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In-house: Skyscanner GC takes flight as Balfour Beatty and National Grid make senior hires

The chief legal officer of high-profile travel metasearch engine Skyscanner, Carolyn Jameson, is stepping down after nearly six years in the top job, while UK infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has turned to Tesco for a new general counsel (GC) ahead of the upcoming retirement of incumbent David Mercer.

National Grid, meanwhile, has hired former Gowling WLG head of energy Derek Goodban as UK GC, replacing Rachael Davidson.

The well-regarded Jameson, whose legal team featured in last year’s GC Powerlist: Team Elite, has stepped down as legal head but will remain at the Scotland-based company in an advisory role until the end of April. She plans to take some time out before deciding her next move.

A company spokesperson commented: ‘Carolyn has been at the centre of some of the most significant company milestones, and she has made a huge contribution to the business.’

Jameson’s remit expanded following Skyscanner’s £1.4bn acquisition by Chinese online travel giant Ctrip in 2016. She and her team of 12 lawyers, up from eight a year ago, work directly with the parent company on any of its M&A work outside of China. She was directly involved in Skyscanner’s purchase of Chinese metasearch company Youbibi in June 2014.

Elsewhere, Balfour Beatty has hired Jonathan Lagan from Tesco ahead of the upcoming retirement of Mercer, who has held GC since mid-2015. His role expanded to include company secretary in April 2016.

Currently Tesco’s legal director of finance, corporate and technology, Lagan will leave the supermarket giant after nearly a decade to join Balfour Beatty as GC and company secretary. His previous experience includes stints in private practice at Shearman & Sterling and New Zealand firm Russell McVeagh.

As of next month, Lagan will be spearheading both Balfour Beatty’s UK and US legal teams, while working on the other side of the table from longstanding advisers Pinsent Masons, who last year extended a sole provider mandate with the company until 2020.

Tesco, meanwhile, will replace Lagan with property legal director Faye Goss, who will take on Lagan’s corporate team while also running the supermarket’s relationships with its global roster of law firms. In December, Tesco successfully avoided prosecution after the Serious Fraud Office’s case against the retailer was quashed.

Finally, Goodban joins FTSE 100 electricity and gas utility company National Grid after almost two decades at Gowlings.

Goodban replaces Davidson as UK GC after she left the position last summer to become GC at subsidiary company National Grid Ventures. Goodban will now be involved in National Grid’s legal panel review due this year, after appointing 12 firms in 2017 on a two-year term.