After a largely international career – law school in France, the New York Bar, a PhD in Germany, as well as various positions within Alstom in England, Germany and Switzerland – Pierrick Le Goff’s current position is that of the person who hired him almost twenty-five years ago. Group General Counsel since 2015, his challenges are exciting, with the upcoming merger between Alstom and Siemens Mobility.
Leaders League. What place is given to arbitration within Alstom?
Pierrick Le Goff. The place given to arbitration at Alstom is significant. About half of our disputes are brought before an arbitral tribunal. I believe arbitration is very well suited to international business, whereas state courts are more appropriate for litigation at the national level. Due to their nature, certain disputes are more prone to state court proceedings: with suppliers in some instances or with public entities if arbitration faces restrictions under public tender rules.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of arbitration?
It is sometimes said that arbitration is faster than state court proceedings because of the lack of recourse at appellate levels. This is partly true: arbitration can be faster but remains long for complex disputes.The recent implementation of action plans by arbitration institutions, particularly by the ICC, has been notable as they improve procedures and shorten their timeframes: the development of emergency proceedings and sole arbitrators provide good illustrations of these plans.
What are your thoughts on mediation?
Alstom has a long history of using mediation. I myself am a member of the Board of Directors of the International Mediation Institute. However, at Alstom we consider that to preserve the spirit of mediation as a means of flexible conflict resolution detached from any administrative burden, it should not be made compulsory. We use it in a natural and spontaneous way when the parties agree; to impose it as a mandatory step before a lawsuit is not part of the Alstom DNA.
Interview by Camille Guével