Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. 1981
Towson University, B.A. 1978
- District of Columbia
José P. Ceppi is a member of the firm’s International and Automotive Practices.
His practice specialties include international distribution, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate and commercial law, corporate governance, international transactions, joint ventures, franchising and U.S. legal compliance.
José’s practice is centered on international law generally, but he has especially focused on Latin American markets, on which he has nearly twenty years of substantial experience. He has engaged in significant matters in virtually every major Latin American market over this period.
He joined Miller Canfield following a 17-year career with Chrysler Group LLC, where, as Assistant General Counsel, he was responsible for legal matters of the company’s international operations, as well as providing strategic advice and counsel to senior management. José was instrumental in Chrysler’s expansion of its international distribution operations to over 100 markets throughout the world. He represented the company, or its affiliates, in major commercial and corporate matters across the globe including joint venture agreements, acquisitions, divestitures, arbitrations, distribution agreements, licensing, government negotiations, regulatory matters, competition and legal compliance issues.
Prior to joining Chrysler, José served for over 10 years in senior level positions with the Federal Government in Washington, D.C., leading to Assistant General Counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), from 1992 to 1996. He also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob, in the U.S. District Court for the N. District of Georgia, between 1981 and 1983.
José's experience includes:
- Advising U.S. companies on the identification, selection, negotiation and establishment of distribution arrangements and manufacturing operations outside of the U.S.
- Negotiation and preparation of joint-venture agreements with non-U.S. entities in the automotive sector
- Negotiation of purchase and sale agreements for overseas operations of U.S. companies
- Negotiation and preparation of multi-country distribution arrangements for U.S. companies
- Advising senior management of U.S. companies on international manufacturing and distribution matters, competition law, trademark license agreements, credit and supply agreements, acquisitions and divestitures, corporate governance issues and major litigation and arbitration matters
- Counseling senior executives on international strategic decisions and commercial transactions
- Designing and implementing U.S. legal compliance programs, including training of employees in international locations and qualification of international business partners
- U.S. legal compliance investigations and remediation programs
- Managing foreign counsel on major international transactions and litigation matters for U.S. clients
Negotiated on behalf of a U.S. company a joint venture agreement with a Chinese company for the manufacture of certain of the U.S. company’s products by the Chinese partner at one of its plants. The agreements included arrangements for the distribution of the products in China.
Negotiated buy-sell agreement for the sale of a U.S. company’s local subsidiary to a Brazilian company, including arrangements for continued distribution of the U.S. company’s products by the purchaser after the sale of the local subsidiary.
Developed and implemented a U.S. legal compliance program for the international subsidiaries of a U.S.-based automotive company. This included development of local language and culturally relevant materials, presentations and responding to compliance issues as they developed.
Negotiated and documented numerous buy-sell agreements for international distribution companies in the automotive sector. These transactions involved extensive due diligence reviews and multiple agreements under U.S. and foreign laws.
Managed the successful defense of various litigation and arbitration matters initiated by terminated international automotive distributors in various jurisdictions. This included arbitrations before the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce, both of which resulted in favorable outcomes for the automotive company client.
Managed FCPA investigation conducted for U.S. subsidiary of a German automotive company focusing on its operations in Latin America. Coordinated with German counsel and with senior management on remediation activities.
Negotiated favorable settlement of customs charges in excess of US$100 million pending against subsidiary of US company, which resulted in dismissal of the charges and minimal monetary payments by the affected company. This matter involved managing counsel in multiple jurisdictions and discussions with senior U.S. and foreign government officials.
Following the break-up of a U.S.-German automotive enterprise, negotiated on behalf of the U.S. company the divestiture of its operations in multiple markets in Latin America. Negotiations included setting up new companies in each of these markets to operate the newly split business of the U.S. company.
Distinguished Service Award, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 1985
Law Clerk to U.S. District Judge Marvin H. Shoob, U.S. District Court for the N. District of Georgia, 1981-1983
Law & Policy in International Business, (Georgetown’s international law review) Editor, 1980-1981
Robert Wagner Moot Court Team, Georgetown University Law Center, Member, 1981
International Bar Association, Sales Committee Agency and Distribution Subcommittee, Vice-Chair 2015-present
State Bar of Michigan, Latin American Bar Activities and International Section
District of Columbia Bar Association
Hispanic National Bar Association
Michigan State Bar International Law Section Council, 2015-2018
Civic, Cultural & Social Activities
Swiss Society of Detroit, Member
Club Chileno de Michigan, Board Member
"Doing Business In and With Chile and Colombia," Automation Alley, Troy, Mich., February 20, 2015
"U.S. Legal Compliance Training Presentations," periodic training presentations to managers and key employees at foreign subsidiaries of US company in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Mexico, South Africa, and Venezuela, 2009-2014
"The Trend Towards Off-Shore Outsourcing Focusing on Latin America: Law and Policy," Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) Congress on International Law, Business and Corporate Social Responsibility, Mexico City, January 2008
"Termination of Non-Performing International Distributors (A Case Study)," DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s International Counsel Conference, October 2006
"International Distribution Legal Issues," DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s International Counsel Conference, October 2003
"International Arbitration: Suitable Conflict Management for Companies; International Dispute Resolution Systems Design," American Arbitration Association seminar, June 2003
"Cross-Border Distribution & Joint Venture Agreements," American Corporate Counsel Association’s Annual Meeting, October 2002
"International Contracts," HNBA Annual Convention, August 1997
"International Distribution: Legal Primer", State Bar of Michigan's Michigan International Lawyer Journal, Fall 2015
"Overview of the Regulation of Banks in the United States," National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade, Phoenix, 1996
"Multinationals in Latin America: The Politics of Nationalization," by Paul E. Sigmund, (Book Review), Law & Policy in International Business, Vol. 12, No. 4.
"Recent Latin-America Anti-corruption Investigations and Cases", IBA Latin America Regional Forum News, September 2015