Simmons appoints employment head as first GC

Simmons & Simmons has appointed employment partner Simon Watson as its first general counsel following the departure of director of risk management Chris Andrews, who will leave in May.

Watson is currently Simmons’ employment, pensions and incentives UK head. He will take up the new position on 1 May.

Managing partner Jeremy Hoyland said Watson would be “integral to the future development of the firm” as its first general counsel, and that he was chosen for the job due to his experience as a lawyer as well as his “commercial acumen”.

Both the risk director and the general counsel roles fulfil the SRA’s requirement that an individual in the firm must act as a compliance officer for legal practice (COLP). The SRA introduced the requirement in 2013, which also requires firms to employ a compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA).

It is unknown who will be replacing Watson in his current role.

In other firm general counsel news, last year Olswang general counsel Simon Callander left the firm after a series of management changes including the exit of CEO David Stewart and human resources director Ffion Griffith. Callander later resurfaced at Addleshaw Goddard as partnership secretary and the firm’s first general counsel.