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Weir Group names Morgan its next general counsel

London-listed engineering business Weir Group has named its deputy general counsel, Christopher Morgan, its new general counsel and company secretary following the retirement of Keith Ruddock.

Ruddock retired at the end of 2015, triggering a recruitment process. The search was led by Andrew Neilson, Weir Group’s director of strategy and corporate affairs. Morgan joined Weir Group in April 2014 as deputy general counsel, having previously been general counsel of infrastructure company Balfour Beatty’s rail division.

Morgan recently oversaw the selection of Weir’s European and global law firm panels at the end of last year, which both took effect on 1 January. It was the first time Weir had implemented an external panel.

Morgan takes charge of Weir Group’s legal team during a period of huge uncertainty in its core energy business, with the Glasgow-based firm reporting a 47% year-on-year drop in orders for its oil and gas division in the first quarter of this year. As a result of the slump in the energy and mining markets, Weir Group reported a £200m pre-tax loss for 2015, compared to a profit of £149m in 2014, and is expected to sell around £100m worth of non-core assets.

It has also seen a period of increased shareholder agitation, with Weir Group becoming only the second company in UK history to lose a binding vote on executive pay in April in a huge victory for institutional shareholders.

Ruddock retired from Weir Group after three years at the company, having joined in 2012 from Royal Dutch Shell where he spent two decades in senior in-house legal positons, including two years as global general counsel for oil products and renewables and three years as general counsel of its upstream international division, Shell’s largest business unit.