Head of legal services
Nick Grant created the Sainsbury’s Legal Community in 2011, which involves multiple firms collaborating to provide advice. Thirteen firms carry out 99% of Sainsbury’s externally sourced legal work, including Linklaters, Addleshaw Goddard, SNR Denton and Bond Dickinson.
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Head of legal
Marks & Spencer Group
Robert Ivens qualified as a solicitor back in 1983. Two years later he joined Marks & Spencer Group and has been there ever since. The iconic retailer hit headlines in 2004 when Ivens helped fight off a £9.1bn bid to acquire it by multi-billionaire businessman Philip Green who owns some of the biggest retail brands on the high street.
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With 21 years’ experience at Whitbread, Simon Barratt has been directly involved in some game-changing deals at the multinational hotel and restaurant company. One of the biggest was probably the de-merger and sale of 3,000 pubs in 2001 in a transaction worth £1.6bn that returned £1.1bn to its shareholders. He also steered the company through the acquisition of Premier Lodge in 2004 for £500m.
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Director of legal services and company secretary
Associated British Foods
Described as ‘disarmingly charming, astute and always gets the commercial and legal picture’, Paul Lister runs a tight team of 40 lawyers spread across 47 countries worldwide, involved in a wide range of activities from retail to manufacturing. Associated British Foods’ brands include Primark, Twinings, Ovaltine, British Sugar, AB Mauri, Tip Top and Mazola.
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Company secretary and director of legal services
John Lewis Partnership
Margaret Casely–Hayford wins praise from private practitioners for her evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, thinking. During her six years at the partnership, she introduced a more cost-efficient legal services model and effective governance and compliance framework for the business.
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European general counsel and company secretary
Leon Shelley’s first move out of private practice in 2000 as a banker at UBS Warburg was not well timed: he left just as the tech bubble burst. He returned to private practice before joining Westfield Shoppingtowns in 2005 as its first UK general counsel.
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General counsel and company secretary
When Jonathan Adelman joined Ladbrokes in 2008, there was no internal legal team and a high external spend. In just four years, he transformed the gaming company’s in-house offering. The previous legal panel that was saturated with around 100 firms now has less than a dozen, reducing the typical spend of £8m-10m down to £4m-6m. He is particularly proud of his in-house team of six that he built from scratch.
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Company secretary and general counsel
Jonathan Jowett’s most recent victory against the government-imposed ‘pasty-tax’, which raised Greggs’ share price by 9%, turned into a public remonstration generating over 500,000 petition signatures and protests in Whitehall.
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Group general counsel
Adrian Morris’ team is vast – 250 staff, including 200 lawyers – but a company the size of Tesco needs a strong roster of external law firms to support that in-house team.
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Group legal director and company secretary
Merlin Entertainments Group
In running Merlin Entertainments Group’s legal team single-handedly, Colin Armstrong supports the entire group on all legal matters while his company secretarial function provides strategic and operational advice. Merlin is now the second-largest visitor attraction operator after Disney. The company manages 60 sites across Europe and the US, including family favourites such as Alton Towers, Sea Life, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, The Dungeons, Heide Park in Germany and the London Eye.
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