Former President of Spanish SEC joins Bird & Bird

08 September 2009

International law firm Bird & Bird announces today the appointment of Manuel Conthe, the former president of Spain's Securities Exchange Commission - Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores - or “CNMV”, who joins Bird & Bird’s Madrid office as “Of Counsel”.  He will have a particular focus on international arbitration, financial and competition law.

Between 1999 and 2002, Mr Conthe was Financial Sector Vice-President of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, following a long career in Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, where he acted as Director of Treasury and Financial Policy, State’s Finance Secretary and Chief Counsel on Financial Affairs at the Spanish Mission before the European Union. In 1991 he was the personal representative of the Spanish Government in the negotiations on Economic and Monetary Union which led to the Maastricht Treaty.

After joining CNMV, Manuel Conthe’s career in the public sector reached its pinnacle when he was appointed president of CNMV in October 2004.  However, Mr Conthe renounced his office when, in relation to Endesa’s takeover bid, he considered that the CNMV Council had left the  only authorised bidder defenceless– the German company E.On – against Acciona’s and Enel’s actions, two companies supported by the Spanish government.

By taking such a decision, Mr Conthe showed his strict adhesion to the principle of independence of public servants, a value that he consistently displayed throughout his career in the public sector. Commenting on his new position in the field of arbitration, he states: “I strongly believe that the independence and personal credibility of an arbitrator, and the associated lack of conflicts of interest, are of paramount importance. This is why companies rely upon private arbitration.”

Whilst a president of CNMV, Mr Conthe led several teams of experts, including the team of Spanish experts which prepared the Unified Code for Good Governance of Publicly-Traded Corporations (also known as “the Conthe Code”); the team of European regulators that created the Protocol on Mediation of the CSR Committee; and a team from the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which analysed the independence of the administration committees of publicly-traded corporations.

Commenting on his decision to join Bird & Bird, Manuel Conthe added:  “After many years practising law in the public sector, I am looking forward to joining a leading international law firm in Bird & Bird, particularly as I have known many of the partners for a long time.

“In this new professional challenge, I am very interested in sitting as an arbitrator.  I am aware that in Spain there are already excellent international arbitrators, as well as institutions – such as the Spanish Arbitration Club and different Arbitration Courts – that are boosting the use of arbitration as an effective dispute resolution mechanism and I believe I can contribute further to this trend.”

David Kerr, Bird & Bird’s CEO, said: “Manuel is an outstanding individual and his expertise will be an immediate asset across many of our international groups, including International Arbitration and Competition, particularly in the field of Economics of Law.  His arrival also presents a new Trans-Atlantic dimension to the firm thanks to his experience at the World Bank in Washington, D.C”.

Javier F Samaniego, head of Bird & Bird’s Madrid office, adds:  “Manuel Conthe’s depth of experience in international finance will significantly boost our Banking & Finance business, which has grown steadily in recent years due to the current financial crisis - particularly in banking litigation, derivatives, structured financial products and financial regulation.”


For more information please contact:

Allison Reid or Ben Girdlestone
Tel: +44(0)20 7982 6079/ +44(0)20 7982 6470
Email: /

Notes to Editors

Bird & Bird is an international legal practice comprising Bird & Bird LLP and its affiliated businesses, and has offices in Beijing, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm and Warsaw.

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