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Old-school Calcutta partner Niloy Pyne joins passport specialists VFS in Dubai as group GC

Niloy Pyne is new group GC for VFS Global
Niloy Pyne is new group GC for VFS Global

Former Kolkata-based Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) and Amarchand Mangaldas partner Niloy Pyne, who joined to US based consulting firm Barret & Averro in 2015, has joined the VFS Global Group as its group general counsel (GC).

Pyne will be based out of the Dubai headquarters of the global passport and visa application processing services giant from 1 May. The VFS Group - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss travel major Kuoni - is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, serving 51 client governments in 127 countries, and has processed 143m applications since its inception in 2001.

It is understood that the VFS Legal team is around 15 strong, previously led since 2010 by head legal and general counsel Narayanan Venkatesan from Mumbai.

Commenting on his move, Pyne said: “Sometime back this offer came from VFS. After I visited their Dubai headquarters and having interacted with the highest management at the operations, finance and HR level, I was convinced that this was a wonderful opportunity to work for a large corporate group with wide cross-border interests and that the group was earnestly and actively carving out a phenomenal growth chart through business as well as acquisitions. There is great scope for legal contribution in such a group that has global interest and contracts extensively with the government as well as private entities and vendors.”

Pyne is a 1988 alumnus of Delhi University’s law faculty and a long-time lawyer in the Kolkata market.

He had worked with Khaitan & Co until 2006, then Paras Kuhad & Associates, then Khaitan & Partners until 2010, the former Amarchand Mangaldas and finally LKS, which opened in Kolkata under him.

He had left in LKS in July 2015 to join Barret & Averro Consulting India as partner.

Regarding his move out of private practice, he explained: “It was always my professional inclination to represent or be associated with an international law firm. However, the rules do not permit unfettered and direct participation by foreign law firms in India. At Barret & Averro, we were functioning for 2 years as more of a management consulting firm in India with the hope that once the government gave necessary approvals, we will convert to a law firm or get an international law firm partner with us in India. But the government swayed back and forth and I could not wait longer as management consulting is not my core area.”

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