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Announcing its 2010 programme of top level European In-House Legal Counsel strategy meetings, commencing Tuesday 9 March 2010 in Amsterdam, The European strategy meeting specialists IBDG (the International Business Development Group) also published the results of its recent London meeting attended by prominent legal experts drawn from chief counsels and legal directors at organisations including the FT, BAE Systems, The Crown Estate, BNP Paribas, Airbus, Coca-Cola, BP, British Airways, Comet, National Grid, Credit Suisse, Harvey Nicholls, Unisys, Carnival and T-Mobile.

The legal experts reviewed the latest thinking in areas such as Corporate strategies for internal and regulatory investigations, The changing role of legal counsel in the modern organisation as the guardian of ethics and compliance, and Early warning systems for insolvent customers.

IBDG’s personalised agenda resulted in a unique meeting format, provoking much favourable comment from those attending. ‘Excellent to hear similar experiences from people in other industries. Round table discussions particularly useful and interesting’ said Alliance & Leicester plc. The interactive and informal discussions were the hallmark of the meeting. Small exclusive groups of senior legal professionals facing shared challenges and strategic priorities were brought together by IBDG in 60-minute sessions that enabled participants to share ideas and lessons learned. Facilitated by experienced legal professionals, these sessions provided a valuable dialogue with peers on current challenges and topical issues. Each discussion group was deliberately limited in size to ensure that each delegate was given ample opportunity to raise questions and contribute to the discussion.

‘Excellent, good contributions from all’ commented Virgin Retail, as industry-leading professionals shared their experience in high-level strategic case-study-based presentations. ‘Good use of my time. Collected good and useful insights from other directors. Overall an excellent day’ added Unilever’s representative at the strategy meeting.

Strategic networking opportunities formed a key benefit of delegates’ participation. IBDG’s proven format for building and strengthening alliances was underscored by a host of networking programmes, from casual networking activities such as evening social functions and lunches as well as formal networking opportunities that were built into each delegate’s personalised agenda.

‘Good opportunity to network, meet people, especially from industries other than my own’ reported Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. As a valuable addition to the roundtable discussions, one-to-one meetings gave delegates the most time-efficient way to assess potential partners at a strategic level, allowing comparisons and updates of industry knowledge in 30-minute informative and relaxed business meetings.

Tim Bratton, General Counsel at the FT gave a keynote presentation, centred on Watching your business change and ensuring the legal team changes with it, and focussing on key issues such as the importance of keeping your team in tune with wider changes going on within your organisation, Reviewing how your team works and why, what it does well, what it could improve, and The end game: helping to raise the profile of the legal team internally.

The business of change within organisations is one of utmost relevance as businesses seek to find new business models and have to cope with new regulation as a result of recent financial turmoil. In early 2009, Tim, working closely with his team, undertook a formal review of how the FT’s Legal team operated and why, with a view to improving practice and procedure within the legal team both for the benefit of its staff and its internal clients. Tim shared his insights from the FT’s legal overhaul with delegates in a round table discussion.

Meanwhile, Rupert Bondy, Group General Counsel at BP plc looked at Surviving in today’s highly scrutinised corporate environment, and shared his experience of corporate strategies for internal and regulatory investigations. Rupert Bondy has arguably the biggest corporate legal job in the UK – General Counsel to BP with worldwide responsibility for legal and compliance matters. Before joining the oil company as part of a management shake-up in 2008, Mr Bondy was senior lawyer at GlaxoSmithKline, another of Britain’s biggest organisations. In his session, Rupert talked about how businesses are, more than ever, under the full glare of the spotlight, and he discussed the strategies that he uses to deal with internal and regulatory investigations.

Other discussions were held by Maria Da Cunha, Head of Legal and Government & industry Affairs at British Airways, Mark Serfozo, Chief Counsel, Compliance & regulation at BAE Systems, Richard Annett, general Counsel at Comet, Pavel Klimov, General Counsel, UK EMEA, Unisys, Maninder Gill, Legal Director at Harvey Nichols, Kalina Rose, In-house Legal Counsel at GE Seaco Services, Jeff Kirsh, Vice President – Legal and Company Secretary, Coca-Cola, and Dr Iris-Claude Turck, Attorney-at-Law & Director, Credit Suisse Group.

IBDG has also unveiled plans to double in size during 2010. Staff at the firm’s London offices increased by 50 in 2009, and that figure is set to rise by a further 75 by June 2010. In addition, new IBDG offices have opened in Amsterdam and Berlin, with Frankfurt and Oslo set to follow. The plan is then to establish an IBDG presence in Italy.

Notes:

For more information on the strategy meetings programme for 2010, for sponsorship opportunities or information on careers at IBDG see www.IBDG.co.uk http://www.IBDG.co.uk

Contact Person: Katie McBreen or Richard McCann at Friday’s Media London
Company Name: IBDG
Telephone Number: +44 (0)1908 238 001
Fax Number: +44 (0)1908 238 002
Email Addresses: Careers: information@ibdg.co.uk / Media: richardm@fridays-group.co.uk
City: London, Milton Keynes, Amsterdam, Berlin

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