Merchant bank Close Brothers has kicked off its search for a new general counsel, as it was announced that Elizabeth Lee would be retiring as the company’s legal head at the end of July 2019.

Lee joined Close as general counsel in September 2009 and was further appointed as a director in August 2012.

Prior to Close Brothers, Lee served as European general counsel of Lehman Brothers from 2006 to 2009, during the period in which the US bank fell into administration at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is the largest bankruptcy in US history, with Lehman holding over $600bn in assets.

Lee also served as general counsel of GE’s Consumer Finance and GE Money divisions for six years, from 2000-2006, acting as its legal counsel for three years previously.

She trained at Richards Butler, now Reed Smith, where she subsequently became an associate and then a partner.

During her career, Lee’s specialties have been in legal management of large multinationals and FTSE 250 companies. Lee also has specialist knowledge of regulation and substantive experience in growth and change management.

Preben Prebensen, group chief executive, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Elizabeth for her very substantial contribution over the last several years and wish her all the best for the future.”

The group is currently conducting a formal search for a new group general counsel, who will be a member of the group executive committee.