The Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Spring Conference 2012 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria was set up by the member law firm Dr. Frühbeck Abogados S.L.P., the home site for the branch office responsible for the Canary Islands. With a total of 80 delegates, partners and guests, this conference was a real success in terms of program and interrelationship between members.
The conference has taken place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the ninth largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 in 2010. Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union outside Europe. It is located in the northeast part of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, about 150 kilometers (~93 miles) off the north western coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. The city was founded by Juan Rejón on 24 June 1478, with the name “Real de Las Palmas”.
The AGM and Spring Conference 2012 has taken place at the Santa Catalina Hotel, an English style hotel in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The hotel opened in the capital city`s center in 1980. This year`s conference started with the traditional “unofficial” early arrivals dinner on Wednesday, 25 April 2012, with more than 30 participants. The restaurant was located along the beach and was offering excellent food and wine. Because it was also the day of the semi-final of the Champions League (Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich), some members were too curious and watched the last minutes of the really exciting penalty shootout.
The traditional “get together” or “Welcome Reception” on Thursday, 26 April 2012, was hosted by Dr. Frühbeck Abogados and the participants met after a short bus tour in the impressive Gabinete Literario – a beautiful “art nouveau” building.
Officially the conference started on Thursday, 26 April 2012, with the meeting of the Advisory Board.
The venue for the AGM conference on Friday, 27 April 2012, was the Hotel Santa Catalina. The chairman of the Advisory Board, Gerd Ziegenfeuter, opened the meeting at 9.00 a.m. and welcomed the members and guests present. He thanked Mrs. Elena Bello,Federico Frühbeck and Dr. Guillermo Frühbeck of Dr. Frühbeck Abogados for organizing and hosting this year’s Annual General Meeting and Spring Conference.
In the name of host firm Dr. Frühbeck Abogados, Federico Frühbeck bid a warm welcome to all present and thanked participants coming to Las Palmas from as far as North and South America and Africa. He then announced with pride the presence Sr. José Miguel Bravo de Laguna, President of the Government of Gran Canaria, and of Sr. Juan Ruiz Alzola, member of the Government of the Autonomous Region of the Canary Islands.
Juan Ruiz Alzola gave a short overview on the unique economic and social situation of the Canary Islands which embraces seven islands (Lancarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Teneriffa, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro). He emphasized the interesting business and investment possibilities this area does offer to foreign investors.
The President of the Gran Canaria Government, Sr. José Miguel Bravo de Laguna thanked Consulegis for having chosen Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as this year’s meeting point and invited all participants to enjoy the proverbial hospitality of Las Palmas.
Gerd Ziegenfeuter then moved on to the agenda of this year’s AGM.
Dr. Roland Ermini, managing director, carried out the statutory business. The Advisory Board and business management were relieved without opposition, and the 2011 budget was also accepted unanimously and without discussion by the plenary session.
Dr. Roland Ermini who was elected managing director by the AGM 2000 in Berlin expressed his wish to retire by 2012 after having served Consulegis for 12 years.
The chairman thanked Dr. Ermini for his engagement, loyalty and partnership. As successor the Advisory Board proposes Mrs. Anke Brauns, German, from Stuttgart. Anke Brauns was elected as new managing director unanimously and with acclamation. The Consulegis office will be moved from Zurich to Munich/Germany.
The chairman informed the members that the Advisory Board has unanimously decided that Dr. Roland Ermini will be granted with the title of an “Honorary Member” for his loyal and efficient services during the 12 years. The General Assembly approved this decision with acclamation.
There was no further business and the chairman brought the AGM 2012 to a close at 10.00h.
Around 10 o’clock, the key-note Speaker, Mrs. Beatriz Barrera Vera, President of the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC), started her informative presentation about Gran Canaria.
After the traditional photo-session and a short coffee-break, Bryn Hughes, Marketing and Communication Manager LexisNexis Martinadel-Hubbel, presented the research study “How in-house counsels retain and select law firms.” Results on the response of 210 in-house lawyers in Western Europe (for download: http://www.consulegis.com/?page_id=112).
In a short and very funny presentation, Marlies Hoecherl, Capital Law LLP in Cardiff / UK, presented the key-facts about the new Consulegis Handbook “International Corporate Structures”.
Before lunch-time, Julian Cockain-Barère and Fernando Hernández Gómez presented the “New Consulegis Strategy”, which was discussed before at the autumn conference in Istanbul, a major project of the newly elected Board (2011 AGM in Cologne). Then the new elected MD, Anke Brauns, presented a short overview of the new Marketing concept and the different tools to implement the new strategy.
Before lunch-time Marco Mariani, Senior Partner of Mariani, Menaldi & Associati, Firenze and Roma / Italy gave a preview on Autumn Conference, 25 – 28 October 2012 with the title: “See you in Florence”.
In the afternoon, Frederica Frühbeck, Madrid/Spain, gave an interesting analyses and overview about “Spain today”.
It was followed by a round table Round Table Conference “Int. Business Generation from the Canary Islands” with different local representatives (in alphabetical order):
- Heidi Arocha, Kinross Africa
- Santiago Falcón, Exec. Director of Doblediez Canarias
- Christina del Rio Fresner, Consulting Director of the project “JUMP”
- Jose Manuel Rodriguez, Exec. Director of Atos Origin Consulting SL
- Ernesto Yánes, Dir. of the Canary Islands Comp. for Economic Development (PROEXA)
- Wolf Wittig, Smit Ingenieurin SL
The conferences ended with a short summary of Gerd Ziegenfeuter.
Normally, Las Palmas enjoys a subtropical climate, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the United States, Las Palmas enjoys “the best climate in the world”. Well, on Friday evening, right before starting to guided walking city tour, it started heavy raining and it was finally really chilly. Elena Bello decided to switch the walking tour into a bus tour and the participants, partners and guests got an impressive overview about Gran Canaria. The evening ended with a delicious dinner at the restaurant “Pueblo Canario” and an entertaining traditional show.
The following specialist groups met on Saturday morning from 9.00-11.oo o’clock:
Aerospace, Business Generation, Corporate and Tax Law, IP, Entertainment and IT, Litigation and Arbitration, Labour and Employment Law and Sports Law.
The three different tours started by 11:30 o’clock.
Tour 1º: Wineyards & Hiking Tour inside the Volcano.
Tour 2º: South Tour to the Maspalomas Dunes & Mogan.
Tour 3º: Golf Course at Meloneras Beach Resort.
The traditional gala dinner was offered in the Hotel Santa Catalina. The motto of the evening: “Carnival in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria”. Men got from the host a special glittering hat – women got a fancy mask to be in the right mood for the following show. Excellent food and an impressive and outstanding carnival show made this gala evening an unforgettable event.
Before the traditional “passing on” of the Consulegis flag, Gerd Ziegenfeuter delivered a short speech thanking the former Managing Director, Roland Ermini, for his professional and personal involvment during 12 years and handed over three symbolic gifts: one framed letter of recognition signed by all Board members and the members present, one bottle of Porto of the year of birth of Dr. Ermini (1937) to sweeten his new retirement status and for the future, 12 dozen of golf balls, one dozen per year, with the Consulegis logo on each ball.
The conference ended with the traditional „passing on“ of the Consulegis flag from our host in Gran Canaria, Mrs. Elena Bello, to Mr. Marco Mariani, in Florence, where we will meet for our autumn conference 2012 (25. – 28. October 2012).
We thank Elena Bello and Dr. Frühbeck Abogados for hosting this wonderful meeting and unique experience in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.