Legal Business Blogs

Veteran Pernod Ricard GC FitzSimons departs after 16 years at the helm

French wines and spirits company Pernod Ricard announced yesterday (2 July) it had lost a veteran of the in-house legal community, with group general counsel (GC) Ian FitzSimons departing after a 16-year stint.

In a statement, Pernod Ricard said FitzSimons ‘has decided to devote himself to new projects outside the group’ and thanked him ‘for his contribution, notably as a key actor in the major acquisitions which have transformed the group.’

FitzSimons, who had built up Pernod Ricard’s legal function since 2002, will be replaced by Amanda Hamilton-Stanley on 1 September. Hamilton-Stanley is promoted after serving as GC of Pernod Ricard’s whiskey subsidiary Chivas Brothers since 2011.

She started her career as a trainee at Welsh firm Edwards Geldard before joining Allen & Overy (A&O) as an associate in 1996. After five years at A&O, Hamilton-Stanley embarked on her in-house career at drinks company Allied Domecq, which was purchased by Pernod Ricard in 2005. She then joined Pernod Ricard in 2006 as senior group counsel, and from there progressed to become GC of the Chivas Brothers division.

Hamilton-Stanley was also responsible for a major overhaul of Pernod Ricard’s UK legal panel in 2016, where a host of Scottish independent firms such as Shepherd & Wedderburn and Brodies made the roster. DWF, Osborne Clarke, RPC, Macfarlanes and Clyde & Co also won spots on the panel.

Among FitzSimons’ innovations was introducing a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to teach his legal team about compliance, incorporating ‘gamification’ elements such as competition, badges and levelling up.

For more on FitzSimons’ approach to gamification, read ‘Gamification – the thoroughly modern way to redesign legal services.’