Legal Business Blogs

Shell moves transitional GC Hine to Brazil role as post-merger restructure continues

Following its £47bn takeover of BG Group, Shell has appointed its ‘transitional’ GC James Hine as associate general counsel (GC) for Brazil, a region with one of the most prized oil plays in the world.

The energy major is continuing its transfer of BG’s in-house lawyers into Shell’s near 1,000 strong legal unit with redundancies ongoing.

Hine becomes associate general counsel for upstream Brazil and Latin America, with managing counsel upstream and head of legal Brazil Silvio Rodrigues reporting to him.

Speaking to Legal Business, Shell’s executive vice president and GC for the upstream division, Tom Melbye Eide, said: ‘We have started country by country, asset by asset, to transfer BG lawyers into Shell. That is being executed as we speak. There has been a period of integration which started in February. There was a separate team on integration involved and Hine was part of that.

He added: ‘The legal department was kept intact up until now. Gradually we are mapping our target operating model. The mapping process is soon to be finalised.’

Eide (pictured) said there are no exact figures at present on how many lawyers are expected to be cut and the mapping process ‘follows Shell’s operating model so it’s just a question of size to fit the new efforts.’

‘We’re still in the process so we don’t have any numbers. There’s a voluntary severance process in Shell and BG… there’s a target operating model. By the end of this year there’ll be greater clarity.’

In March Shell started a review of its external legal advisers after finalising the takeover and begun overhauling its respective legal divisions.

Eide was officially appointed to his role at the time. He now reports to Shell legal director Donny Ching and sits on the management team for the upstream business.

Hine was appointed ‘transitional’ GC and tasked to lead the changeover of BG’s legal team into Shell which is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks. The oil giant’s 980 strong legal team is split over 45 countries using over 100 firms. At the time of the takeover’s announcement, BG Group housed 85 lawyers.

In April Shell slashed its global panel from 11 firms to just six, with Eversheds and Reed Smith the chosen newcomers while Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie and Norton Rose Fulbright were reappointed.

Other legal teams facing job cuts as a result of merger activity include SABMiller, which could make up to 35 staff in the UK-based legal team redundant after its £79bn takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Read more on the Shell in-house team in this year’s GC Powerlist.