Legal Business Blogs

In-house: Threadneedle looks to fill GC spot after Philip Reed resigns; Weatherford brings in Dianne Ralston as GC

Leading City asset manager Threadneedle Investments is looking to fill its general counsel (GC) role following the resignation of high profile former Norton Rose litigation partner Philip Reed after seven years in the job. The move comes as Geneva-headquartered global oilfield products and services group Weatherford International, which was last year fined $253m by the US government for breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and export control violations, brings in Dianne Ralston from Schlumberger as its new GC.

Reed, who was a dispute resolution partner at legacy Norton Rose between 2001 and 2006 and one of the founders of its securities litigation group, with a practice concentrating on hedge funds, banking, asset finance and financial services disputes, became Threadneedle’s first GC when he arrived in 2007.

While with the investment group he had a board-level strategic role advising on legal, regulatory and commercial issues, responsible for managing regulatory relations worldwide.

Meanwhile Weatherford, which last year achieved revenues of $15.3bn, has merged its legal and compliance groups and brought in Ralston, formerly the deputy general counsel at German industrial group Schlumberger. Ralston replaces former chief compliance office and co-GCs William Jacobson and Alejandro Cestero, who have resigned to ‘pursue other opportunities’ according to a statement from Weatherford.

The company, which was advised by Ropes & Gray on the US Department of Justice’s bribery investigations that resulted in a £253m fine for breaches of the FCPA and export control violations, said that the reorganisation would create a more efficient organisational structure.

It’s $50m settlement last year with the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) over exporting oil and gas equipment from the United States to Cuba, Iran, and Syria between 2004 and 2007 in contravention of the Export Administration Regulations and the Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations was the largest ever BIS fine and the eighth largest FCPA resolution.

Bernard Duroc-Danner, CEO of Weatherford, said: ‘The appointment of Diane Ralston completes the strengthening of the senior executive team. Operations, finance and now legal functions have a recharged senior leadership. The objective for Weatherford is clear: de-lever and a step change in profitability.’