2017 Corporate Counsel Forum Middle East

Corporate Counsel Forum Middle East
2017 Conference Programme

Thursday 11 May 2017
The Ritz-Carlton, 
Jumeirah Beach Residence
Dubai, United Arab Emirates




Opening address from the chairman

Andrew Cooke, general counsel, Flash Entertainment


Keynote Address: Trust, expectations & leadership – utilising societal trends for strategic growth

As a specialist in the area of Government strategic communications and media strategy, Robin Gordon-Farleigh has over 23 years' experience in advising international Governments including the UK, Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Europe on a variety of strategic communications. Today, Robin will explore the evolving importance of trust within businesses across the Middle East and identify key tools for encouraging collaboration and enabling growth. 

Robin Gordon-Farleigh, regional director – government strategies, Edelman Middle East


Debate: Trust me? Trust me not?

What does it really mean to be a trusted legal advisor? How can you prove your worth whilst commanding respect? Do you become trusted by sticking to your principles under pressure or do you need to share the values of your employer in order to attain the ‘trusted’ title. General Counsel today have set themselves the immeasurable goal of becoming THE trusted advisor, a term which in itself is hard to define. No child in history has ever said “when I grow up I want to be a trusted advisor” and yet it seems to be a reoccurring aspiration. Witness this debate first hand as two senior legal counsel go head to head in a discussion to challenge perceptions and provoke further discussions around the future of the role.

Moderator: Andrew Cooke, general counsel, Flash Entertainment

Debater A: Alex Ridout, general counsel & company secretary, Lamprell

Debater B: Patrick Watson-Thorp, head, UAE regulatory remediation programme, Standard Chartered Bank 


Panel: Leading through change

Looking back over the past century we have witnessed a huge amount of social, economic and cultural change in the Middle East. As an in house counsel sitting here today you will have collectively seen over 50 years of that change first hand – many of you experiencing the difficulties and rewards as a result. Today, our panel will discuss how in house counsel can navigate through internal and external challenges including the rise of regulations and the impact of new laws, right through to the current economic climate and its effect on internal business strategies.

Moderator: Kiran Scarr, general counsel, legal and compliance, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre

Filippo Cossalter, legal director, emerging markets - pharmaceutical group, Johnson & Johnson 

Nasser Ali Kasawneh, managing partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Sophie Moloney, chief legal officer, OSN


Networking and Refreshment Break


Interactive Breakout Sessions

         A) Desktop crisis management workshop
Sponsored by Kroll
Facilitated by experts in responding to internal crisis management, this session will guide you through a fictional scenario where your awareness and response to a crisis will be tested. Active realisation of the potential errors made during a crisis will be debated with the aim of improving your understanding and anticipation to such issues. Join us for a truly engaging workshop.
Ahmad Chit, senior director, Kroll
Daniel Turner, associate managing director, Kroll

         B) A modern toolkit for effective due diligence – frameworks, responsibilities and processes
Sponsored by Fichte & Co
The due diligence framework is a powerful risk management tool. It allows in house counsel to obtain assurance of a potential delivery partner’s capacity and capability as well as greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of contractual counterparties. This insight allows legal teams to be better informed of the risks involved when working with certain partners, leading to better managed intervention. For the next hour Fichte & Co will delve into the key components to effective due diligence during the contracting and assessment phases as well as provide strategic advice on the importance of outlining the frameworks principles and factors considered when entering contractual agreements.
Jasamin Fichte, managing partner, Fichte & Co
Franco Grilli, partner and head of corporate & banking practice, Fichte & Co

 C) A guide to UAE bankruptcy and insolvency law 
Sponsored by Reed Smith 

After years of waiting, the much anticipated insolvency regime was officially introduced in December last year, in order to ease the orderly unwinding of bankrupt companies, including protections for debtors. The law – despite being relatively new – had the potential to grow foreign investment and assist current businesses in a position of financial difficulty right across the Middle East. Now, five months on, have we seen the new regime benefit businesses, new and old or are there still ongoing challenges for businesses trying to establish successful operations in the Middle East? Join our experts as they discuss all this and more in our hands on workshop.
Simon Harvey, partner, Reed Smith 
Sai Pidatala, senior associate, Reed Smith 
Tania de Swart, partner, Reed Smith 


Lunch Break


Panel: Measuring success - departmental KPI & Metrics programmes (a tool for management, not evaluation)

Today the emphasis on adding value is higher than ever been before. Senior Management are increasingly looking for solid, tangible proof that the legal department are delivering value across the business and utilising their resources to the full. As time has gone by, more and more companies are beginning to develop metrics which capture the value of the services being delivered as a way of better articulating their value to senior management. Here in this panel discussion we will explore how KPI and Metrics programmes can be a useful tool for aligning the goals of the individual with the strategic aims of the company meanwhile assessing the best methods for implementing departmental Metrics, dos and don’ts and much more. 

Moderator: Nicola Packer, legal counsel, Flash Entertainment

Alexandra Dagher, senior vice president – legal, GEMS Education

Isoken Imohe, head of group legal, Middle East & India, DNV GL


Interactive Breakout Sessions

         A) Corporate governance 4.0 - digital challenges and opportunities
Sponsored by EQUITY 
Information technology has become ubiquitous in our everyday life, as much on a personal level as on a professional one. More innovative day by day, information technology plays a major role in evolving organizations, which are directly affected by this phenomena of “digitalisation”. For the next hour, experts in Corporate Governance from across the region will address how new forms of information technology can significantly enhance the performance of organisations and provide essential support to corporate governance teams. Attend this forward-thinking workshop for useful tips on how to utilise digitalisation to your advantage. 
Nacime Belarbi, operations director - MEA, EQUITY 
Gaetan Fron, business development director - Europe, EQUITY

Nick Nadal, vice president & company secretary, Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance 

         B) Construction disputes – avoiding the same pitfalls 
Sponsored by Arcadis

A sustained low-oil price is creating the conditions for an increase in contractual disputes within the Middle East. For the next hour, an expert panel will discuss the findings from recent Arcadis research that details the most common causes of disputes and the most effective methods of resolution. As a firm that specialises in construction disputes, Arcadis will also address how the industry can look to avoid or mitigate the risk of future disputes as construction activity ramps up over the coming years. Join the team for expert insight, practical advice, and recommended strategies on how to avoid the same pitfalls as the past.
Robert Nelson-Williams, head of contract solutions, Middle East, Arcadis 
John Nester, director - head of quantum, Arcadis 
Mark Blanksby, partner, Clyde & Co

         C) Executive presence training
Do You Command Respect? Communicate with Authority and Style? Engage People Around Your Narrative? Own the room? Fire Hearts and Minds?
Executive Presence has emerged as one of the hottest topics in Leadership and rightfully so. Research suggests that a Leaders ability to look, sound and act like a world-class executive is an essential skill-set for any ambitious leader intent in leading at the peak. Leaders who exhibit Executive Presence step-up and stand-out, they magnetize others and use their power, presence and warmth to fire hearts and minds and stimulate positive action. In short, they “own the room”. In this dynamic and practical workshop, explore how Executive Presence can enhance your chances of Leadership and Career success.
Dr Brendan Mccann, academic, management consultant and executive coach

How to manage the top 10 challenges employers face in the Middle East
Sponsored by Squire Patton Boggs
This interactive session led by Squire Patton Boggs partners, Sarah Lawrence and Elias Hayek, looks at the frequent challenges faced by employers in the region from ensuring common pitfalls in employment contracts are avoided to dealing with terminations and severance payments. Attend this informative workshop, which will draw on both the in-house and private practice experience of the speakers, for some top tips on navigating the employment law landscape in the Middle East.
Elias Hayek, partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Sarah Lawrence, partner, employment, Squire Patton Boggs


Networking and Refreshment Break


Presentation: VAT - The eye of the storm
With expertise in advising corporate and governmental clients globally, Justin Whitehouse, global public sector tax leader at Deloitte will deliver a timely overview of the impending introduction of VAT in the Middle East. 

Panel Discussion: D-DAY - VAT in the Middle East

 For the next 25 minutes our panel of regional experts will talk about the impact of the introduction of VAT and how general counsel can prepare themselves and their teams for the influx of changes ahead. 

Moderator: Mona Hussein, director - legal and complaince, MENA, Adidas Emerging Markets 

Mohammed Ali Khalaf Al-Tawil, general counsel, Evolvence Capital

Justin Whitehouse, global public sector tax leader, Deloitte


Closing remarks from the chairman


Close of conference

NB. Law firm delegates and consultants may attend ONLY as event sponsors.

For more information please call Natalie Hill on +44 (0)203 868 7531 or email legalweekconferenc@alm.com 

To express an interest in speaking at the Corporate Counsel Forum Middle East 2017 please email Isobel Rees at legalweekconference@alm.com 


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