Ferrere has bolstered its partnership in Bolivia with the hiring of a former in-house counsel at COTAS, a global telecommunications operator.
The firm announced the addition of Gerardo Villagómez to its corporate, regulatory, corporate governance, telecommunications, and labor practices.
In a discussion with IFLR1000, Villagómez stressed how working in multiple roles with a global telecommunications operator in Bolivia broadened his experience in these legal arenas. He also described a Bolivian legal market in a state of rapid transition.
“We intend shortly consolidate our position . . . in a market that has traditionally had a strong involvement of family firms, but which is rapidly evolving to a new reality much closer to that of mature legal markets,” he said. “As a client first, and as a member now, I see FERRERE strive to consolidate rigorous standards, comparable to those offered by leading law firms in the largest jurisdictions.”
A more than ten-year veteran of COTAS, Villagómez has taken part in deal structuring and strategic investments for the construction of transportation networks, and in the implementation of wireless voice and data systems for such clients as CAF, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, Moodys, Fitch Ratings, Huawei, Hansa, AXS, Star One, and the Israeli firms Alvarion and Gilat. At COTAS, he also participated in highly complex cases and strategic negotiations with Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Cisco, HBO, government corporation Entel, and Nuevatel (VIVA), a subsidiary of Trilogy International Partners.
In Villagómez’s analysis, the telecom business has changed more in the past ten years than in the prior century.
“Land lines as a core business and the traditional PTT model are rapidly vanishing while completely new opportunities and business models emerge,” he said. “At the core of the new trends, we now see providing bandwidth capacity, and most recently mobile Internet connectivity, that are allowing individuals and corporations to participate in activities that were non-existent only a few years ago. A whole new phase of electronic commerce, the emergence of electronic payments, the internet, and many others things [are changing] both the telecom business, and the ways companies do business and we live our lives.”
Besides the trends in telecommunications, Villagómez observed that Bolivia’s corporate sector has undergone the consolidation of consumer franchises, a far-reaching diversification of property-related financial transactions, and the development of industrial and transportation projects, with a marked presence of government-owned enterprises.
“In addition to all this, a vibrant private sector faces, and it is not a contradiction, both challenges arising from regulatory intervention and the longest period of high economic growth in many decades,” he said.