John D. Saunders is a Partner in one of the Corporate Practice Sections of the Firm and a member of the Investment Management and Investment Advisory Practice Group, the Corporate Law Practice Group, and the Global Transport Practice at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.
Mr. Saunders is the senior partner in the Investment Management and Investment Advisory Practice Group. He has represented investment advisor clients for over twenty years. He has significant experience with a broad range of issues dealing with the organization, operation, and regulation of registered investment advisers.
Mr. Saunders has many years of experience in aircraft acquisition and financing matters with a particular expertise relating to engine acquisition, financing, leasing and maintenance issues. In addition, he has over 40 years experience representing U.S.- and foreign-based clients in a variety of matters including general corporate, acquisitions, securities, joint ventures and related business issues. He has developed a unique niche in representing Scandinavian firms and currently represents approximately 20 Finnish-based companies in connection with their U.S. activities, as well as other European-based concerns.
Mr. Saunders has been the responsible partner on numerous campaigns relating to engine acquisitions for installation on Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and other aircraft. He headed the engine selection and acquisition teams for major commercial airline clients in the U.S. and South America in connection with campaigns relating to engine selection, maintenance and support for Boeing 737 and 787 aircraft and Airbus A319, A320 and A330 aircraft. He also has significant experience in representing air carriers in general corporate matters, asset acquisitions and contract and lease negotiations.
Mr. Saunders has been decorated by the Government of Finland with the insignia of Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland for his work in promoting Finland and for his long service as Honorary Consul of Finland in the State of Georgia. He is a past President of the Buckhead Rotary Club and is a past President and currently Secretary and a Director of the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast, Inc. He is on the Board of Governors of the Scandinavian American Foundation of Georgia and a former member of the Advisory Committee of the European Union Center of the University System of Georgia in Atlanta. He is past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tommy Nobis Center (which assists disabled persons). He is also the Honorary Consul of Finland for the State of Georgia. Mr. Saunders has published writings regarding his international work including “Doing Business in the United States – Options for Finnish Business” and “Lessons Learned – How to Avoid Common Mistakes.”
Mr. Saunders received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees, with distinction, from Emory University. His honorary memberships include Omicron Delta Kappa and The Bryan Society. In addition, he was Editor-In-Chief of the Emory University Law Review (the Journal of Public Law) during law school. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.
Honorary Consul of Finland
Buckhead Rotary Club
Finnish American Chamber of Commerce
Scandinavian American Foundation of Georgia, Board of Governors
Georgia Council for International Visitors, Board of Trustees