ICI appoints a new company secretary

Chemicals giant ICI – currently restructuring its business – is appointing solicitor Debjani Jash to company secretary to replace Ken Rushton.

Jash, who has been a solicitor in the group's eight-lawyer legal department for four years, takes up the post on 1 January, replacing Rushton, who is retiring after 31 years in the post.

ICI is converting from an industrial chemicals business into a more specialised unit, concentrating on perfumes, cosmetics and paints. It has been selling off excess parts of its business since acquiring Unilever's £4.9bn speciality chemicals division two years ago.

However, Jash declines to comment on future company strategy or ICI's future use of external law firms, stating only: “Head office is undergoing a review at the moment and we will make sure we have adequate resources on the legal side.”

ICI does not have a panel of firms but outsources work mainly to Freshfields, Allen & Overy and Rowe & Maw.

A commentator from a rival company says: “ICI is number 77 on the FTSE index now whereas it was in the top 20 a decade ago. However, it has also changed in terms of what it does and how it does it – it is more international and it is quite fleet of foot now.”

Jash, who previously worked at Rowe & Maw, was ICI's lead legal adviser on the financing of the disposal of ICI's polyurethanes, tioxide and selected petrochemicals businesses to US company Huntsman Corporation for £1.7bn.

Jash will continue to report to ICI's head of legal Michael Herlihy, and will have overall responsibility for financing advice, as well as the usual company secretary duties.

Jash says: “I am honoured and delighted and am looking forward to contributing to the reshaping of the company.”