13 Aug 2020

Around the house: appointments at Vivo Energy, exits from Barclays

Our latest in-house round-up also sees Nature Energy hire a leading Danish energy GC

Adrian De Souza joins African energy company Vivo Energy Shutterstock

African energy company Vivo Energy has hired Adrian De Souza as general counsel and group company secretary following a stint as interim company secretary last year at Barclays, which recently promoted Stephen Shapiro to group general counsel

The pair worked together at Barclays, with Shapiro acting as group company secretary and De Souza performing the same role for its UK business. Prior to Barclays, De Souza held similar roles at Land Securities, Goldman Sachs joint venture ISQA group, and worked as a senior lawyer at global brewing company SABMiller, also alongside Shapiro.

Like Shapiro, De Souza is a Hogan Lovells alumnus, but he also went on to spend five years at Clifford Chance. His knowledge of commercial law and emerging markets will come in useful given that Vivo Energy distributes and markets Shell and Engen branded fuels and lubricants to many African countries.

De Souza succeeds interim general counsel Edward Walker, who subsequently moved to Abellio Group, and becomes the permanent replacement for Ben Walker, who worked as GC at Vivo for six years until the end of last summer when he joined Neptune Energy. 

Wiggin hires Barclays IP head

Meantime, Barclays’ former global head of intellectual property Calum Smyth has joined IP boutique Wiggin as a partner. Smyth brings with him experience in handling patent disputes, cybersecurity investigations and compliance, and software licensing claims. 

Smyth started out as an aeronautical engineer before retraining as a lawyer, working for Hogan Lovells, Bird & Bird and then the London office of ill-fated US law firm Howrey. He joined Kraft Foods in 2007, where he led the patent desk across Europe.

At Barclays, which he joined in 2012, Smyth led a four-person global IP team, and advised senior management on all aspects of IP at a time when digital transformation was central to the bank’s growth strategy. His work spanned the whole business, as well as individual business units.

He will be best remembered at Barclays for his work with start-ups, where the bank engaged with fintech businesses and new technologies, including the RISE programme and Eagle Labs initiative.

Sara Ashby, head of IP at Wiggin, said Smyth’s arrival “provides a deep level of tech expertise, particularly in relation to patent and software disputes,” whose experience, she said, would be invaluable “as a commercially-savvy practitioner who has been at the coal face in a corporate environment.”

Smyth praised his new firm’s virtues, including its entrepreneurial culture and digital strategy. He added: “The firm has broad experience of helping clients at different stages of development and at different parts of the supply chain—and as a result its lawyers fully understand both their clients’ creative assets at a granular level and, critically, the eco-systems in which they operate”. 

Federspiel joins Nature Energy

Leading Danish general counsel Jacob Federspiel has joined Denmark-based Nature Energy, Europe's largest producer of green biogas, with responsibility for the US and EU markets. 

Federspiel, who will combine contractual and commercial functions with his overall business responsibilities, brings with him energy business experience from Welltec, which he leaves after six years.

Writing on LinkedIn, he said: “Having worked in different parts of the energy sector, including exploration and production of oil and gas, oil services to help reduce industry emissions, I now look forward to applying this experience in renewables.”

He was vice president for legal services at Welltec for two-and-a-half years, managing the energy company’s legal function, and three-and-a-half years in charge of the Africa legal function, which saw him manage legal responsibilities across 15 countries. 

He was also co-chair of Oil Gas Denmark’s legal committee for the past three years, and has worked in a number of senior roles across other industries, including as head of legal at Denmark’s state investment fund Vaekstfonden and as a senior legal counsel at global shipping company Maersk. He qualified at Lett Law Firm, before a short spell at leading Danish firm Kromann Reumert.