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In-house: former Worldpay GC becomes FTSE 100 company’s first legal head as BlackRock’s European GC departs

Adding to a recent spate of high-profile in-house moves, Ruwan de Soyza (pictured) has joined FTSE 100 company Halma as its first general counsel (GC) and company secretary, while the highly-rated Erica Handling has left funds manager BlackRock.

De Soyza announced in November he was leaving payment processing company Worldpay after nearly eight years for a FTSE 100 technology company.

That company was today (5 August) confirmed as Halma, a global group of life-saving technology companies, where he joins as the company’s first ever GC and company secretary, with a position on the executive board and responsibility for legal and compliance affairs from offices in Amersham in Buckinghamshire.

De Soyza featured in this year’s GC Powerlist and, as then-deputy GC and head of public policy and government affairs, led Wordpay into its transatlantic £22.2bn merger with Vantiv last year.

He was a senior in-house lawyer at Standard Chartered Bank for four years at the height of the global financial crisis before moving to Worldpay in 2012 as GC for global e-commerce business and then group GC in 2017 when predecessor Mark Edwards left.

Andrew Williams, Halma’s chief executive, said De Soyza will be critical in helping the group grow organically and through acquisitions: ‘He brings new capabilities and expertise to Halma that will make him a valuable addition to the leadership team.’

Meanwhile, Handling has left BlackRock after four years, where she was EMEA GC and managed a team of around 60 lawyers with responsibility for legal services to BlackRock’s European offices in London, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Hungary.

The former Ashurst lawyer’s move from EMEA GC at Barclays to BlackRock in 2015 reflected a shift towards more prominent market positions for asset management companies.

She has been replaced at BlackRock by Ben Archibald, an in-house lawyer at the firm since 2010.