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National Grid’s UK gas business has appointed its first general counsel following its £13.8bn stake sale last year.
Mark Cooper, a former legal counsel at Rolls Royce, has moved across from National Grid’s legal team to lead the company’s separate gas distribution division.
His team is comprised of a number of lawyers, many of whom have moved across from the National Grid legal team. These include National Grid solicitor Diane Bennett who is now head of legal in the new gas distribution company, as well as head of assurance Brett Stevenson. Other new joiners are Xoserve general counsel David Howitt and Severn Trent Water interim solicitor Liz Riley.
The new business was formed after the sale by National Grid last December of a controlling stake in the gas distribution business for £13.8bn. Linklaters advised National Grid, while Clifford Chance and CMS Cameron McKenna scored the lead roles for the buying consortium.
Cooper is expected to report to National Grid UK general counsel Racheal Davidson, who in turn reports to group general counsel Alison Kay.
Kay took on the role as National Grid’s top lawyer in 2014 following the departure of general counsel Karen Clayton. Clayton moved to New Zealand in 2015 to take on the lead legal role at domestic energy retailer Mercury, but left the company at the end of last year for Air New Zealand.
National Grid completed a panel review in 2015, with Allen & Overy losing out. Addleshaw Goddard, Herbert Smith Freehills, Irwin Mitchell and Norton Rose Fulbright made it onto a slimmed-down panel – the first to be carried out by Kay.
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