Maaike de Bie has taken the general counsel (GC) role at Royal Mail, following seven months as interim GC after Neil Harnby’s departure last September.
De Bie, who led the company’s legal panel review in November 2014 along with director of legal operations Sarah Barrett-Vane, originally held the post of deputy GC, and dealt with the transactional side of the role, while Harnby oversaw the risk aspects and overall in-house function.
Royal Mail confirmed her appointment to the top legal role, saying in addition to her role as general counsel De Bie will join the chief executive’s committee, which is made up of 18 executives across the business.
De Bie has been with the company since January 2014 after serving as GC for the EMEA division of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance, a financial services unit of the GE Company.
She has also held senior international legal roles at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Ernst & Young and White & Case.
Harnby, who left the role to go on sabbatical nearly two years after the postal services’ high profile and controversial initial public offering, had held the GC position since January 2012. Prior to his role at Royal Mail, he was a banking partner at Linklaters before moving in-house in 2009 to serve as GE Capital’s GC for Europe and the Middle East.
The 70-strong team at Royal Mail, which includes compliance professionals and claims handlers, was named Legal Business’ In-house team of the year 2015 following a busy period which included the £3.3bn IPO, a panel review, an inaugural corporate bond and two competition inquiries.