Legal Business Blogs

Taking off: easyJet legal chief Winterton to depart for taxi app company

After nearly a decade in the role easyJet’s longstanding head of legal and compliance, Andrew Winterton, is leaving to join a start-up taxi app company.

Winterton joins Karhoo as its legal chief in January, as the new company plans to raise more than $1bn in order to compete with Uber.

At easyJet, Winterton will be succeeded by the budget carrier’s senior manager for airport development and procurement, Rebecca Mills. After nearly two years at the company, Mills will manage legal support for easyJet and its subsidiary companies in the UK and Switzerland, as well as branches in France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.

Winterton, a former Clyde & Co solicitor, joined easyJet in 2007 from Virgin Atlantic Airways. He advises the company on a host of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from M&A and competition to contract and consumer law.

Responsible for legal and compliance budgets and a member of the executive leadership team, he further manages the company’s panel of UK-based legal advisers and uses local firms in other jurisdictions, forming mini panels in countries where easyJet has a registered presence. External spend ranges between £3m-£8m per annum, depending on whether there is M&A activity or a major dispute. Law firms used in the past include DLA Piper, Gates & Partners, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Norton Rose Fulbright.

Karhoo is a relatively unknown group founded by a British entrepreneur Daniel Ishag and based in New York, which is to launch its taxi comparison app in the New Year with the support of several high-profile partnerships and backers.

Just 11 months old it has raised $250m so far and aims to raise more than $1bn in 2016 to compete with Uber in the highly competitive taxi market. The service will be rolled out across London, New York, and Singapore.

Other high-profile in-house departures confirmed this week included Royal Bank of Scotland general counsel John Collins who quit just 11 months after promotion at the leading High Street bank to join Santander UK as director of legal compliance, regulatory affairs and anti-money laundering.

Read Andrew Winterton’s GC Power List profile here.