Legal Business

Slaughters, Addleshaws, Pinsents and Bond Dickinson win places on Diageo’s extended UK roster

Slaughters, Addleshaws, Pinsents and Bond Dickinson win places on Diageo’s extended UK roster

Despite the trend for smaller panels, Diageo has expanded its UK roster, with Slaughter and May, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard reappointed while it is understood Bond Dickinson has made the panel for the first time.

Legal Business first revealed last June that Diageo was assessing its UK roster, after its current panel was due to expire that month. The global drink’s brands previous panel was launched in March 2014 and consisted of Slaughters, Addleshaws and Pinsents. At that time Diageo consolidated its general preferred suppliers for the UK following a four-month review. The new panel has been appointed for three years.

CMS is also understood to be Diageo’s preferred supplier in Europe since 2009, but is not on the UK roster. The company does also retain some specialist approved suppliers for work such as intellectual property, and some commercial and contentious work.

Diageo’s in-house legal team is led by GC Powerlist 2016 member Siobhan Moriarty (pictured) who joined the company in 2013. Moriarty oversees a 140-strong legal team, having previously worked for Clifford Chance before joining the drinks business.

Diageo, whose brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Guinness, has previously worked extensively with Slaughter and May.

Slaughters and May corporate partner Simon Nicholls advised Diageo on the sale of shares to Heineken in 2015, netting the drinks giant £515m, and also acted on a £2.4bn transaction for a majority stake in Indian brewer United Spirits in 2012.

Diageo declined to comment.

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

 

 

Legal Business

Adviser review: Drinks giant Diageo assesses UK roster

Adviser review: Drinks giant Diageo assesses UK roster

Global drinks brand Diageo has confirmed it will review its UK legal panel as its current roster was due to expire this month.

The current panel, formed of Slaughter and May, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons, was launched in March 2014 and is to run to the end of June. Firms that have previously been reported to be on the FTSE 100 company’s main panel include CMS Cameron McKenna and legacy SJ Berwin.

The company does also retain some specialist approved suppliers for work such as intellectual property, and some commercial and contentious work.

A Diageo spokesperson said: ‘We will be reviewing our legal panel in the coming months and this process is expected to complete towards the end of the year. This is a closed process.’

Diageo’s in-house legal team is led by GC Powerlist 2016 member Siobhan Moriarty who joined the company in 2013. Moriarty oversees a 140-strong legal team, having previously worked for Clifford Chance before joining the drinks business.

The firm, which is the world’s biggest distiller whose brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Guinness, has previously worked extensively with Slaughter and May.

Slaughters and May corporate partner Simon Nicholls advised Diageo on selling shares to Heineken in 2015, netting the drinks giant £515m, and also acted on a £2.4bn transaction for a majority stake in Indian brewer United Spirits Limited in 2012.

In other recent panel news, Network Rail has extended its panel until 2019, while Transport for London has also maintained its existing suppliers until 2018. Meanwhile, Barclays is to announce its panel line-up on 1 July, after extending its value account system to more firms, and putting a ban on corporate hospitality during the review.

matthew.field@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Diageo

Diageo
  • General counsel: Siobhan Moriarty.
  • Global team headcount: 140 lawyers.

Global drinks giant Diageo is noted for housing a weighty 140-strong legal team that deals with issues spanning M&A, intellectual property (IP), and antitrust work on an international scale, with the team receiving a number of citations.

Operating as a matrix structure, the team is praised by its GC Siobhan Moriarty for its resilience and creativity in helping the business achieve its goals. Moriarty comments: ‘We see our reason for existing as enabling the business to achieve its objectives within the legal and regulatory constraints that exist but do it in a creative and proactive way.’

A priority for the legal team is to encourage gender diversity, and currently 53% of its leadership roles across the global legal function are female, with 42% based in emerging markets. The company – which had revenues in 2013 of £15.48bn – has set itself a target to have 30% female representation of executive leadership roles across the business by 2015 – the figure currently stands at 28% globally – and the development of female talent, while programmes for flexible working, wellbeing and education for female employees are also in place.

Key members of the team include GC for western Europe, Catriona Macritchie, and GC for Asia Pacific, Annabel Moore.

Major mandates for the company, which produces Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky, included the acquisition of a majority controlling stake (55%) – through a series of transactions over 2013 and 2014 – in the listed Indian company United Spirits, while other deal work involved an agreement to acquire 50% of the Don Julio tequila brand from Jose Cuervo and the connected sale of the Bushmills Irish Whiskey brand to Casa Cuervo, which is expected to close in Q1 of 2015.

Last year also saw Diageo undergo a major internal reorganisation, which involved eliminating an entire regional structure. Moriarty credits the legal team for its ability to adapt to the changing business environment. Moriarty herself is highlighted for her contribution in leading the legal function across Europe, a role she stepped into following her predecessor Tim Proctor’s retirement after 13 years. A corporate lawyer, she worked in private practice in London and Dublin before joining the FTSE 100 company’s in-house practice in 1997, where she has also worked as corporate M&A counsel and regional counsel for Ireland. She believes it is crucial for teams to maintain a level of connection with the business.

Legal Business

In-house: Facebook and Diageo fill top GC roles

In-house: Facebook and Diageo fill top GC roles

Social networking giant Facebook and global drinks brand Diageo both this week announced appointments to fill their top legal positions.

Facebook confirmed yesterday (20 June) that it has appointed Colin Stretch to succeed company general counsel (GC) Ted Ullyot as vice president and general counsel from 5 July, following Ullyot’s announcement in May that he would be stepping down.

Stretch – a former partner at Washington, DC-based litigation outfit Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel – joined Facebook’s in-house team in 2010 and has since served as lead negotiator for the company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, and also led the appellate victory for Facebook in the profile raising Winklevoss case. He will now oversee the company’s legal and security departments.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook said: ‘Colin has been an instrumental leader on the Facebook legal team and has earned the trust and confidence of management, the board of directors and our entire company. We are very excited to have him as our new general counsel.’

In the City meanwhile, Diageo’s European general counsel Siobhan Moriarty (pictured) will take over as general counsel of the 76-lawyer team from Tim Proctor, who is to retire from the company on 30 June after 13 years.

A corporate lawyer, Moriarty worked in private practice in London and Dublin before joining the FTSE 100 company’s in-house practice in 1997, where she has also worked as corporate M&A counsel and regional counsel for Ireland.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said: ‘Siobhan has held a range of senior roles that have demonstrated her leadership and performance contribution across both developed and emerging markets, and her ability to navigate the complex regulatory issues and legislative environments that shape our business. Her experience and judgement will be major assets to all of us as we progress our significant ambitions for our business.’

Diageo last carried out a review of its external advisors in 2009. Slaughter and May is the company’s lead corporate adviser and other advisers include CMS Cameron McKenna, Addleshaw Goddard, SJ Berwin and Pinsent Masons.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk