Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street

The crisis engulfing high-street retailers is showing few signs of abating. May saw the public collapse of almost the entirety of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant eateries, and in June, retail tycoon Philip Green’s Arcadia empire narrowly avoided bankruptcy with a rescue deal severing some 50 clothing stores.

According to data from Deloitte, 125 retailers went into administration last year compared to 118 in 2017, including 26 large companies. Continue reading “Under pressure – Retail GCs fight to adapt to a brutal High Street”

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow

2018 was a good year for Indian entrepreneurs. The world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem saw its base expand by 12-15% and investor funding grow by 108% year-on-year, as well as a rise in late-stage funding, according to a 2018 report by industry association NASSCOM and consultants Zinnov. This boom was last year enough to hand unicorn status – valuations on young tech companies of more than $1bn – to more than eight Indian companies.

But just a few years ago, things were not quite so rosy. Despite the success of e-commerce wunderkind Flipkart (sold last year to Walmart for $16bn) and its ilk, investment plummeted from $1.42bn to $583m between Q1 and Q2 2016 (according to CB Insights, October 2016) and businesses started to go under. Continue reading “Start-ups in India – Reaping what you sow”

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale

As the world’s second most populous country, India accounts for 17.5% of the world’s population. And it is rapidly catching up with the number one, China. On an annual basis, India’s population growth rate of 1.2% is more than double that of its Asian neighbour.

But while population growth is largely seen as a means of economic development, it comes with costs. The burden on cities and infrastructure of a rapidly-growing population must be addressed if the country is to reach its full potential. The need is such that the infrastructure question was a cornerstone of this year’s election. The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by returning Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pledged $1.44trn towards infrastructure – a stark contrast to its main opponent, the Congress Party, which instead focused on alleviating poverty and job creation. Continue reading “Project India – Meet the GCs charged with building on a vast scale”

The clean-up crew – The rise of the in-house litigator

The clean-up crew – The rise of the in-house litigator

It is a complex world. Globalisation, increasingly interconnected economies, decades of tougher regulation and, yes, frenetic levels of law making across the world mean that getting business right is harder than ever and not all the proliferating risks can be managed.

All perfect conditions for litigators, which is why much of the post-banking crisis boom in legal services has been driven by demand for contentious law, rather than the transactional work that used to underwrite the high-end legal market. Continue reading “The clean-up crew – The rise of the in-house litigator”

State of play – In-house tech perspectives

State of play – In-house tech perspectives

Between the reams of paper (literal and virtual) spent discussing how technology will affect the legal profession and the thousands of legal tech companies springing up around the world, technology is on the minds of in-house teams of all sizes and sectors.

But often what is not communicated is how in-house counsel feel about the technological revolution hitting their profession, and how their teams and businesses have responded, if at all. Continue reading “State of play – In-house tech perspectives”

The Client Profile: Elizabeth Messud, Kingfisher

The Client Profile: Elizabeth Messud, Kingfisher

Living at the home of an ancient babushka. Rubbing shoulders with bodyguards on share acquisition deals. Arranging licensing deals so that The Muppets characters can appear on ice cream wrappers in Russia. ‘It’s been a fascinating and varied 25 years of practice, made deeply rich by the experience of different people and their different ways,’ Kingfisher legal director Elizabeth Messud says. ‘There has been many a modest cliff hanger in all I have done.’

That career has taken Messud from Toronto to a collective farm in rural Russia, to Moscow, then to London, via stints in Spain, France and Switzerland. It has also seen her work for one of the biggest companies in the world, Nestlé, as well as the finance arm of the World Bank, a Russian oligarch and, now, FTSE 100 retailer Kingfisher. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Elizabeth Messud, Kingfisher”