group Legal Manager of the company.

Based in Ankara, Bora Kaya is the Managing Legal Counsel at Gama Power Systems Engineering and Contracting, a company that he first joined in March 2015. Prior to that he was the Head of Legal at Ronesans Holding from October 2012 to December 2014. Earlier still, he worked for Eregli Iron and Steel Works Co. as the Assistant to the Head of Legal Department.

Dennis Avrouschenko is the recently appointed Head of Legal & Compliance, CIS & East Europe at DHL. Previously, he worked for Gazprombank, where he was a Business Support Head / Capital Markets. Earlier still, he was the Head of Legal & Compliance at ZAO Standard Bank, a Legal Adviser with Deutsche Bank, and the Head of Corporate and HR Department with RAO UES. Before moving in-house, he worked with Allen & Overy Legal Services in Moscow

Andreea Alexandrescu is the Head of Legal with Carrefour Romania, a company that she has spent the better part of her career with. She first joined the retail company in 2006 as a Legal Advisor responsible for real estate matters. Prior to her current company she worked for Gide Loyrette Nouel.

Dana Ionescu is the Head of Legal at Adecco Romania, a company she has been with since October 2013. Previously, she worked as the Legal Affairs Coordinator and HR Business Partner for Rosegur from 2010 to 2013. Earlier still, she was a Senior Legal Consultant with Realitatea-Catavencu, a Legal Manager with the Dacris Group, a Legal Manager and HR Business Partner with Phoenica Grand Hotel, and a Legal Advisor with the Romanian Ministry of Transportation, in the External Financial Relations Directorate.

Milan Lomic is the General Counsel Adria & Balkan at L’Oreal, a company that he joined in October 2012. Prior to that he worked for Metro Cash & Carry as a Legal Advisor and Antitrust Officer. He has also worked as a Legal Advisor at Unicredit Bank Serbia and as an Assistant to the Judge at the Fifth Municipal Court in Belgrade.

Based in Zagreb, Anita Pejic Ilisevic is the Head of Legal for Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for Henkel, where, in May 2016, she was also appointed the Compliance Representative Adria Region. Prior to Henkel, Ilisevic was a Corporate Lawyer with Tisak.

Dino Aganovic is the Head of Legal and Compliance at HETA d.o.o. in Sarajevo (former Hypo Alpe-Adria-Leasing). During the Hypo days, he represented the bank in the General Assembly of Chamber of Commerce FBiH between August 2014 and January 2015 and as its Director of the Legal Team earlier. He still is a Member of a Supervisory Board of Hypo’s Fund Management Company. Before joining Hypo, Aganovic was the Head of Legal and HRM at Intermerkur Nova d.o.o. Sarajevo and Mersteel d.o.o. Sarajevo (Merkur).

Juliana Guaiato Aufschnaiter is a Senior Expert working within the Special Exposures Management team at Raiffeisen Bank International, where she reports to the head of division. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she’s been with RBI for over 10 years now, and she first moved to Vienna in 2004, when she took on her first role within the banking sector with the affiliate of Banco do Brasil in Austria. Earlier experience included working for TNT in Brazil.

Janos Miklos Jakab has been the Legal Director of Coca Cola HBC for the last two years. Prior to joining the soft drinks company, he worked as an external consultant as the Managing Partner of Island Hill Consulting, preceded by a long tenure with British American Tobacco from January 2001 to 2012, by which time he had become BAT’s Director of Legal and Security Affairs for Hungary and Austria.

Sergei Stefanishin became the Head of Legal CIS & SEE at DHL in Moscow in November 2015. His previous experience includes working for EY, first as a Director and later as a Partner and CIS Transactions Law Leader. Prior to EY he was the Head of the Moscow Representative Office of Bech-Bruun International, which he joined as a Senior Lawyer in 2001. Earlier still, he was a Senior Lawyer with InSpace Consulting and a Junior Lawyer with Baker & McKenzie.

Libor Licka holds the dual role of Regional Legal Counsel for ASE and Regional Compliance Officer for Europe East, Baltics & Scandinavia at Schindler, where he is currently responsible for the legal matters of the company in 13 jurisdictions. Slovak in origin, Licka has recently moved back to Bratislava from Schindler’s Vienna headquarters, where he had been based. He talked to CEE Legal Matters about the move and its implications for his role.

Pinar Aksakal Aydin is Legal Counsel at Zorlu Holding, one of the largest corporate groups in Turkey, where she leads Zorlu Energy, managing a team of 11 lawyers and reporting directly to the Zorlu Holding Head of Legal. Zorlu Group companies are active principally in the areas of textiles, electronics manufacturing, energy, and financial services. Aydin joined Zorlu Holding in January 2009 and – with the exception of a brief period at Avea Iletisim Hizmetleri in 2012 – and has been there since. Before joining Zorlu Holding she spent a year at the well-known Eryurekli & Fidan law office, and a little over a year at the Salih Zeki Bayten law office.

Tobiasz Adam Kowalczyk is a graduate of the Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun. He also studied European Law at the University of Miskolc in Hungary and in the European Academy of Diplomacy. Kowalczyk is actively working on the development of mediation and arbitration. As part of his pro bono activities, he is also the Head of Region in the National Chamber of Mediators and Arbitrators. At the same time, as an expert in the Center for Research and Analysis (Employers of Poland), he conducts research on the socio-economic effects of the actions of public authorities and social partners on socio-economic situation, in particular in the enterprise sector in Poland and Europe. He is serving as the Head of the Legal Department and Compliance Officer at Samsung Electronics Poland Manufacturing. He describes himself as a “target driven and goal-oriented lawyer, valued for commitment, openness, and loyalty to the employer.” He was recently selected from a group of top young lawyers in Poland for the prestigious “Rising Star” award.

In December 2014 CEE Equity Partners Limited acquired  a majority stake in BKF University of Applied Sciences, a private higher education business in Hungary.

White & Case advised them in the transaction. The White & Case team in Budapest that advised CEEEP was led by Partner Edward Keller and included Partner Rob Irving and Associates Zita Albert, Balazs Varszeghi, and Akos Mates-Lanyi.

We reached out to Judith Gliniecki, the General Counsel at CEE Equity Partners, with several questions about the deal.



CEE Legal Matters has asked a number of Ukrainian lawyers who were personally involved in the events on Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev to describe both their reasons for being there and the dramatic events they witnessed. This, the first such account, was sent to us by Dmytro Ivanusa, the Head of Legal at Donoway Assurance (Ukraine), a Member of Crowe Horwath International. We want to thank Dmytro for taking the time to write this exclusive account for our readers. 

On March 13, 2017, CEELM reported that Arcus Infrastructure Partners, an independent fund manager specializing in European infrastructure, had acquired an 85% stake in Gdansk Transport Company S.A., established to work on AmberOne A1 motorway concession in Poland. We invited Toby Smith, the General Counsel for Arcus Infrastructure Partners, to share his thoughts on the company’s first transaction in Poland.

On January 18, 2017, CEELM reported that CBRE Global Investors had sold its significant CEE retail portfolio to the CPI Property Group. On April 12th, we published an interview with the General Counsel at CPI, and now we present the perspective of Roland Bebcak, the Head of Divestments CEE at CBRE Global Investors.

On January 18, 2017, CEELM reported that CPI Property Group had acquired a high quality retail portfolio, including 11 shopping centers across CEE, from CBRE Global Investors. As soon as the transaction was closed on March 29, 2017, Martin Matula, the General Counsel at CPI Property Group, agreed to share his thoughts on the deal with us.*

On February 16, 2017, CEELM reported that GTC Real Estate Development had sold the Sasad Resort, an almost-completed residential project in Budapest, to Futureal, the largest real estate developer in Hungary. We reached out to Viktoria Molnar, Legal Counsel at GTC Hungary, for information about the deal.

On February 6th, 2017, CEELM reported that Ellex had advised AS Eesti Loto, the Estonian operator of the Bingo Loto, Keno Loto, Viking Loto, and Eurojackpot, on the recent completion of a procurement procedure in order to set up a new internal central information system designed to last for seven years. Heiki Kranich, the Chairman of the Management Board at AS Eesti Loto, agreed to explain how the procurement system was designed.

On January 13th, 2017, CEELM reported that Skanska had handed over its Nordic Light office complex in Budapest to Erste Alapkezelo Zrt. We invited Gabriella Delcsev, the Legal Manager at Skanska Hungary, to describe her team's work on the divestment.  

On December 9, 2016, CEELM reported that A&D Pharma Group acquired 78 pharmacies from Sibpharmamed in Romania. We invited Mihaela Scarlatescu, Head of Legal and Compliance at A&D Pharma, to explain how the transaction was realized.

On February 3rd, 2017, CEELM reported that the Estonian Supreme Court ruled in favor of If P&C Insurance’s claims regarding professional liability involving a construction project for Skanska AS. We reached out to Heinar Olak, the Head of Legal at If P&C, to clarify the grounds of the dispute and its finale.

On December 20th, 2016, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Slovenian metal-processing company UNIOR had completed a syndicated debt refinancing process with a group of six banks. We interviewed Darko Hrastnik, the Chairman of the Board and CEO at UNIOR, who was directly responsible for handling the transaction and managing the external counsel.

On December 19, 2016, CEELM reported that the United States's W.P. Carey Inc. had acquired a logistics center in Lithuania and signed a long-term lease with Kesko Senukai. Ziad Hammodi, Managing Director and Chief Global Transaction Counsel at W.P. Carey, agreed to comment on the deal.

On December 20, 2016, CEELM reported that Inter Cars, an importer and distributer of automotive spare parts in CEE, obtained a loan facility from a consortium of banks. Jacek Piotrowiak, the General Counsel at Inter Cars, kindly agreed to share his experience managing the legal aspects of the deal.

On November 29, 2016, CEELM reported that the Mareshki Medicines retail chain had been successful in the two-year litigation at the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria, which resulted in the repeal of anti-competitive provisions on prescribing and dispensing medicine in Bulgaria's Ordinance No 4. We asked Irena Georgieva, In-house Attorney at Mareshki, to explain what happened.

On November 17, 2016, CEELM reported on the merger of two shopping malls in Romania – Bucuresti Mall and Plaza Mall – owned and operated by the real estate and development company Anchor Group. We reached out to Mihaela Marin, the Head of Legal Department at Anchor Group, who agreed to elaborate on the merger.

On October 28, 2016, CEELM reported that P3, a leading pan-European owner, developer and manager of logistics properties, had announced that it had completed a EUR 1.4 billion long-term refinancing, arranged with a group of leading international financial institutions. We invited Katie Schoultz, the Group General Counsel at P3, to share her thoughts on the deal.

On October 14, 2016, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Norwegian property company Linstow AS had sold its stake in UAB Baltijos Parkai, the holder of Park Inn hotels in Lithuania, to UAB Green Hotel. We reached out to Knut Loken, the Chief Investment Officer at Linstow, for more information on the sale.

On November 24, 2017, CEELM reported that Austrian real estate developer WM Group had sold its six retail parks in Slovakia to Immofinanz AG, designed to expand the latter's STOP SHOP brand. Michael Wakolbinger, Managing Director of WM Slovakia, who also acts as a General Counsel to the senior owner of the WM/MID Group, agreed to comment on the sale.

On November 28, 2016, CEELM reported that the Bulgarian electricity power distributor Energo-Pro Varna EAD had sold seven-year bonds worth of EUR 130 million to international investors. We invited Tsvetanka Vasileva, Head of Legal and Compliance at Balkan Advisory Company to provide us an insider’s view on the matter.

On October 11, 2017, CEELM reported that UAB Bite Lietuva had received a license from the Bank of Lithuania to operate as an electronic money institution. Jurgita Pelediene, the Legal Manager at Bite Lietuva, agreed to answer our questions on the procedure.

On October 31, 2016, CEELM reported that the Ukranian start-up eTachki had obtained USD 1 million investment from local capital fund TA Ventures. We asked the Head of Legal at eTachki, Marina Makarova, to tell us more about the deal and the structure of her in-house legal team.

On November 1, 2016, CEELM reported that ZGI Capital has invested EUR 700,000 in Latvian FinTech company Mobilly. Rudolfs Krese, Investment Director at ZGI Capital agreed to provide more details on the deal.

On August 17, 2016, CEELM reported that Yilport Holding had signed a public-private partnership agreement and acquired the right to operate Puerto Bolivar Harbor in Ecuador for 50 years. We reached out to Legal Director at Yildirim Holding for more details on the deal.

On October 12, 2016, CEELM reported that Lords LB Asset Management had entered into a management contract with Carlson Rezidor to open a Radisson RED hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania. Fund Manager Marius Zemaitis agreed to answer our questions on the deal.

On October 18th, 2016, CEELM reported that Slovenian start-up Creatriks had successfully obtained an investment from Speedinvest II International GmbH. We reached out to Creatriks COO & Co-founder Aljaz Ketis to find out how the investment was obtained.

On September 22, 2016, CEELM reported that CA Immo had purchased the Millenium Towers office complex in Budapest in what was described as the biggest real estate transaction of this year in Hungary. CA Immo’s Group Head of Legal Affairs Ingo Steinwender agreed to elaborate on the acquisition.