The HMV Group has taken the dramatic step of making company secretary and general counsel Graham Howell redundant following a restructuring of the company’s legal function. A company spokesperson said that a review carried out a year after its flotation revealed considerable overlap between the legal and HR function at HMV. Following the review Howell’s position became a redundant one. HMV is not looking for a direct replacement for Howell and is instead looking for someone who will report to its HR and corporate services director. Howell, who was heavily involved in the group’s flotation last May, said: “The view was that [HMV] needed me in the run-up to the [initial public offer] and for a year afterwards. “[The redundancy] did surprise me slightly because it came out of the blue.” It is unclear how Howell’s departure will impact on HMV’s relationship with its main legal adviser Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw. The spokesperson said: “We’ve always used external lawyers and I’m sure we’ll continue to do that in the future. I don’t think it will affect our relationship [with Mayer Brown].” Howell, the only lawyer at HMV, joined the HMV Media Group (as it was then) in 2000. Previously, he has held in-house positions at Saatchi & Saatchi and London Weekend Television, and prior to that he was a partner at entertainment specialists Davenport Lyons.