Legal Business Blogs

In-house: Lloyds’ disputes head Simmons exits as Dixons Carphone appoints BT’s Paterson after merger

Lloyds Banking Group  has seen the exit of disputes chief Philippa Simmons as the bank undergoes a consultation of the in-house legal team that could see up to 25 mid-level redundancies. Meanwhile, BT Group’s general counsel (GC) for consumer legal, governance, compliance & regulatory, Nigel Paterson, has taken on the GC role at Dixons Carphone less than a year after the latter’s merger.

With Lloyds having circulated an internal memo in March that it would outsource most of its high-volume litigation work to a third party, former DLA Piper lawyer Simmons has left the bank after less than two years in the high profile post. She replaced former disputes head Aamir Khan who left the bank in 2013 for a GC role at US legal process outsourcing business Clutch Group. Her prior experience includes serving as head of disputes for wealth UK at UBS, and as head of litigation for corporate markets at RBS Group.

With an annual legal and regulatory spend of around £400m, other shake-ups at the bank include in October when it unveiled its panel of core legal advisers following a summer review. Those which secured a place included Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills, DLA Piper, Ashurst, Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, CMS Cameron McKenna and Norton Rose Fulbright.

On the ongoing changes at the bank, a spokesperson for Lloyds said: ‘The principal reasons behind the changes are that we would like to introduce a more streamlined and efficient operating model aligned with business needs and a structure that is appropriate to deal with the challenges that we face now and will continue to face in the future.

‘Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees in a careful and sensitive way. All affected employees have been briefed by their line manager. The Group’s recognised unions Accord, Unite, GMB and LTU were consulted prior to this announcement and will continue to be consulted.’

At Dixons Carphone, the appointment of Paterson from BT Group follows the £3.8bn merger last year between high street companies Dixons and Carphone Warehouse to create an electrical retail giant that brought household names including Currys and PC World under one umbrella.

Paterson brings with him experience in managing the legal, governance and compliance team of lawyers and commercial contract managers at BT, where he supported all aspects of the company’s consumer business, including broadband, fixed and mobiles, BT Sport, Vision TV and Wi-Fi. Trained at Linklaters, Paterson’s prior in-house roles includes serving as vice president and chief counsel in the major transactions division at BT, and as legal counsel at ExxonMobil International.

His successor is Russell Johnstone who previously served as chief counsel for TV and leading the legal team which supports BT Sport, BT TV, and YouView from BT. Johnstone previously featured as a Rising Star in the annual Legal Business in-house PowerList for 2014.