Smiths Group retains TI head of legal

TI Group general counsel David Lillycrop is to become head of legal at Smiths Group, the new company created by the engineering giant’s £4.5bn merger with Smiths Industries.

Smiths Industries will have 57.6 per cent equity stake in Smiths Group, making it the dominant player in the marriage.

But it is TI Group’s general counsel Lillycrop, and not Smiths Industries’ company secretary and solicitor Alan Smith, that has been chosen to head the combined legal provision.

The merger is good news for Allen & Overy, which acts as corporate adviser to both companies. Senior partner Guy Beringer has worked closely with TI Group in the past. But the company also uses Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on a regular basis, using it on the merger while Allen & Overy advised Smiths Industries.

Lillycrop has spent his entire career working in-house, moving into industry shortly after being called to the bar in 1978.

He joined TI Group in 1989 as deputy group secretary, and later returned as group company secretary from Quaker Oaks, where he was company secretary and director of legal affairs. He was made general counsel at TI Group in 1997 and joined the board in 1998.

Both companies use a range of firms. TI Group has a global panel including Freshfields, Allen & Overy, Pinsent Curtis and Warner Cranston. In the US, its main firm is Sullivan & Cromwell. As well as Allen & Overy, Smiths Industries has previously used Ashurst Morris Crisp.

TI Group and Smiths Industries are two of the world’s leading engineering outfits, with individual market capitalisations of £1.6bn and £2.2bn respectively. Smiths Group will be a FTSE 100 company when the merger is completed in December.

The details of the new in-house department, including the future of Smith, are still being decided.

Lillycrop and Smith were unavailable for comment.