Legal Business Blogs

In-house: Kelly takes group GC role at Network Rail following Wise’s departure

Stuart Kelly has been appointed as group general counsel and company secretary at Network Rail, following the departure of Suzanne Wise, who left the rail company in March to take a non-legal role at Japan Tobacco International (JTI) as a senior vice-president for corporate development.

Kelly has served as deputy group GC at Network Rail since June 2015, when he returned to the company from FTSE 100 water company Severn Trent, where he also held the position of deputy GC. He had previously been a commercial legal adviser for Network Rail for more than four years before joining Severn Trent.

He was involved in the decision by Severn Trent to stick with Eversheds as the company’s sole adviser until 2020 and later in the decision by Network rail to expand the existing panel consisting of Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds, Bond Dickinson, Dentons and Maclay Murray & Spens until 2019.

Wise, who has been group GC at Network Rail for five years, will be based in Geneva and will join JTI on 1 June 2017.

Legal Business 2012 GC Powerlist member Wise was responsible for more than 40 lawyers and staff at Network Rail, which included the transparency and business ethics function. She was a member of Network Rail’s executive committee and chaired the business’ risk review group.

JTI has 367 offices worldwide, producing cigarette brands including Camel, Benson & Hedges and Sobranie. Wise will report to JTI’s incoming chief executive, Eddy Pirard, who will assume his role on 1 April 2017 after replacing Thomas McCoy.

Wise’s departure followed the resignation of long-serving corporate legal chief Natalie Jobling in September 2015. Jobling reported to Wise, and was responsible for restructuring the legal team and aiding the organisation’s transition from an independent company to public sector ownership.

Read more on transport and infrastruture in: ‘Getting there eventually? Infrastructure moves centre-stage as Western economies look for growth