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In-house: Rolls-Royce’s head of legal Gregory takes GC role

Rolls-Royce has appointed head of legal and commercial Mark Gregory as general counsel (GC), following the departure of Robert Webb QC who is to re-join Brick Court Chambers in January.

Gregory, who joined the British engineering heavyweight in 2005, held the deputy GC role prior to the departure of his predecessor head of legal and company secretary Nigel Goldsworthy. The role had been split in two, with Pamela Coles appointed as company secretary in October 2014 after joining from Centrica.

Webb who served as GC of Rolls Royce, as well as head of risk since January 2012, stepped down last month and will re-join Brick Court Chambers as an arbitrator, predominantly in the aviation field. Between 1998 and 2009, he held the role of GC at British Airways with responsibility for legal, government and industry affairs, safety, security, risk management, community relations and the environmental departments.

Ongoing instructions at Rolls-Royce include an SFO probe into alleged bribes paid in Asia, for which the company has turned to Slaughter and May to lead its defence, with litigation partners Richard Swallow and Jonathan Clark called in to beef up its defence.

The SFO is under pressure to get a successful prosecution against the aerospace giant, after securing funding worth millions of pounds in January 2014 to ramp up its investigation into Rolls-Royce.

Slaughters will be supported by Debevoise & Plimpton, which was instructed to defend the aerospace company when a whistleblower reported allegations of bribery in China and Indonesia in 2012. Lord Gold, a conservative peer and former senior partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, was also brought in to lead an internal review into the company’s compliance procedures.