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In-house: BP promotes veteran Nitcher to group GC as Bondy exits

BP has appointed Eric Nitcher as group general counsel, effective from 1 January. The 26-year-veteran of the oil giant replaces former legal head Rupert Bondy, who quit to join FTSE 100 company Reckitt Benckiser at the end of last year.

The internal appointment will see Nitcher oversee an in-house team of around 320 lawyers in BP’s London office.

Nitcher has a deep legal history with BP, having previously acted as group general counsel of BP America and senior associate general counsel (AGC) for disputes and regulatory matters.

Performing a key role in settling the Deepwater Horizon government claim, relating to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Nitcher’s pedigree with BP has been displayed over a range of disputes.

Notably, Nitcher was instrumental in forming the TNK-BP alliance in 2003. The joint venture with Russian oil producer TNK was a major success, becoming Russia’s third-largest oil producer and among the ten largest private oil companies in the world.

Nitcher’s legal background in the US is well-established. Applying his expertise to numerous challenging issues and acting as special counsel and chief of staff to BP America’s chairman and president, as well as AGC for BP’s Lower 48 and Southern Cone businesses.

Outgoing GC Bondy had been associated with the oil giant since 2008 and had an eventful tenure. He oversaw BP’s UK panel reviews in 2011 and 2014, the latter of which saw Linklaters, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, CMS Cameron McKenna, Pinsent Masons and Olswang retain their positions.

Addleshaw Goddard, Simmons & Simmons and Ashurst were all newcomers.

The next panel review is due to take place this year.