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Slaughter and May partner Sarah Cardell is to leave the firm after being appointed legal chief of energy watchdog Ofgem.
Competition partner Cardell will join Ofgem next month as successor to Duncan Sinclair, who left the regulator in September to practise as a barrister at 39 Essex Street.
Cardell is poacher turned gamekeeper, with her Slaughters practice focusing on advising corporate clients on their dealings with regulators. Her past clients include BHP Billiton, Thomas Cook, Centrica and Bupa. She was one of three women promoted into the partnership in 2008.
Slaughters senior partner Chris Saul said: “We’re sad to lose Sarah but we’re delighted that she’s secured a senior position at Ofgem.
“Ofgem’s work is fascinating and Sarah’s role will provide a different way for her to develop her splendid competition law skills.”
It is understood that the regulator implemented a hiring freeze following Sinclair’s departure, leading to a delay in finding his replacement.
Cardell, who will work a four-day week when she joins Ofgem, arrives as the body prepares to unveil the outcome of a sweeping review of the retail energy markets. The regulator announced the industrywide probe in November in response to rising profit margins in the sector.
It is rare for a partner to leave Slaughters, with the last departure understood to have been in 2004, when head of TMT Nigel Swycher did not return after taking a year-long sabbatical. He joined Olswang in 2007.