Greetings from Alumni: Leena Rentola, Senior Legal Counsel, Citycon
13 February 2023
In this part of our Greetings from Alumni series, we interview Leena Rentola, who works as a senior legal counsel at Citycon. During her time at Hannes between 2007 and 2009, Leena worked as an associate in our Finance Team.
Hi Leena, how has the year 2023 started for you?
The year has started super well, thanks, as I just returned from a holiday filled with sun, sand, swimming, and books. At work, we had a busy January with finance, compliance, and marketing related projects on top of other daily tasks of course. Drafting of the year-end reports as well as the upcoming board and committee meetings also keep my team busy this time of the year. This is also a good time to stop for a minute or two to think about what we want to focus on and achieve this year. We are in the middle of an insightful compliance risk assessment exercise, which has already given some leads on training topics.
You work as a senior legal counsel at Citycon. Can you tell us about your daily work and what is included in your main responsibilities?
On a higher level, I am responsible for Citycon’s legal affairs on a group level as well as governance and compliance matters within the group. I am also secretary to the board, the board committees, and the corporate management committee. More or less any legal issue related to Citycon can land on my table except for purely operational legal matters, which are handled by our local legal counsel in each country. I give consultation, draft and review agreements, and update policies and guidelines.
During your time at Hannes, you worked as an associate in our Finance Team. What was the most valuable learning you took with you when you moved forward from Hannes?
At Hannes, I definitely learned the basics of being a lawyer; to review and draft agreements, to pay attention to detail and the quality of work. I remember Markus Bremer giving us young associates an exercise to correct a pledge agreement where he had hidden mistakes. Most of us got feedback for missing the deadline – an important lesson, too!
What is your favourite memory from your time at Hannes?
As I had just moved to Helsinki after graduation, the feeling of togetherness and the weekly social gatherings at Belge on Fridays made the transition from student life easier. So, my favourite memory is absolutely the team spirit and awesome colleagues who have become lifelong friends. Even now, whenever we meet, which is several times a year of course, the conversation often turns to the good old “Snelkku” days.
One theme which currently stands out in working life discussions is purpose at work. To conclude this interview, we would like to ask what the things are that keep you going and motivated at work – what is your purpose?
The past few years, the opportunities to take over new responsibilities and learn new areas of law have kept me motivated. When I started as a legal counsel for Finland and Estonia, I right away jumped into the massive and complex construction project of the Lippulaiva shopping centre in Espoo. Then I got to dive into the world of GDPR and also took over the group’s data protection matters. Now I am responsible for the group’s governance and compliance. Solemnly speaking, my purpose here is to add value to Citycon and help it succeed by protecting its interests and minimising potential risks.