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High-profile BP general counsel Bondy to move to Reckitt Benckiser

BP’s group general counsel (GC) Rupert Bondy, one of the most high-profile in-house leaders in the community, is to step down from his role by the end of the year to join Reckitt Benckiser, Legal Business can reveal.

A spokesperson confirmed BP had announced internally that Bondy (pictured) will step down at the end of 2016 to pursue another opportunity. Reckitt Benckiser has confirmed he will join as senior vice-president, general counsel and company secretary.

Bondy, who joined BP as group GC and a member of the executive team in 2008, oversaw the company’s risk management strategy following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, effectively steering its emergency response from the beginning of the crisis through to the eventual financial settlement.

Responsible for legal and compliance matters across the BP group, Bondy started his career at US law firm Morrison & Forester, before working at Lovells and joining (then) SmithKline Beecham as senior counsel for M&A and other corporate matters. He was appointed senior vice president and GC of GlaxoSmithKline in 2001.

Earlier this year Legal Business revealed that BP had informed its current external advisers that they would now be required to pitch for instructions worth over $1m in legal fees, in a bid to curb costs. In a rule overseen by Bondy, go-to law firms will no longer be instructed for high-value instructions but must pitch against each other for the work. This comes on top of panel fee arrangements, encouraging law firms to drop their fees further to actually win work once on the legal panel.

The order came as firms prepare to compete for coveted positions on BP’s upcoming UK panel review in 2017. Currently, the list comprises Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, CMS Cameron McKenna, Ashurst, Simmons & Simmons, Pinsent Masons, Olswang and Addleshaw Goddard.