The general counsel of mobile operator 3, Paul Vickers, will be leaving as part of a reorganisation of the company that will result in 130 lost jobs.
The hugely respected Vickers has been with 3 for five years and built the legal function from the launch to its current 15-lawyer team.
An internal source said: "Paul Vickers is very well-respected and well-liked. All this reflects is where the business is going forward."
Vickers has guided the company through an enormous amount of deals and licences, but that workload has decreased, and when the company announced that it had no intention of listing on the stock exchange, the need for a general counsel with Vickers' heavyweight experience ended.
The 130 redundancies will be from all levels of the company's business at its Maidenhead headquarters. Deputy general counsel Stephen Lerner will be promoted, but the fallout for the legal function is yet to be settled.