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In-house: Legacy Gala Coral’s GC Harry Willets departs merged Ladbrokes Coral

Legacy Gala Coral’s general counsel (GC) Harry Willets has departed the merged entity Ladbrokes Coral Group, four months after Lindsay Beardsell took over as group GC.

A spokesperson for Ladbrokes Coral confirmed the departure and said that Annabel Bannerman, who was GC of legacy Ladbrokes, will remain at Ladbrokes Coral for a ‘short while’.

Willets, who was GC and company secretary at Gala Coral from 2006, was previously a partner at Actons Solicitors and Freeth Cartwright before taking the position of head of leisure at Wragge & Co. He went in-house in 2003 as GC, property director and company secretary at Luminar.

Beardsell took over as group GC in January this year from SuperGroup, the company behind clothing brand SuperDry and will be replaced by Addleshaw Goddard’s GC Simon Callander next month.

Callander first joined Addleshaws less than two years ago from Olswang, and has also previously held positions as interim UK GC at Equifax and head of business services at Towers Watson. He trained at legacy Denton Wilde Sapte and went in-house to Ernst & Young before joining Watson Wyatt as GC EMEA and then later global head of commercial law.

Slaughter and May and Ashurst won key roles on Ladbrokes £2.3bn tie-up with bookmakers Gala Coral, creating the largest UK Licensed Betting Office with additional business in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Australia.

Slaughters advised Ladbrokes both on the merger as well as a proposed share placing of 9.99%. The team included corporate chief Andy Ryde, M&A partner Mark Zerdin, finance partner Ian Johnson, and competition specialist Betrand Louveaux, while pension advice was given by partners Jonathan Fenn and Roland Doughty with tax being handled by Gareth Miles and IP/IT by Rob Sumroy. Slaughters’ partner Jane Edwards handled real estate matters. BonelliErede acted on Italian law aspects with corporate partner Mario Roli advising.

The deal saw both Slaughters and Ashurst field their corporate head with co-head of corporate Simon Beddow leading the team at Ashurst advising Gala Coral, alongside corporate partners Dominic Ross and Jonathan Parry. Finance advice was given by Helen Burton with tax partner Alex Cox and pensions specialist Marcus Fink also acting.

Read more: ‘Game on – consolidation and tougher regulation raise the odds for betting industry GCs’