Philip Davis – Cable & Wireless Worldwide

Philip Davis

General counsel and company secretary

Cable & Wireless Worldwide


Described by one telecoms expert as having done ‘a great job as GC at Cable & Wireless Worldwide in challenging times’, Philip Davis’ main task at CWW right now is to bring down group legal spend, which currently stands at around £1.2m a year.

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Paul van Straaten – Chief legal officer


Paul van Straaten

Chief legal officer

Lebara Group


Paul van Straaten loves to be in the middle of the action. Whether it’s high-profile disputes before the European Court of Justice, major M&A transactions or projects in developing countries, Lebara Group is never just ‘ticking over’, he says.

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Ed Smith – Telefónica UK


Ed Smith

General Counsel

Telefónica UK


Ed Smith certainly paid his dues before becoming GC at Telefónica UK in 2010: he has been with the company for 11 years. During that time, he has seen his company demerge from BT, rebrand into O2 and finally be acquired by Telefónica in 2005. So when he says, ‘I started absolutely at the ground floor’, he is not being too modest.

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Robin Saphra – Colt Group


Robin Saphra

Group General Counsel,

Colt Group

Robin Saphra garnered plenty of attention last year after signing Baker & McKenzie as Colt Group’s principal adviser on a fixed annual contract worth £1m a year, cutting down his roster of external advisers from around 60 firms to just three. This has clearly reduced his legal spend, which currently stands at around €12m per year.

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James Blendis – Everything Everywhere


James Blendis

General Counsel and Company Secretary

Everything Everywhere



James Blendis is used to high-profile work: he oversaw the game-changing merger between Orange and T-Mobile in 2010 and took part in the Leveson inquiry last year. ‘I was never a specialised telecoms guy – you have to learn on the job and technically you have to learn how the networks operate otherwise you’re not able to do your job properly,’ he says.

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