Aviva set to launch European panel as new GC joins from GE

Global insurer plans first European legal panel as GC role created

Aviva is set to put together an inaugural European legal panel after hiring GE Capital’s Monica Risam as the global insurer’s first European general counsel.

Risam, the former global GC of GE Capital’s Working Capital Solutions division, joined Aviva’s London headquarters last month to take up the newly-created role.

She will report to group GC and company secretary Kristine Cooper and has been handed a remit to create Aviva’s first-ever European panel within the next six months, in an effort to cut legal costs and improve efficiency. She will also manage Aviva Europe’s legal and 
compliance functions.

Aviva currently instructs Clifford Chance (CC), Slaughter and May and Linklaters on a regular basis, with its Spanish subsidiary turning to Ashurst for regular advice. The FTSE 100 company plans to send out pitch requests to these four firms, as well as several others with the right practice fit.

Dual-qualified Risam, who started her career at legacy firm Dewey Ballantine and spent several years as an associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges in London and New York, became UK GC of GE Capital Solutions in 2007 and took over as global GC in 2009. Her former role at GE Capital has now been filled by Connecticut-based legal counsel Antje Wilmer.

Risam commented: “My priority in my new role as GC for Aviva Europe is to create a strong pan-European legal infrastructure that will support growth in our key European markets. One of my initiatives will be to ensure we have a European panel in place in order to increase efficiency, manage cost and leverage 
best practices.”

Aviva recently sold off its RAC roadside rescue business to Carlyle Group for £1bn, in a deal which saw a trio of magic circle firms instructed. Slaughters took the lead for Aviva, while CC and Linklaters advised Carlyle on private equity and finance 
aspects respectively.