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In-house: Facebook and Diageo fill top GC roles

Social networking giant Facebook and global drinks brand Diageo both this week announced appointments to fill their top legal positions.

Facebook confirmed yesterday (20 June) that it has appointed Colin Stretch to succeed company general counsel (GC) Ted Ullyot as vice president and general counsel from 5 July, following Ullyot’s announcement in May that he would be stepping down.

Stretch – a former partner at Washington, DC-based litigation outfit Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel – joined Facebook’s in-house team in 2010 and has since served as lead negotiator for the company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, and also led the appellate victory for Facebook in the profile raising Winklevoss case. He will now oversee the company’s legal and security departments.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook said: ‘Colin has been an instrumental leader on the Facebook legal team and has earned the trust and confidence of management, the board of directors and our entire company. We are very excited to have him as our new general counsel.’

In the City meanwhile, Diageo’s European general counsel Siobhan Moriarty (pictured) will take over as general counsel of the 76-lawyer team from Tim Proctor, who is to retire from the company on 30 June after 13 years.

A corporate lawyer, Moriarty worked in private practice in London and Dublin before joining the FTSE 100 company’s in-house practice in 1997, where she has also worked as corporate M&A counsel and regional counsel for Ireland.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said: ‘Siobhan has held a range of senior roles that have demonstrated her leadership and performance contribution across both developed and emerging markets, and her ability to navigate the complex regulatory issues and legislative environments that shape our business. Her experience and judgement will be major assets to all of us as we progress our significant ambitions for our business.’

Diageo last carried out a review of its external advisors in 2009. Slaughter and May is the company’s lead corporate adviser and other advisers include CMS Cameron McKenna, Addleshaw Goddard, SJ Berwin and Pinsent Masons.