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Travers makes pension play with Sackers hire as KFC GC Nelson-Smith decamps to WeWork

Travers Smith has made a rare lateral play with the hire of Sebastian Reger to its pensions sector group as KFC loses highly-regarded general counsel (GC) Sarah Nelson-Smith to WeWork.

Travers announced today (20 September) that Reger will be joining the firm from pensions boutique Sackers & Partners, where he had been a partner since 2015 in the finance and investment team. Reger started his career at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Travers intends to add Reger’s pensions experience into the firm’s structured finance practice, with Reger having acted for a number of trustees, custodians and collateral managers. Reger will now work alongside the firm’s dedicated pensions partners while practicing in Travers’ derivatives and structured products group.

Daniel Gerring, head of the pensions sector group at Travers, told Legal Business: ‘We have been wanting to expand this practice at the partner level for a while, and there is a natural synergy between the structured finance practice and pensions. Sebastian has excellent experience spending the majority of his career at Freshfields before honing his pensions practice at Sackers.’

Meanwhile in the in-house community, Nelson-Smith is moving to collaborative workspace company WeWork from fast-food chain KFC, where she had been European chief legal officer. The move adds a string to the bow for WeWork in its European offering, with Nelson-Smith having a private practice background with Freshfields and US law firm Baker Botts, as well as holding in-house roles at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands.

It was during Nelson-Smith’s tenure at KFC that the fast food company was put under the spotlight in the BBC One documentary The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop, while at the beginning of the year she oversaw KFC’s first European panel review.