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Change in the composition of the BWILC board

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2024 marks an important change for the board of the Stichting Bob Wessels Insolvency Law Collection (BWILC). After serving on the BWILC board for five years, Prof. Matthias Haentjens stepped down as chair in December 2023. As the first chair and founding board member, he played an important role in achieving that an extensive collection of restructuring and insolvency law books from its Bob Wessels – patron to BWILC – has become available at the law library of the Leiden Law School and for the five successful editions of the PhD Workshop. BWILC is tremendously grateful for his involvement and leadership over these years.

In embarking on a new phase for BWILC, the board has decided to appoint four new board members as per 2024: Mr Gert-Jan Boon (the Netherlands), Dr. Neeti Shikha (United Kingdom), Prof. Juanitta Calitz (South Africa) and Ms Smitha Menon (Singapore). With the stepping down of Prof. Haentjens, the roles in the board have also changed. He was succeeded by Prof. Reinout Vriesendorp, the new chair. Gert-Jan Boon is now the new secretary/treasurer of BWILC. For an overview of the board, click here. BWILC is pleased to present its new board members:

Gert-Jan Boon LL.M MSc is a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Company Law at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. His research focuses on turnaround, rescue and insolvency of financially distressed businesses and has a strong European/international character.

Gert-Jan is writing a dissertation on the Debtor in Possession in restructuring of distressed businesses. He is chair of the Younger Academics Network of Insolvency Law (YANIL) of the INSOL Europe Academic Forum and secretary/treasurer of the Conference on European Restructuring and Insolvency Law (CERIL) and a member of the Business & Law Research Network (BLRN) ) of the Leiden Law School. He publishes regularly in national and international journals.

Neeti Shikha is an international academic scholar with extensive research and academic experience. She has teaching and research experience both in India and Singapore and enjoys wide international linkages with insolvency scholars across the globe. She started her career as a banking and securitization lawyer at Clifford Chance, UK, where she was trained in areas of asset finance, securitization, and banking practices. Neeti was awarded Ph.D. by National Law University Jodhpur, India. She earned LLM from the University College London, UK.

Neeti’s research interests include Insolvency laws and Corporate Governance. Her research and policy inputs have led to policy changes in India and have been referred to by institutions such as the World Bank. She has been part of the subject matter experts providing inputs on the World Bank Group’s Business Enabling Environment Report.

Neeti has previously worked as an Associate Dean, at the Indian School of Public Policy, New Delhi, she was appointed as the founding Head of the Centre for Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Government of India. The Centre was established by the Government of India as a part of building up a robust insolvency framework with the enactment of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.

She serves as a member of the INSOL Academic Steering Committee, a pre-eminent Committee of INSOL International.  She also serves on the board of editors of the journal International Insolvency Review, published by Wiley international. She co-chairs the Insolvency Scholars’ Forum, a body of scholars under the aegis of Insolvency Law Academy, India’s leading insolvency law think tank. Currently, Neeti works with the Bristol Law School at the University of the West of England, UK.

Professor Juanitta Calitz is the Vice Dean – Research and Internationalization at the Faculty of Law, University of Johannesburg. She presents under-graduate, post-graduate and extra-curricular courses in insolvency law, corporate insolvency law as well as business rescue and has presented papers at various national and international conferences. She has written articles and book chapters on topics related to insolvency law and business rescue and is a co-author of Mars: The Law of Insolvency in South Africa (10th edition) as well as Hockly’s Law of Insolvency: Winding-up & Business Rescue (10 edition).

She is a previous chair of the INSOL International Academic Forum and currently the co-chair of the African region of the International Insolvency Institute. She is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the Singapore Global Restructuring Initiative; co-chair of the INSOLTech focus group, INSOL International; member of the ILA Standing Task Force on Insolvency Law in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDE Task Force); member of the Steering Committee of the ILA Regional Centre for insolvency as well as a member of the editorial board of the International Insolvency Review. She is also an honorary member of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioner Association (SARIPA). Her research interests include corporate insolvency law and business rescue as well as the effect of regulations and legislation on small, micro, and medium enterprises in emerging markets.

Smitha Menon heads the Restructuring and Insolvency practice at WongPartnership LLP and represents Singapore on the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration. Her other international appointments include being the Asia Co-Chair of the International Insolvency Institute, Asia Group Leader of the World Law Group’s Restructuring and Insolvency Practice Group and a council member of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. Smitha is an Honorary Member of the board of the Singapore network of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) and a Fellow of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Singapore. She has a dual portfolio practice in international arbitration and insolvency. She frequently acts for debtors and white knight investors in cross-border restructurings.

Smitha’s expertise in restructuring and insolvency and international arbitration has been recognised in various publications including The Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal  (Asset Recovery, Restructuring & Insolvency, Arbitration and Commercial Litigation), Chambers Asia-Pacific – Asia-Pacific’s Leading Lawyers for Business, IFLR1000 Women Leaders Guide, asialaw Leading Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific, Euromoney asialaw, Lawyer Monthly – Women in Law, IFLR1000: Financial & Corporate, Best Lawyers and India Business Law Journal’s “A-List” of international lawyers specialising in India-related matters. She has also been listed in the Global Restructuring Review’s 40 under 40 list (2016) of the world’s leading restructuring lawyers, Asia Legal Business‘ 40 under 40 list (2018) and in 2020, she was the only Singapore practitioner below 40 ranked in Who’s Who Legal for Restructuring & Insolvency (2020).