15 February 2017

Around the house

A weekly round-up of moves from around the globe.

By Kathryn Higgins

Michael Simons

First up, music streaming service Soundcloud has tapped Merritt Farren as the company’s new general counsel following the departure of former GC Neil Miller. Mr Miller left the company earlier this year after six years at the helm of Soundcloud’s legal department to take up a new position at JAG Shaw Baker. Prior to joining Soundcloud, Mr Farren served as associate general counsel for digital media and new technologies at Amazon.com before eventually being promoted to general counsel of Amazon’s audiobook, podcast and spoken word media platform Audible.com. He will be based at Soundcloud’s headquarters in Berlin.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong stock exchange operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Group (HKEX) has named Ferheen Mahomed as its first ever group general counsel. Ms Mahomed joins HKEX from her most recent role as executive vice president of business development at Asia-based private investment company Pacific Century Group. Previously, she served as general counsel of Hong Kong investment bank CLSA and as Asia Pacific general counsel for Société Générale. The group GC role has been created at HKEX following an internal restructure, with the legal function previously overseen by HKEX head of legal services and chief counsel Christine Wong.

In another first, the National Grid’s UK gas distribution division has picked its first general counsel following its £13.8bn controlling stake sale last year. Former Rolls Royce legal counsel Mark Cooper is moving across to lead the gas arm’s legal function, and will be joined by a team made up of a mix of moving National Grid lawyers and new recruits. As GC of the gas business, Mr Cooper will report to National Grid UK general counsel Racheal Davidson, who in turn reports to group general counsel Alison Kay.

Former Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe London-based finance partner Michael Crosby has made the move in-house to become general counsel of investment company Gordian Knot. Mr Crosby will be replacing former GC Sean Breslin, who left the company after 20 years last June to become head of legal, compliance and risk at River and Mercantile Group. Gordian Knot founders Stephen Partridge-Hicks and Nick Sossidis are former colleagues of Mr Crosby’s from their own time in private practice. Prior to joining Orrick in 2014 to head the firm’s English law banking and finance group, Mr Crosby spent six years in a similar role at rival firm Proskauer Rose.

Finally, CLS Group has promoted Gaynor Wood to the position of general counsel. CLS Group provides risk mitigation and operational services for the foreign exchange market. Ms Wood joined the company in 2013 to head up its London-based legal team, also counting JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and several other leading investment banks in London among her former employers. At CLS she is replacing former GC Alan Marquard, who had hitherto been leading both the company’s legal function and its corporate strategy and development division. 

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