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In-house: Severn Trent’s Kelly returns to Network Rail as its first deputy group GC

Network Rail has appointed Severn Trent’s deputy general counsel (GC) Stuart Kelly as its first deputy group GC. Kelly, who returned to the rail company in June, had worked there for more than four years as a commercial legal advisor, prior to his five year stint at Severn Trent.

Kelly held various roles at the FTSE 100 water company, including as head of legal and head of business development before his appointment as deputy GC in July 2014.

In his new role as deputy group GC, Kelly has responsibility for both the legal and company secretarial teams, with the GC for corporate Natalie Jobling, the GC for routes Richard Smith and the GC for property Cathy Crick, all reporting to him directly.

The new role of deputy GC has come as a result of the expansion of the GC function at Network Rail over recent years. It now includes functions such as freedom of information, transparency, ethics and corporate commercial. Kelly will focus on some of the more traditional GC duties, freeing up the company’s group GC Suzanne Wise to support the non-legal functions in the company such as its reverse procurement function.

Following Kelly’s departure the deputy GC role at Severn Trent will be split, with current head of legal Shazadi Karamat taking responsibility for the legal function, and a new appointment to lead the company secretarial team.

The 35 member legal team at Network Rail currently sit alongside business lines, with the litigation and commercial teams sitting together in groups which mirror the company’s routes structure.

Earlier this month Network Rail said Jobling would stand down after nearly ten years at the company. It is understood she is due to depart in the next few weeks, and although no permanent replacement has been found, a secondee will be appointed to fill the role in the meantime.