Greenberg Traurig taps Willkie for new European restructuring co-chair in Milan

Bruno Cova will co-chair group alongside John Houghton in London and Claudia Hard in Berlin

Bruno Cova Image courtesy of Greenberg Traurig

Greenberg Traurig has hired veteran Italian lawyer Bruno Cova from Willkie Farr & Gallagher to co-chair its European restructuring and insolvency and compliance groups.

Cova joins as a shareholder in Milan, and brings with him a team of three lawyers – local partner Fabio Cozzi, counsel Juljan Puna and senior associate Massimo Contesso. Cova will focus on transactions such as cross-border acquisitions and restructuring of distressed companies. He also regularly advises international corporations and financial institutions on governance and risk management, as well as legal and compliance issues. He will co-chair the restructuring practice alongside London-based shareholder John Houghton, who joined in September 2021 from Latham & Watkins, and Berlin-based shareholder Claudia Hard.

Richard Rosenbaum, executive chairman of Greenberg Traurig, said: “During these times of disruptive economic and geopolitical change around the globe, this is a rare opportunity to welcome someone with Bruno’s combination of top-tier reputation and experience with complex companies and situations."

Cova spent about three-and-a-half years at Willkie’s Italian affiliate in Milan, having previously spent more than 14 years at Paul Hastings, where he opened the firm’s Milan office and which he chaired until 2019. He also had spells in-house at Italian dairy company Parmalat (as chief legal advisor), Fiat Group (as general counsel), the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (as chief compliance officer) and Italian energy giant Eni (as GC for its exploration and production business). He started his legal career as an associate at Studio Legale De Luca in Milan back in 1986 following a stint in the Italian Navy.

Mario Santa Maria and Luigi Santa Maria, co-managing shareholders of the firm’s Milan office, said: “The addition of Bruno is another step forward in supporting the growth of the European team and of the Milan office, relying on the qualities of high-calibre professionals who will strengthen our practice and its position as a leading advisor for complex transactions and projects worldwide.”

Other international firms have been expanding their Italian coverage this year. In February, Herbert Smith Freehills hired a five-strong team from Simmons & Simmons to launch a private equity and capital markets practice in Milan. Also in February, DAC Beachcroft launched in Italy with the addition of an eight-strong insurance team from local firm ADVANT Nctm. And in January, Clyde & Co hired litigation and insurance partner Leonardo Giani from Simmons & Simmons to launch the firm’s Milan office.

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