PD Dr. Thomas Werlen is the Managing Partner of the Swiss office. Thomas is recognized as one of the top attorneys in Switzerland reflecting his unique experience at the highest levels in law firms in New York and London, as well as in-house as Group General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee of global pharma company Novartis. Currently, he is involved as lead counsel in some of the highest profile cases in Switzerland, including the FIFA and the Sika cases.
Thomas’s practice focuses on both white collar and corporate investigations as well as on cross-border litigation and complex financial disputes. He also acts frequently as an arbitrator.
In the white collar context, Thomas is currently representing FIFA in criminal investigations being pursued in the U.S. and Switzerland, as well as in ensuing civil proceedings. Thomas has also been deeply involved in advising a number of major Swiss banking and financial institutions in matters adverse to U.S. authorities both under the U.S. DoJ Swiss Bank Program as well as a number of so-called Category I banks (including Wegelin).
In the dispute resolution context, Thomas has been advising the majority shareholder of Sika AG in a multibillion cross-border acquisition dispute, and Swiss private banking group EFG International in a series of complex financial and regulatory disputes in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Thomas is also representing a number of foreign clients with respect to potential civil and criminal claims in Switzerland and across Europe in connection with enforcement of their rights.
In the sports area, Thomas has become fast a well known name in representing clients in major sport-related cases. Aside from his role for FIFA described above he has amongst others helped Asia League in a highly sensitive matter with FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) and supported one of the key shareholders in the Highlight/Constantin Medien Group, which includes amongst others the Team Marketing AG, the company managing the marketing rights of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), in a bitter fight for control over the two holding companies and its subsidiaries.
Prior to joining Quinn Emanuel, Thomas served as Group General Counsel and a member of the Executive Committee for Novartis. Acting in this capacity, he oversaw a global team of over 750 people spread across 140 jurisdictions, covering all areas of litigation affecting a multinational company with a U.S. listing in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry. Recognizing his transformative work at Novartis, Thomas was awarded the Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Governance, named a finalist for “In-House Lawyer of the Year” by The Lawyer and a “transformative in-house lawyer” by The Financial Times.
Before joining Novartis in 2006, Thomas was a Partner in the U.S. law group at the Allen & Overy London office, covering U.S.-related derivatives, capital markets and M&A transactions for European-based clients. Prior to that, he was associated with Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and London, respectively. During this time, Thomas’s practice covered a wide range of areas, including banking, debt and equity capital markets transactions (both SEC registered and 144A), public and private M&A transactions, structured finance, derivatives and regulatory capital- related issues. He was repeatedly named as one of the leading U.S. international capital markets practitioners by various leading magazines.
Thomas holds Lic. iur. and Dr. iur. degrees in law from the University of Zurich and a Master's Degree from Harvard Law School. He has been a member of the Zurich bar since 1991 and a member of the New York bar since 1997.
In late 2012, the University of St. Gallen appointed him as “Privatdozent” (professor) for finance and capital markets law. Thomas lectures on corporate governance, finance, banking, securities and corporate law at both the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich. In June 2017, Thomas Werlen was appointed co-director of the Executive Master of European and International Business Law (EMBL) Program by the University of St. Gallen.
Since 2012, Thomas has been a Member of the Panel of experts for P.R.I.M.E. Finance. In 2013, he began serving on the Appeals Board of the SIX Swiss Exchange AG. Due to his expertise in developing corporate governance and legal strategies across the globe, Thomas regularly appears as a panelist or keynote speaker at international seminars and conferences, features on TV and radio shows and attracts regular press coverage.