Lloyds Banking Group group general counsel (GC) Andrew Whittaker (pictured) is stepping down from his role after two years and leaving the bank, where he will be succeeded by deputy GC Kate Cheetham in the top legal role.
Whittaker joined Lloyds as group GC in May 2013 following a 13-year stint as legal head of the UK’s Financial Services Authority. It is understood that there will be no replacement for Cheetham’s deputy GC role.
With an annual legal and regulatory spend of around £400m, major mandates undertaken by Whittaker during his time at Lloyds includes reviewing its panel of core legal advisers last summer, a move which saw Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills, DLA Piper, Ashurst, Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds, Hogan Lovells, CMS Cameron McKenna and Norton Rose Fulbright gain a coveted spot.
Since his arrival he and deputy GC Cheetham have also been executing measures required by European competition rules on state aid, in light of the government’s 43.4% stake in the bank in 2008, and also prepared the prospectus for the bank’s high profile initial public offering of TSB last year.
It follows news just days ago that disputes head Philippa Simmons has left the bank as it undergoes a consultation of the in-house legal team that could see up to 25 mid-level redundancies. With Lloyds having circulated an internal memo in March that it would outsource most of its high-volume litigation work to a third party, former DLA Piper lawyer and former UBS GC Simmons exited after less than two years in the high profile post.
Commenting on her promotion, Cheetham said: ‘I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud to have been appointed group general counsel – this is a pivotal time for both the group and also for the legal community. I am really excited about the future and I believe our team has a great opportunity to contribute to the group’s strategy. I would like to express my gratitude to Andrew for all his support over the last two years, and I wish him all the best for the future.’
Whittaker added: ‘It has always been my expectation that Kate Cheetham would succeed me after I completed my two years with the Group, and I offer her my warmest congratulations on her very well-deserved appointment’.
For more on Whittaker and Cheetham’s time at LBG, see our in-house profile: Andrew Whittaker and Kate Cheetham, Lloyds Banking Group