BBC picks BT director as its top legal adviser

The BBC is hiring the director of regulatory compliance from British Telecommunications (BT) as its new legal adviser.

Anne Fletcher will join the BBC in March to fill the role of the company’s top lawyer, which has been vacant since May last year.

Previous legal adviser Fred Croft left following an internal reorganisation at London’s Television Centre to return to government service (The Lawyer, 1 May 2000).

Fletcher’s role gives her responsibility for all the BBC’s central legal departments, with all the company’s lawyers reporting to her, of which there are around 70.

On a day-to-day basis she will have four heads of departments answering to her – the heads of litigation, commercial legal and intellectual property, programming and regulation.

Sarah Jones, the head of litigation, is acting as legal adviser until Fletcher takes up the post.

Glenn Del Medico, head of the programme legal advice department, says: “[Fletcher] will be in charge of the legal advice division at the BBC. This is basically directed towards ensuring that both the BBC and its subsidiaries have proper legal advice, not only for the business but for the governors and executive committee.”

Before taking the director role at BT, Fletcher was chief counsel for BT UK with responsibility for the provision of commercial and regulatory legal services for BT’s UK businesses. Her position put her in a deputy role below BT’s group general counsel Alan Whitfield.

Under the reorganisation at the BBC, the four divisions giving legal advice have become part of a public policy division headed by director of public policy Caroline Thompson.

Thompson says: “[Fletcher] has considerable professional experience to bring to the role as the BBC responds to a changing regulatory environment and develops strategically important commercial partnerships.”

Legal work covering issues such as corporate and property is not handled by the public policy division. However, as the head of the BBC’s legal function Fletcher will have ultimate responsibility it.