BSkyB head of legal and business relinquishes role after fifteen years

The head of legal and business affairs at BSkyB Deanna Bates has stepped down from her role after 15 years. She will be replaced by her deputy, James Conyers.

Bates will continue working in the legal department for two days a week and was keen to emphasise that the move had nothing to do with the appointment of new chief executive James Murdoch.

“I’ve been head of legal and business affairs since 1985 and 15 years is quite a long time. It’s totally all-consuming and you have to give it your all. I just wanted a different work-life balance,” Bates told The Lawyer.

Conyers will be joined at the head of the 42-lawyer group by head of regulatory affairs Michael Rhodes. Both previously reported to Bates, but will now report separately to Murdoch, while acting as co-general counsel.

In the short term, Bates will continue to negotiate the Premier League contracts that Sky has been awarded and will complete the company’s corporate governance review, which was necessitated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Conyers has been a colleague of Bates for the last 10 years and Bates expects to continue their close working relationship.

Bates has overseen the company’s transformation from a start-up to a FTSE top 20 company, successfully winning Premier League contracts and dealing with Office of Fair Trading inquiries during that period.