The BPI, the industry group for UK record companies, has finally ended its search for a new general counsel, hiring Kiaron Whitehead from litigation firm Forbes Anderson Free.

Whitehead will take over the role in March 2008 from Simon Baggs, a partner at media firm Wiggin who has filled the position temporarily as acting general counsel.

The BPI had been spent months looking for a successor to former general counsel Roz Groome, who left in May 2007 to spearhead a new anti-piracy initiative at US media company NBC Universal.

Whitehead trained as a barrister and then moved to Forbes Anderson Free, where he spent six years specializing in contentious IP matters for media and entertainment clients. His IP background will come in useful at the BPI, which is focusing its efforts on eradicating music piracy.

Whitehead said: “The business of protecting music has always been an evolving and challenging one – no more so than now.”