Why Leadership with Integrity is Crucial to Achieving Sustainable Business Practices for Corporations:
How the In-House Legal Function May Serve as a Driving Factor in Promoting Sustainable Value

Timo Matthias Spitzer, Head of Legal Corporate and Investment Banking Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Scandinavia, Banco Santander, SA., Germany
Klemen Kreča, Legal Corporate and Investment Banking Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Scandinavia, Banco Santander, S.A., Germany

The importance of an environmentally and socially friendly business model has risen to an all-time high. It is a direct result of significant cultural changes, which have altered, potentially forever, the perceptions and preferences of parties engaged in business and commerce. This has created a far-reaching ripple effect, which brings about enormous challenges for regulators as well. Even though regulators and customers alike seek to propagate sustainable behaviour, old habits may be hard to unlearn. Regulators, too, are facing uncharted territory, and customers need to cope with a distinct asymmetry of information that may ultimately lead to consumers unwillingly subsidizing the very products and companies they wish to avoid. On the other hand, some companies failed to adapt to new market trends and many more suffer under the burden of bureaucracy, uncertainty and costs associated with onerous albeit well-intentioned regulation. The question remains which mechanism is best to match the undeniable consumer appetite for environmentally and socially considerate products from the companies that produce in such a manner and behave not only environmentally and socially considerate on paper.

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Germany Management Banking & Finance May 2021 Vol.14, No. 55, Spring 2021

Timo Matthias Spitzer

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Timo Matthias Spitzer is an internationally acclaimed and results oriented General Counsel. He worked at three major banks and three leading international law firms. Timo is dually qualified as Rechtsanwalt (Germany) and Solicitor (England & Wales) with a First Class Honors LL.M. in International Economic Law from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is a native German, fluent in English, French, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish. Timo is currently Santander’s Head of Legal Corporate and Investment Banking for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia. He is also a Board Member and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Law and Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt in a global Top 10 Master program for banking, finance and securities law as recognised by LL.M. Guide 2019 and 2020. Timo is Chairman of The Legal 500 General Counsel Powerlist Germany Advisory Board as well as Member of the General Counsel Leadership Circle and Advisory Board Member of the German Institute for Legal Departments and Corporate Lawyers (diruj) and Business Law Magazine, Going Digital Magazine and Sustainable Value Magazine. He is the author of “The Importance of Human Leadership with Integrity in a Highly Regulated and Tech-Reliant Corporate Environment” as published by Harvard Business Law Review (February ‘20). Timo is a keynote speaker at reputable conferences (e.g., at Harvard Law School). He is featured on The Legal 500 General Counsel Powerlists Germany 2017, 2019 and GC Powerlist Germany Teams 2018. Timo is the winner of the 2018 Santander Group Global WiseLegalSpeakers’ Award and the 2019 European and Global Counsel Awards by the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Klemen Kreča

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Klemen Kreča graduated first in class from Slovenia’s premier law school (Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana), was one of twenty recipients of the University’s award for extraordinary academic achievements out of more than 40,000 students enrolled across all faculties, whilst winning all major national moot courts, tutoring fellow students, working at a renowned law firm and on various academic projects. Klemen has experience in white-collar law, corporate law, restructuring law and capital markets law. At the time of this article, an LL.M. candidate at the Institute for Law and Finance of the Goethe University and works with Timo at Banco Santander’s Corporate & Investment Banking legal department in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Banco Santander, S.A.

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Banco Santander, SA.

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Views are my own and may not necessarily correspond to those of my organisation.

Germany Management Banking & Finance May 2021 Vol.14, No. 55, Spring 2021

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