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United Utilities has lured Gallaher Group general counsel Tom Keevil to take up the role of general counsel and company secretary, with a mandate to reshape the in-house team.
Keevil's appointment follows the departure of former general counsel Tim Rayner to Rolls-Royce in April 2007.
A source at United Utilities said the company was looking at reviewing the structure of the legal team and will possibly begin to take on more trainee solicitors.
Keevil, who was a former partner at Simmons & Simmons, will take control of a legal department consisting of 16 lawyers.
Since Rayner's departure, head of legal Simon Gardener had assumed the responsibilities of general counsel, with Paul Davies carrying out the company secretarial duties for the group.
United Utilities has instructed Allen & Overy, Eversheds, Linklaters and Slaughter and May in the past.
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