In-House Lawyer Profiles
Lawyer's Details
Sumant Nayak



New Delhi, India

May 2012

Sumant Nayak is the Vice President and Chief Legal Officer – Airports Sector at GMR Group, where he is responsible for managing the legal function for the entire airports business of the GMR Group which includes the airpots at. Delhi, Hyderabad, Male'(Maldives) and Istanbul (Turkey).
He has diversified experience in handling legal aspects and intricacies pertaining to infrastructure projects and companies, including providing strategic and legal advice on infrastructure ownership structures, like consortium formation, joint ventures, equity investments and inter-shareholding arrangements, handling competitive tendering, preparation and negotiation of project documents, asset/infrastructure development agreements, power-purchase agreements etc.
Sumant joined the GMR Group in 2005 as the legal head of the Energy Sector and from there he moved on to becoming legal head of Delhi International Airport Private Limited, which has developed and is managing the IGI Airport, New Delhi, the first brown field airport project in India on a Public-Private Partnership model.
Before joining the GMR Group, Mr. Nayak was the Country Counsel (Legal and Secretarial) of Ascendas India Private Limited, the Indian subsidiary of Ascendas Pte, Singapore, a Singaporean MNC, and prior to that he was heading the legal and corporate secretarial function of Engineers India Limited a large professionally managed Government of India Undertaking.
What is your sector?
Airports – Development/Construction, Operation and Management
How many employees are in your company?
3500(approx.) in the airport sector
What are your company’s main location(s) of lawyers?
Delhi, Hyderabad (India) and Male’ (India)
What main area(s) of law do you practice?
Infrastructure (airports, roads, energy, SEZ and sports) related; primarily all commercial, transactional and construction related agreements, litigation, arbitration, regulatory (primarily determination of aeronautical charges), indirect taxes and IPR.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as an in house legal counsel?
Handling over 600 litigations in DIAL and getting 1500 plus contracts executed.
What are the biggest regulatory issues you are facing at the moment?
Fixation of aeronautical charges (i.e. charges for aircraft landing & parking, baggage and x-ray screening, User development Fee) for Delhi International Airport and Hyderabad International Airport, from Airport Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA)
What main law firms does your company use?
Law firms practicing in the following areas : (a) transactions/M&A; (b) litigation & arbitration; (c) indirect tax; and (d) intellectual property rights.
How often do you outsource legal work?
Approximately 10% of the total volume of work, primarily pertaining to large transactions and litigations, is outsourced.
How often do you revise your external panel?
As often as required (almost once or twice a year), especially for large transactions and international assignments we tend to look for firms with the relevant domain and jurisdictional expertise.
Do you feel that there is or will continue to be pressure to put together panels/preferred supplier lists (PSLs) for vendors (including external law firms) with a view of reducing costs?
Minimizing costs is always an organizational initiative, and minimizing legal costs while maintaining high level and quality of deliverables is always a priority, especially in infrastructure sector, where legal costs can be a significant portion of cost of any project.
What are your views on such panels/PSLs?
It is necessary to have such panels so as to have efficient and seamless outsourcing and to maintain deliverable standards.
Aside from fees, what are the main criteria you consider important when deciding whether to hire a law firm for a particular matter?
a. Confidentiality;
b. Non-conflict of interest;
c. Time of delivery/turnaround time;
d. Domain & jurisdictional expertise 
In fact cost is the last criteria.