An English qualified solicitor, Greg brings 16 years of media law experience which has focused on emerging markets, broadcast and content creation.
He has lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates since the beginning of 2003, and was responsible for all legal affairs across the MENA Region at pay TV operator Showtime from that date.
The extraordinary growth of the media industry in the MENA region has brought unique challenges for lawyers where law and regulation is developing rapidly.Greg worked in the Media and Entertainment department of City solicitors S J Berwin & Co for 7 years before moving in house at UPC (now Liberty Global), the leading international cable operator.
What is your sector?
Media and entertainment
How many employees are in your company?
What are your company's main location(s) of lawyers?
All based in the Media Zone in Abu Dhabi
What main law firms does your company use?
The company uses DLA Piper and Clyde & Co
How often do you outsource legal work?
At twofour54 we regularly outsource certain legal work such as intellectual property portfolio management, specialist advice on niche sectors such as construction, as well as matters that require in-depth knowledge of UAE law and/or a sound grasp of legal Arabic on a continual basis. Issues pertaining to general commercial law, media law and property contracts that require a more acute awareness of the nuances of the twofour54 organisation are almost always handled by our in-house legal team.
What was your biggest challenge so far as an in house legal counsel?
twofour54's vision is to establish a community for Arabic content creation in the media and entertainment sector; a regional centre of excellence which is internationally renowned. Setting up and running Abu Dhabi's first media free zone, certainly does have its challenges, mainly because our approach is required to be part start-up (with respect to certain commercial matters) and part government department (with respect to policy-driven areas such as procurement and employment). The essence of the zone's legal status is that a separate corporate law is permitted, allowing 100% foreign ownership and other innovations. The task of ensuring that the law is being drafted for the free zone to be in line with the existing Abu Dhabi system has been extremely interesting, as Abu Dhabi law combines both Sharia and codified law, whilst the regulations in the free zone are based on a common law model.
What are the biggest regulatory issues you are facing at the moment?
The media zone authority is establishing a new regulatory system for the media zone; this in itself is a big project, within which we are required to tackle a number of regulatory issues head on, including the establishment of a new jurisdiction with an entirely new companies law and forming regulatory codes governing areas such as broadcasting.
How often do you revise your external panel?
The external panel is currently under review for the first time and will be subject to change according to market conditions.
What area(s) of law do you practice?
I practice Intellectual property law, Entertainment and Media law; Real Estate and construction; commercial and corporate law.