Amazon bags Wanadoo legal head for top UK adviser role

LEADING internet retailer has appointed highly rated general counsel David Melville to the role of UK legal director, filling the void created by the restructure of its European legal operations in early 2005.

Melville was formerly head of legal and regulatory affairs at Wanadoo International, which he joined from subsidiary Freeserve. He was head of legal at Freeserve and led the company’s crusade against Oftel.

Melville fills the role vacated by Michael Miller, who was promoted to European legal director at Amazon and is now based in Luxembourg. The legal restructure came through Amazon creating a European central management function to oversee its European business.

It is understood that Wanadoo is not replacing Melville, with the France Telecom-owned subsidiary divulging more responsibility to its senior lawyers and regulatory specialists. Team heads will report to the company’s finance director.

The appointment comes as Amazon continues its drive for ambitious expansion, with an increased emphasis on its website marketplace, which is in direct competition with eBay.

Melville will oversee the legal issues as Amazon expands its data protection functions in its European systems and network operations centre in Dublin.

In the UK, CMS Cameron McKenna, Olswang and Osborne Clarke are Amazon’s key advisers, with Herbert Smith advising on competition issues.