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Energy giant Centrica has hired Jones Day global co-head of oil and gas Peter Roberts as part of a restructuring of its legal team to realign the department with the management of the business.
The department has been split into two divisions, upstream and downstream. Upstream activities will now be overseen by new general counsel Roberts, who joins from Jones Day at the beginning of July.
Roberts said: "It's like coming home in a sense, as I was in-house 10 years ago at Exxon."
Roberts will head a team of 10 and will also be a member of the management's executive committee. The 30-strong downstream side, which oversees businesses such as British Gas, is to be headed by Adrian Morris, who was previously European general counsel.
Grant Dawson, the current global general counsel, will remain in his post, with Roberts reporting directly to Jake Ulrich, managing director at subsidiary Centrica Energy, and Morris reporting to Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas.
Morris explained: "The new structure increases focus on the legal and regulatory capabilities and more directly aligns them with the business."
Jones Day has not yet found a replacement for Roberts and insiders have said the position could be filled either internally or externally.
Meanwhile, Centrica's competitor, the demerged BG Group, is also undergoing a major change. Stefan Ricketts, who was group general counsel at BG Group, has vacated the post to take on a role under CEO Frank Chapman.
Insiders say that Ricketts, who was also legal director at BG Group, is staying on in a "special capacity". His role will be filled temporarily by Keith Hubber, the group's corporate legal manager.