GC of the Year
The winner of this award will be a UK-based general counsel (or those in the most senior in-house legal position) who has truly led the way for their business in 2018. Key factors influencing our judging panel include board profile, outstanding strategic thinking, superb communication skills and the extent to which individuals have the support of their teams in delivering exceptional value to the wider business to help it move forward.
Widely cited as one of the most influential and admired general counsel, BT GC Dan Fitz stepped down this month after seven years to be replaced by former Anheuser-Busch InBev legal chief Sabine Chalmers. Given his pedigree and achievements to date – Fitz remains as company secretary at BT – Chalmers has very big shoes to fill.
The Crown Estate
A one-time Rising Star, Booth has quickly transitioned from being one to watch to become a big player in the real estate industry since taking over from well-regarded former GC Vivienne King in 2016. He and a lean team of five lawyers have certainly stepped up: supporting more than £2bn worth of property trading in the last two years.
Maaike de Bie
Particularly cited by both private practice firms and peers, De Bie’s strong reputation partly comes from her effective guidance of the legal team after Royal Mail’s 2015 IPO. Her work in taking an archaic institution and transforming the legal function as the business changed in the face of agile competition is noteworthy.
Under chief legal officer Jameson, Skyscanner has become a testing ground for new ways of handling legal work. Most matters are dealt with internally by a team of eight lawyers, each with specific technical skills. Jameson is lauded for driving a commercial approach which, far from a back-office function, means legal informs and drives the company’s commercial strategy.
Led by Kay, the in-house legal team at National Grid has transformed itself over the last three years, realigning the function as a business partner to the business. As part of this, Kay refreshed the external panel, cutting the number of firms from 15 to 12 and changing the emphasis to ensure it was an extension of the in-house team, delivering a more agile service.
Pugsley and his 60-strong team have helped HSBC rise to the very formidable challenge of ring-fencing, showing themselves to be an indispensable part of the bank’s senior leadership at a very difficult time for the sector. As a result, the much-respected Pugsley has been able to develop one of the UK’s outstanding financial services legal teams.