BHP Billiton has snared the managing partner of Australian-based commercial firm Freehills, prompting Freehills to review its management structure.

Mike Ferraro, one of two managing partners at the firm, is to head the legal department at BHP, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We’re taking this opportunity to review the top management structure of the firm,” said a Freehills spokesman, adding that, as a result, the decision regarding Ferraro’s role is still under discussion.

Under the firm’s management structure Ferraro took responsibility for clients, while his counterpart Peter Butler looks after people and practice groups. Both report to CEO Gavin Bell.

Ferraro takes up his new post at BHP in January 2008, reporting to BHP CEO Marius Kloopers. He replaces John Fast, who retired in June.