Significant matters – Winter 2022

DWF and Mayer Brown lose out in PPF’s D&I-driven panel review

DWF and Mayer Brown have lost their places on Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) panel after its latest shakeup, the results of which were announced in February 2022. This is the fund’s first panel review since 2018 when it axed more than 70% of its external legal advisers, reducing its panel from 23 to six firms. This latest extensive procurement process included an emphasis on ‘social values’ and required firms to demonstrate that they were proactively tackling the disability employment gap and workforce inequality.

Gowling WLG, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Hogan Lovells and Osborne Clarke (OC) are all returning advisers while CMS and Addleshaw Goddard are new additions to the roster. Gowling, OC and CMS were also selected to provide specialist advice to schemes in PPF assessment.

With £38bn of assets under management, PPF, the public corporation set up by the Pensions Act 2004 to protect members of more than 5,200 pension schemes in the event of an employer’s collapse, is one of the UK’s largest asset owners.

NatWest lands former Linklaters managing partner Gideon Moore

NatWest Group
secured a high-profile hire in the form of Gideon Moore, Linklaters’ former managing partner, as its next chief legal officer and general counsel.

Moore stepped down as Linklaters’ managing partner in July 2021 after five years in the role. Prior to that, the leveraged and acquisition finance guru served as global head of banking at the Magic Circle firm. He will join the bank on 1 April 2022, taking over from former HSF partner Michael Shaw who is retiring after a five-year stint at the helm.

Alison Rose, NatWest CEO, said: ‘As we continue to build momentum on our strategy, Gideon will play a critical role by bringing his insight, guidance and challenge to our progress. Gideon is highly-regarded from his long career at Linklaters and will be an important addition to my executive team.’

No panel change as SEGRO plc keeps Eversheds, CMS and Gowling

In December 2021, UK-listed real estate investment trust SEGRO reappointed CMS, Eversheds Sutherland and Gowling WLG to its panel for the next three years. The trio will continue to advise on all UK real estate and associated work.

Over the last year, Eversheds advised on SEGRO’s £345m swap deal with Schroders while CMS acted for the company on its agreement to lease new production space to Netflix. Gowling was the latest addition to the panel, winning its place in 2018, and has since advised on SEGRO’s £202m acquisition of West London retail park Perivale Park from Federated Hermes in 2020.

The Crown Estate names Navneet Ogle as Booth’s successor

The Crown Estate in February 2022 appointed Navneet Ogle as its new head of legal and company secretary following a management reshuffle. Ogle’s appointment follows a switch-up which saw former general counsel Rob Booth named the company’s new head of assets.

The experienced corporate and commercial lawyer, who was most recently group general counsel at international private equity-owned life sciences company LGC, will assume the role from the end of February. The in-house veteran has previously held posts at British telecom company Inmarsat and QinetiQ, an aerospace and defence business.

Moves that matter

  • Former Reed Smith partner Geert Goeteyn joined the UK Competition and Markets Authority as senior legal director in January 2022. Dual-qualified to practice in Belgium as well as England and Wales, the UK and EU competition law specialist joined from Reed Smith’s Brussels office and brings more than 20 years of experience as a partner in private practice.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority appointed Stephen Braviner Roman as general counsel. He joins the UK watchdog from the Government Legal Department where he was director general of litigation, justice and security. Roman took over the role in February 2022 from interim general counsel David Scott.
  • Mine Hifzi will succeed Carol Hui as Heathrow Airport general counsel. Hifzi is due to join the company in July from telecoms service provider Virgin Media. Hui stepped down from the role in summer 2021 after 12 years at the company.

  • Sandie Okoro (pictured) is set to join Standard Chartered in April 2022 as the bank’s new group general counsel. She will join from World Bank Group, where she was senior vice president and general counsel for five years. Okoro is replacing David Fein who retired at the end of 2021.
  • Dean Nash joined PagoNxt, Santander’s digital payments platform, as its new chief legal officer and general counsel in February 2022. Nash brings a wealth of experience to the fintech, which launched in 2020, having spent two years as general counsel at payment company Wise and over three years at disrupter bank Monzo.
  • Property investment, asset and development management firm RE Capital has appointed Gavin Green as general counsel. He joined in February 2022 from multi-platform private equity real estate investment manager MARK, where he was general counsel.
  • Uber appointed Molly Moran as associate general counsel for its EMEA business following Matt Wilson’s departure to TV production company Fremantle last year. Moran took over the role, based in Uber’s EMEA HQ in Amsterdam, in November 2021 after serving as Uber’s AGC in the US and Canada for almost three years.
  • FTSE 250 software company Micro Focus secured Bupa’s group legal director Janet McCarthy to fill its chief legal officer position.
  • Revenue management company CSG announced Rasmani Bhattacharya as its new general counsel in January 2022. Bhattacharya joined from the US-headquartered manufacturer Gates Corporation where she was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary.