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Former Christie’s general counsel Nick Deeming is set to join offshore drilling contractor Transocean in one of the highest-profile recent in-house moves, The Lawyer understands.
Transocean, now headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, but whose main office is in Houston, Texas, operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in April 2009 while drilling a well for BP. The disaster killed 11 workers and created the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Deeming, who did not return calls for comment, would head a global team of approximately 20 lawyers, split largely between Houston, Paris and Zug.
Transocean’s external lawyers are understood to include Baker Botts and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.
Although BP is deemed responsible for the cost and clean-up of the oil spill and has been the focus of litigation, it is thought general counsel Eric Brown is likely to stay on to handle the litigation arising from the disaster, which includes a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and civil compensation claims from victims’ families.
Deeming has had experience in a number of prominent in-house roles. He was chief legal counsel at Sema before joining gas giant BOC in 2001, where he launched the first-ever MBA for in-house counsel.
When BOC merged with Linde in 2006 Deeming retained his role, and it became one of the earliest companies to pick a sole external provider for legal services in a Tyco-style deal.
He joined Christie’s in 2007 with the brief of restructuring the legal function and left shortly before Christmas.