Ursula is an admitted attorney providing legal services and support in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate governance and intellectual property law. Ursula holds a BA (Rhodes University), LLB (University of Cape Town), LLM in Intellectual Property Law (University of New Hampshire, USA) and an MBA (GIBS). Ursula is a Fulbright Scholar, a Life fellow of the Southern Africa-United States Center for Public Vales and a fellow of the Cyrus R. Vance Center of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Ursula was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of South Africa in February 2000. She completed her articles of clerkship with Webber Wentzel in Johannesburg and remained at the firm until she was appointed a Senior Associate. At Webber Wentzel, Ursula focused on telecommunications and broadcasting regulatory law, copyright and media law, as well as defamation law.
In 2003-2004 Ursula spent over a year on Wall Street where she was a visiting lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell and at Goldman Sachs. At Sullivan and Cromwell, Ursula worked on mergers and acquisitions, structured finance and project finance transactions.
In 2005 Ursula joined the Department of Public Enterprises as a director: corporate legal services and progressed until she was the Deputy Director General: Legal, Governance and Risk. Her focus was on providing legal advice and support on the privatisation of state owned companies, including corporate finance transactions such as syndicated loans, securitisation and mergers and acquisitions. With the promotions, Ursula’s focus expanded to include managing the sovereign exposure to state owned assets and companies, the governance and oversight of SOC Boards.
Ursula’s MBA Research Paper was on “Success factors of State Owned Enterprises in Emerging economies” in which she received a B+. Her MBA focused on strategy development and execution.
Following receipt of her MBA degree, Ursula joined Absa in 2011 as the Chief Operations Officer for their Group Legal department where she focused on establishing and implementing governance processes, legal management information, legal financial management, legal risk management, legal strategy and operations for the Absa Legal Function. In this function Ursula interacted extensively with the parent company, Barclays Group Legal COO and operations committee.
In November 2013, Ursula joined South African Airways as the General Counsel (General Manager: Legal, Risk and Compliance). At SAA, Ursula advised on aircraft finance, banking and finance transactions, regulatory compliance in aviation, corporate governance under the Companies Act and PFMA and risk management.
Ursula enjoys jogging, cooking, baking and reading.
Ursula’s experience includes the following:
- Drafting, negotiating and advising on shareholders agreements, share sale and subscription agreements, memoranda of incorporation;
- Drafting and advising on Services agreements (including license and IT and transaction services agreements), supplier contracts; service level agreements;
- Drafting, negotiating and advising on term loan, syndicated loan (R7bn), bridge facility (R2,7bn), securitisation and merger and acquisition agreements, aircraft finance (purchase, sale and lease of aircraft and nivation) agreements ($600m);
- Conducting due diligences for banking and finance transactions;
- Negotiating and advising on Sale of immovable property (R114m), non disclosure agreements and memoranda of agreements;
- Negotiating and advising on joint venture agreements (partnerships and public private partnerships on water, power and road infrastructure with various African governments);
- Unbundling of state owned non-core assets, including registering and establishing subsidiaries;
- Policy and legislative drafting;
- Advising on legislative and regulatory law and compliance, including procurement and administrative law;
- Drafting, negotiating and advising on copyright, licence, trademark and media agreements;
- Drafting, negotiating and advising on corporate governance systems under the PFMA and Companies Act, risk management and compliance policies and frameworks, including monitoring, advising and reporting;
- Management of employees as an executive of R30bn asset airline and board attendee, advising Exco and board members including Audit and Risk Committees);
- Board member of both private sector companies (private equity and asset management) and state owned companies;
- Advising on strategy and operations of legal services in a government department, multinational bank and airline;
- Member of global industry committees (IATA), church board and church leadership committees;
- Public speaking.