The ASA Board made some key appointments at its meeting on Friday 29 January 2021. It appointed two new Vice Presidents: Andrea Meier, Partner at Walder Wyss in Zurich, and Christoph Müller, Professor at the University of Neuchâtel. Andrea and Christoph had been members of the ASA Board since 2013 and are currently members of the Executive Committee. Bernhard Berger, who had been Vice President since 2013, is stepping down to take a leading role at SCAI but will remain on ASA’s Executive Committee, which is joined by two new members: Noradèle Radjai, Partner at Lalive, Geneva, and Dorothée Schramm, Partner at Sidley Austin, also in Geneva.
ASA’s newly revamped Executive Committee, led by President Felix Dasser (Homburger, Zurich) and assisted by incoming Executive Director Korinna von Trotha, will be supported by newly formed Board Committees in the areas of Education and Training (led by Urs Weber-Stecher, Wenger Vieli, Zurich), Arbitration Users (led by James Menz, Rothorn Legal, Zurich) and Infrastructure (led by Harold Frey, Lenz & Staehelin, Zurich). These new Board Committees mark a further step in the formalization of the Five-Pillar Strategy adopted by ASA last year, which also includes SCAI in addition to ASA’s traditional thought-leadership focus.
ASA President Felix Dasser comments: "This is great news for ASA. Andrea and Christoph have been very active and dedicated as members of the ASA Board and the Exco and will be outstanding Vice-Presidents. Dorothée and Noradèle will perfectly complement the team with their contributions to Swiss arbitration, their global background and their proven enthusiasm and commitment for ASA. Together with Korinna as Executive Director, there will be a female majority on the Exco for the first time. I am very much looking forward to working with this expanded Exco to further implement ASA's pioneering Five-Pillar Strategy."
The traditional ASA Annual Conference took place on 28 and 29 January 2021 on the subject of Insolvency and Arbitration. Organized by Diana Akikol and Noradèle Radjai, this Annual Conference explored a topic which is always of particular interest at times of global financial crisis and which the current pandemic has brought once more to the fore, as the worldwide measures taken in connection with the coronavirus are unfortunately taking their toll on businesses. A keynote by the Hon. Judge Allan L. Gropper (Ret.), US Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York, on the conflicting policies of insolvency regimes and arbitration laws set the stage for lively online discussions in two panel sessions. A first panel on the effects of insolvency on arbitral jurisdiction moderated by Silvia Dahlberg (Vinge, Göteborg) included Prof. Dr. Stefan Kröll (Bucerius Law School, Hamburg), Fernando Mantilla-Serrano (Latham & Watkins, Paris), Dr. Georg Naegeli (Homburger, Zurich), and Sophie Nappert (3 Verulam Buildings, London). A second panel chaired by Patricia Nacimiento (Herbert Smith Freehills, Frankfurt) examined the legal and practical effects of insolvency on arbitral proceedings, together with Dr. Martin Bernet (Bernet Arbitration, Zurich), Jennifer Kirby (Kirby, Paris), Debby Lim (BlackOak, Singapore) and Alexis Mourre (Independent Arbitrator & President at the ICC International Court of Arbitration, Paris).
The ASA Annual Conference, held for the first time in an entirely virtual format together with a number of online networking opportunities drawing 160 registered participants from various jurisdictions, followed the fifth SCAI Innovation Conference on Disruption in Arbitration.
The ASA Annual Conference was concluded by a word of thanks from President Felix Dasser for the outgoing Executive Director, Alex McLin, who is moving on after over eight years in the role. Felix pointed out that under Alex's leadership, "ASA was transformed from what was an organisation for professionals into a professional organisation" and that "we all are extremely grateful to Alex".