Highly rated Royal Mail general counsel Maaike de Bie has resigned to become legal chief at FTSE 100 airline easyJet next year.
De Bie (pictured), who is expected to join up with easyJet in 2019, brings to an end a five-year tenure at Royal Mail. She joined in January 2014 as deputy GC and subsequently oversaw a legal panel review in November of the same year. Prior to Royal Mail, White & Case-trained de Bie had spells in-house at both GE and Big Four firm EY.
Following the departure of her then boss Neil Harnby in September 2015, in April 2016 de Bie was elevated to the GC role full-time after seven months as interim GC. During her time at the helm, de Bie managed a team that eventually grew to 50 lawyers, and tended to employ Addleshaw Goddard, Herbert Smith Freehills, Dentons and Slaughter and May as external counsel.
The GC role at easyJet is currently being filled on an interim basis by Clifford Chance partner Daud Khan, who was seconded over after previous incumbent Kyla Mullins left for ITV in October. Mullins returns to ITV as GC, replacing the experienced Andrew Garard who left in July.
De Bie has earned plaudits for her innovative leadership style, which has seen Royal Mail’s in-house legal team broaden their expertise. One of her initiatives was setting up an internal training academy, which schooled junior lawyers on soft skills such as networking and leadership in addition to traditional legal training.
Routinely featured in the GC Powerlist, in the 2018 edition Uber’s EMEA GC Matthew Wilson commented: ‘The way in which [de Bie’s] taken a very traditional institution, transformed the legal function and played a significant role in transforming the business in the face of much more agile, unencumbered competitors has been hugely impressive.’