Christiano Rehder is a partner at Lefosse. He is specialised in corporate law and capital markets, having acted across different areas of the practice – most notably in mergers and acquisitions, equity public offerings, tender offers and debt issuances. He advises local and foreign clients from various sectors including AES, Eletropaulo, Dufry, Uniper, Alupar, Itaú, Temasek, Santos Brasil, Log-In and PSA. He has also advised clients in corporate restructurings, private equity investments, project finance, foreign investments, setting up of local businesses and joint venture formation. Previously, Christiano was an in-house counsel at Dufry Group in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland. He also served as an associate at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados in São Paulo. Christiano obtained his law degree from the University of São Paulo.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2018 - Interview with Christiano Rehder
What motivated you to enter the legal profession?
I was initially inspired by my parents, who both graduated in law and pursued successful careers in the public sector. However, very early in my law school days I turned my eyes to private practice and a more business-oriented exercise of the law.
Why did you decide to specialise in capital markets and M&A law?
I decided to specialise in capital markets and M&A law essentially because I realised I had good soft skills to understand and put into practice the requirements and demands of the corporate universe in general. I always knew I would be satisfied with somehow contributing to the continuous improvement of the Brazilian corporate environment, making it more efficient, reliable and attractive. Finally, I had the right ambition and resilience to persevere and stand out amid the challenges of the corporate practice, initially in capital markets then later focusing more on M&A.
How has your previous experience as an in-house lawyer been useful in your career in private practice?
Extremely useful, especially having worked in a multinational group such as Dufry. I was based in Switzerland working at the group’s headquarters but I was involved in transactions and discussions going on all over the world. This gave me an especially unique background in how different aspects in each point of a corporate structure can all somehow inter-relate and be coordinated. This experience also helped me to comprehend different legal mindsets throughout the world, translating today into a good history of solid and successful relationships with foreign clients.
What has been your biggest achievement to date and why?
My biggest professional achievement was certainly becoming a partner at Lefosse last year, joining the table of a group of lawyers who almost 15 years ago interviewed me for an internship position.
What are the biggest challenges facing lawyers in your field at the moment?
On one side, probably the biggest challenge in the corporate practice is to keep yourself on top of the rapid changes and movements this market requires. On the other side, maintaining pressure on, and dialogue with, public offices and regulators in relation to the need for increased efficiency, reduced bureaucracy and improved solutions to foster deal-making track records from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.
What impact has Brazil’s political and economic situation had on the country’s corporate and M&A environment over the past year?
The highly unstable political landscape in Brazil and the enduring effects of the economic crisis over the past year played a leading role in the corporate environment in Brazil. It led many companies who were on a path of fast growth to look within and rethink the leverage and debt position before pursuing new M&As. On the other hand, corruption scandals resulted in an increase in M&A activity involving companies targeted for investigations looking to sell assets and get the funding for leniency programmes and their overall survival. Capital markets faced a cold year though, as most players preferred to wait before going public as a result of investor uncertainty in the country’s future.
In your opinion, what should Brazil’s new government do to improve the country’s business and investment landscape?
To make it very brief and objective – as this could be rather lengthy – first, there should be a coordinated effort at all levels including federal, state and municipal, to review the overall system of bureaucracy and expedite the process of getting a new business up and running. Simplifying and optimising our tax system would also be a major step towards this improvement effort. Also, a structured programme of privatisation of non-essential sectors in which the state continues to operate, mainly those related to infrastructure, should also contribute to attracting and enhancing the investment levels in Brazil today.
How would you like to see Lefosse Advogados develop over the next five years?
Not in five years but in less time, I would like to see Lefosse consolidating its brand, at both national and international levels, as a full-service firm, consistently ranked as a top-tier firm in the country – not only in the key areas of corporate finance and tax, but in most, if not all, of our practices. We would like to be continuously ahead of the largest transactions, disputes and discussions carried out in Brazil by our extensive client portfolio. Our recent investments in our infrastructure practice, including energy, and oil and gas, were major steps towards that objective and just part of what is about to come.