Clifford Chance left on the shelf by Safeway

Clifford Chance has lost Safeway as a client following the departure of the supermarket’s legal director and company secretary.

David Wilson, who joined Safeway in September 2001, left the supermarket after it was taken over by rival Wm Morrison in March. His departure coincided with a major management shake-up at Safeway, which also saw Wilson’s deputy, Gerald Ellis, retire from the company.

Clifford Chance had a longstanding relationship with Safeway, which climaxed when it brought the magic circle firm in to help defend it against a takeover.

Morrisons, which now controls the merged entity’s head office function, has no in-house legal department and will continue to farm out the lion’s share of its work to longstanding adviser Gordons.

The Bradford-based firm, which acts as Morrisons’ de facto in-house legal team, has been advising the supermarket on integration issues and on the disposal of 19 stores to Waitrose.