BEA Emea general counsel jumps ship

Nasdaq-listed technology company BEA Systems’ legal function has plunged into further disorder with the departure of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) general counsel Nils Breidenstein.

Breidenstein, who managed 10 in-house lawyers across Emea from the UK, is yet to be replaced permanently. His role is being filled temporarily by a US lawyer, according to the company. BEA refused to comment on Breidenstein’s exit and it is unknown where his next post will be.

Breidenstein’s departure follows the February demotion of BEA’s worldwide general counsel Bob Donohue after an investigation found there were procedural errors in the way the company issued stock options. Donohue remains at BEA as a vice-president in the legal department, but the company has not yet found a successor for the global general counsel role.

Earlier this year Breidenstein made the unusual move of firing panel firm Bird & Bird. He then launched a panel review, but by March had not formed a roster of go-to advisers.

Breidenstein was also a key member of the Commerce & Industry (C&I) Group, the Law Society-recognised body of in-house lawyers led by InBev Western Europe general counsel Deepak Malhotra.

Malhotra told The Lawyer that Breidenstein, who co-chaired the C&I Group’s committee on billing, was still a member of the group, but that a decision is yet to be made regarding his remit following his departure from BEA.