Counted amongst the top legal luminaries on a global level, John Giannakakis comes up with 30+ years of experience supporting businesses and organizations as both a corporate counsel and a freelance consultant in regulated multitasking environments. He has held positions of increasing responsibility, including general counsel, head of legal and compliance, and data protection officer.
With his exceptional ability to strategize, a 360-degree perspective of issues, and in-depth legal knowledge, John Giannakakis has carved out a niche for himself in the fields of legal compliance and data protection leadership, DPOaaS, risk assessment, privacy by design specialists, cyber resilience and recovery advisors, accredited data protection instructors, and certified GDPR practitioners. With his remarkable competence and exemplary legal judgment, Mr. John—the most honored Greek data protection officer in the world—has successfully created an impact on the legal community.
John has a law degree from the University of Athens and a law master’s degree from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. John worked as a general counsel in a variety of sectors and European countries after earning his certification in Greece 32 years ago. As a seasoned general counsel, he began to concentrate on data protection and cybersecurity, and after ten years of work in this area, the magnificent man was named the most internationally recognized Greek data protection officer in the world. In 2019, he also made the PrivSec 200 List of One Trust with the best European privacy and security professionals.
In addition to his new position as Off Counsel to NK Law (the top data protection practice group in Greece), John Giannakakis is at present working on his new book on the Internet of Things and privacy, The Hack on Hellenic Post (2022). As ever, with a consistent and targeted growth strategy, creating new client-centric services, and amazing teamwork, Johan is continuously riding on his career ladder.
Sharing more insights on his professional journey, the visionary leader asserted, “I had an incredible professional journey with many changes, with wins and failures that taught me that change is a definite part of life and we should embrace it, not avoid it. Looking back, I’m happy with my contributions to the Greek legal community, especially in the area of educating my younger colleagues to become privacy professionals and data protection officers. But most importantly, I’m proud that my teams have always referred to me as “the coolest boss” at every workplace where I have worked.
For the future, John Giannakakis wishes to be remembered by his peers and in the industry as an empathetic and affiliative leader who is constantly embracing change, not being afraid to try and fail, and always learning in the process.
The Primary Industry Hurdles
At present, the legal industry is suffering due to the latest tech trends like AI and machine learning. These technical developments are contributing to the swift decline of small and medium-sized law firms. The inability of older lawyers to adapt to modern technologies and the shrinking legal funds in large organizations are two other significant issues in legal field.
The Key Ingredients Behind John’s Violent Journey
John has consistently been driven to step outside of his comfort zone in order to grow throughout his journey by his constant desire to learn new things and pursue new professional opportunities. He is dedicated to ensuring the happiness of his clients, and his “closer” approach to even the most complex and challenging situations has kept him ahead of his contemporaries. Additionally, Johan is not treated as a distant “boss” due to his affiliative management approach toward the teams and partners.
On being asked about his future plans, the inspiring leader mentioned, “My next future plans are to finish my fourth novel, “Confessions of an Ethical Hacker,” a cyberthriller I’m currently working on, and to find a way to go back to my favorite European city, Valencia in Spain.”
He further aims to become a leading data privacy counsel in Europe and share his knowledge with younger colleagues. ‘To be a person of value and not a person of success. (Albert Einstein).
A Piece of Advice from the Visionary Leader
Don’t be afraid to experiment and leave your comfort zone. Stay hungry and inquisitive. Don’t rejoice in your accomplishments, and avoid becoming haughty and selfish. What we give to others and the affection we give and receive in our lives are the two main indicators of our level of happiness. Don’t let easy money tempt you; stay true to your principles.