Legal Business Blogs

In-house: prominent Centrica GC Dawson to retire as ZPG legal head departs

The long-serving general counsel (GC) of international energy player Centrica, Grant Dawson, is set to retire after more than 20 years, while the rising star GC of property company ZPG, Ned Staple, has also left.

Dawson, one of the most prominent names in the in-house community, said this week (17 December) he will retire from Centrica on 31 March 2019. He will be replaced by deputy GC, Justine Campbell, who will sit on the company’s executive committee and board.

Dawson was appointed GC and company secretary following Centrica’s demerger from British Gas in 1997, and has spent most of his career in the energy industry. He led an in-house team of more than 200 staff and was oft-cited for his work transforming the company’s position from UK gas supplier to an international energy player.

Campbell, meanwhile, joined the company from Vodafone in 2013 as GC of the British Gas business, before becoming Dawson’s deputy in 2017.

Centrica group chief executive Iain Conn praised Dawson’s ‘significant contribution’ over the past 22 years. He added: ‘[Dawson] has seen the company through a number of price controls and regulatory uncertainty over the years and has also played a key role in all the major portfolio developments of the group.’

Elsewhere, Staple has left ZPG after five years. Staple led a team of five which over the last three years was at the centre of a transformation in the company’s activities, particularly after its float on the London Stock Exchange as Zoopla in 2014.

The company increased its revenue three-fold and moved beyond its property listing origins by acquiring a number of businesses. This saw the type of work required by the legal team expand to cover a broader range of sectors, including energy communications and financial services.

Commenting on ZPG in this year’s GC Powerlist UK 2018: The Team Elite, Travers Smith partner Andrew Gillen said: ‘For TMT lawyers the ability to adapt is key. But the level of change they have managed to deal with is highly unusual. [Staple] has assembled a team of exceptional, young lawyers who have been critical to ZPG’s acquisition-led growth.’

ZPG was acquired by American private equity firm Silver Lake Partners for £2.2bn in July 2018.