In-housers on the move in Europe

The general counsel The Lawyer talks to each week always wax lyrical about the improved work-life balance that can be found in-house. So it’s perhaps no surprise that those who move in-house often stay there, while big companies find it easy to recruit lawyers from the top private practice firms to fill positions.

Some of Europe’s biggest corporates and financial institutions have been looking for new heads of legal lately. At French bank Société Générale, group deputy general counsel Dominique Bourrinet took over from Gérard Gardella when the latter became adviser to the bank’s corporate secretary at the start of the month.

Meanwhile CBRE Global Investors made deputy EMEA general counsel Anja Ijlstra its EMEA general counsel this week, following the death of Fabrice Rochu late last year.

Swedish company Autoliv also looked internally when general counsel Lars Sjöbring was appointed as Transocean legal head. The automotive safety systems manufacturer gave its Asia general counsel Anthony Nellis the role of interim GC while it looks for a permanent replacement for Sjöbring.

Travel company Tui kept its hunt for a new group general counsel within the in-house sector, snaring Hilka Schneider from engineering company Terex. Tui CEO Friedrich Joussen commented that having a diverse background in the management team can only be a good thing.

But Deutsche Bank broke the mould when it picked up Linklaters partner Florian Drinhausen as co-deputy general counsel for Germany and Central and Eastern Europe in December. The bank has a habit of looking at major firms for its in-housers, having hired Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Christof von Dryander as the region’s general counsel in 2012.

With in-house opportunities opening up all the time – such as at Royal Dutch Shell, following the departure of Peter Rees QC earlier this month – those in search of that elusive life balance may not have to look too far.

 
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