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Pierre Zelenko

Competition Partner, Paris

“I specialise in all areas of EU and French competition law, dedicating my 20 years of experience and my good knowledge of the European and French antitrust competition authorities to achieving the best possible results for my clients.”

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Pierre advises on complex competition issues, including merger control, cartels, vertical restraints, abuses of dominant position, damage claims and State aid. Pierre’s experience spans many industry and business sectors, in particular the, energy, banking and food & beverage sectors.

As a former top civil servant and administrative judge, Pierre has a good understanding of the way regulators (particularly the French Competition Authority) work and enjoys good relationships with them.

Holding a PhD in Economics, Pierre also has in-depth understanding of competition economics.

Pierre worked in the firm’s Brussels office and continues to have in-depth knowledge of the European Commission (EC) as well as longstanding relationships with key DG Comp members to assist clients in their representations in competition matters.

Work highlights

Pierre has advised on the competition issues of many major transactions. Highlights include advising:

  • ENGIE (formerly GDF Suez) in two abuse of dominance cases on confusion and predatory pricing alleged practices following Direct Energie’s complaints before the FCA in the context of the liberalisation of the energy sector, which led to two interim measures in September 2014 and April 2016, a landmark settlement decision in March 2017 and a commitment decision in September 2017
  • Société Générale in the framework of the Libor/Euribor cartel case before the EC and in an unprecedented appeal of the EC settlement decision in the same case, having led to a 50% reduction of fine
  • Nestlé in (i) the creation up of a joint venture with R&R (owned by PAI Partners) resulting in the combining of their ice cream businesses on a worldwide level; (ii) in complaints before the EC against the merger between two competitors in the coffee sector, DEMB and Mondelez; (iii)  in the framework of an appeal (before the Paris Court of Appeal and the Cour de Cassation) of the FCA’s decision concerning vertical price fixing in the pet food sector, and (iv) in the yogurt and poultry cartel cases
  • Marilyn Agency, the leading French model agency in the model agencies cartel case, obtaining a reduction by half of their fine before the Court of Appeal
  • Suez, the leading environment group, in getting dropped by the EC from its investigation in an alleged cartel in the water distribution sector
  • Caisse des dépôts et consignations in the acquisition of joint control of La Poste
  • GDF SUEZ (now ENGIE) (i) in the acquisition of sole control over competitor International Power;  (ii) in the acquisition of district heating competitor Ne Varietur and (iii) Suez in its landmark merger with Gaz de France to create the biggest utilities group in the world, GDF SUEZ

Professional experience

Pierre is recommended in all competition law directories, including in Legal 500 where he has been ranked among the leading individuals since 2015. Pierre was also nominated by Global Competition review “GCR” as best antitrust lawyer in the world under 40 in 2014 and had no less than 5 of his cases nominated as case of the year by GCR over the past four years.

Pierre is secretary-general of the APDC, the association of private practitioners of competition law, having held that position for 7 years.

He is a professor of competition law at the HEC Business School and invited lecturer at the University of Paris II – Panthéon-Assas.

Pierre has written and updates the French chapter of the European Cartel Digest, a joint publication with the European Commission. He has also written and updated the French Chapter of the Merger Control of Global Legal Insights for several years.

Pierre regularly speaks and writes on competition law, and has published three books:

Géopolitique du pétrole, Editions Technip, 2005 and 2006

Institutions, second volume of the Encyclopédie de la culture politique contemporaine, Editions Hermann, 2008 then Ellipses, 2010

La philosophie politique de John Stuart Mill, Editions Presses Universitaires de Paris Sorbonne, 2018

Education and qualifications

Pierre graduated from the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA), the École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) and the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Pierre also holds two PhiDs :(i) one in philosophy of law from the Paris Sorbonne University and (ii) one in economics from the EHESS (the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales).