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Former DG COMP State Aid Official Sophie Bertin Joins Forces With Covington's EU Competition Practice

April 20, 2016

BRUSSELS — Sophie Bertin, a former senior official who served as Head of Unit in the “Financial Crisis” Task Force within the Directorate-General for Competition at the European Commission, has joined forces with Covington’s global antitrust and competition practice. Ms. Bertin will be working with the firm’s Brussels and London offices.

At DG COMP, Ms. Bertin was responsible for the state aid approval and monitoring of the interventions of the European Member States in the financial services sector during the height of the financial crisis. She personally handled a number of the key banking cases, such as Dexia, KBC, the Portuguese and Bulgarian banking cases, Citadele Banka in Latvia, among others.

Prior to her role with the European Commission, Ms. Bertin held positions with SWIFT, Bain & Company, The Bank of New York and McKinsey & Co.

Johan Ysewyn, co-chair of Covington’s global antitrust & competition practice based in Brussels, commented: “State aid is an area of European competition law enforcement that is of critical strategic importance, both in the financial services sector and across many other industries. Sophie has a rare combination of commercial and regulatory expertise, which fits extremely well with our fast-growing state aid and competition practice.“

“The last decade has been a particularly turbulent time for the financial services industry,” said Bruce Bennett, partner and head of Covington’s financial services industry group. “The association with Sophie and, most recently also Carlo Kostka in our London office, reinforces Covington’s ability to deliver holistic results, combining expertise in antitrust and state aid, regulatory, M&A, finance, litigation and investigations, compliance, corporate governance and government affairs, as well as our ability to advise on complex cross-border matters.”

“Sophie’s experience not only complements our State aid capability but also broadens our financial services expertise. She fits perfectly within our growing EU competition, and competition litigation practices” commented Tom Barnett and Deborah Garza, co-chairs of  Covington’s global antitrust & competition practice. “She has extremely relevant experience that will help expand how we can assist our financial services sector clients, in particular. With the recent arrival of Kevin Coates, our EU Competition team now counts two former DG COMP senior officials.”

Ms. Bertin added: “Covington offers a global platform with a tremendous depth of regulatory, compliance and banking expertise in a number of key markets around the world. I have worked with the Covington team on many occasions and was always very impressed with the high quality of the practice. I look forward to joining this highly competent and respected team.” 

A graduate of Kings College, INSEAD (MBA) and the ESCP Europe Business School, Ms. Bertin will serve the firm as a non-lawyer consultant on a part-time basis and will continue to provide independent advice to consultancies and financial institutions.


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