18 Jun 2021

Crown Estate revamps legal team with GC Rob Booth taking on head of assets role

Former Hogan Lovells chair Nicholas Cheffings to step in as interim head of legal

Rob Booth

The Crown Estate has reshuffled its legal team with general counsel Rob Booth stepping down to become the company’s new head of assets and Hogan Lovells' former chair, Nicholas Cheffings, replacing him as interim head of legal and company secretary.

Booth will take on the leadership role for the organisation’s marine business effective June 21, according to a statement. Former Hogan Lovells chair Cheffings will step up from his current role as senior strategic legal advisor to the Crown Estate.

Booth has been with the Crown Estate for nine years, including five as general counsel. He joined the organisation in 2012 as energy and infrastructure counsel and became head of legal in 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.  

Before joining the Crown Estate, Booth worked at Herbert Smith Freehills as a senior associate. More recently, Booth played a central role in the Bionic Lawyer Project, an initiative working to support innovation, technology and equality in the legal profession.  

"This is an incredibly exciting time for our marine business, as it plays its part in helping to unlock the potential of our seabed, for the benefit of the nation, and I’m very much looking forward to taking on this next challenge," Booth said. 

Cheffings, meantime, is currently senior counsel at Hogan Lovells. He was a partner at the firm from 1999 to 2019, and served as global chair from 2012 to 2018.  

Commenting on his appointment, Cheffings said: "Having been client relationship lead for The Crown Estate for a number of years, I have developed a strong affection for, and affinity with, both the business and its people. It was not a difficult decision for me to accept the invitation to support them through this transition and enable Rob Booth to take up his exciting new role."

Hogan Lovells is a longstanding advisor to the Crown Estate and has also acted as its legal advisor for its offshore renewable energy business since 2017. In February, the firm landed a win for the Crown Estate’s offshore wind leasing tender process, culminating in six proposed offshore wind projects in the waters around England and Wales.  

The organisation said the leadership reshuffle follows the conclusion of a strategic review in response to 'longer-term trends' impacting the business so it can 'continue to deliver sustainable commercial success' in the long-term.  

The review included a number of additional changes to the Crown Estate’s senior team, including former head of the organisation’s St James’s portfolio Oli Smith, who will now take on the role of executive director of operations. Judith Everett, meanwhile, will become the executive director of purpose, sustainability and stakeholder.