Hearst raids Clifford Chance for in-house counsel

The Hearst Corporation has plucked its third legacy Rogers & Wells partner to become in-house lawyer at subsidiary Hearst-Argyle Television.

Formerly with Rogers & Wells and the post-merger Clifford Chance, head of M&A Steven Hobbs will take on the newly created roll of senior vice president, chief legal and development and chief executive officer at Hearst-Argyle.

Hobbs follows in the footsteps of Victor Ganzi, previously managing partner at Rogers & Wells, who joined Hearst Corp in 1990 as general counsel and vice president before becoming chief financial and legal officer and elected senior president. In 2001, Ganzi was named as president and chief executive of Hearst Corp.

Ganzi’s legal and development role was taken over in 1997 by another Rogers & Wells managing partner James Asher who also served as chairman of the firm’s executive committee.

While Clifford Chance will gain some succour from the fact Hobbs is moving to a client, Hobbs is yet another loss for the firm’s New York office which, last week, was hit by the departure of head of litigation and dispute resolution for the Americas Ken Gallo. Overall the firm has lost 20 partners in the US though has recruited 35.