Scottish Media on hunt for TV chief

Scottish Media Group is splitting its legal department in two to create a dedicated television division with a new head of legal.

It is currently advertising for the position, which will be based in London and will head a team of three, two of whom will be based in Glasgow.

Head of Scottish Media Group's in-house legal team Dawn Davidson says that the television work was threatening to take over the department.

“Around 85 per cent of the work the team does is TV work. We have fairly long working days and there is not quite enough resources to do it all,” she explains.

“As well as television work, we do outdoor advertising, cinema advertising and newspaper work. The television work is being polluted by work for the other division and central services, such as arranging contracts for the cleaners.”

The company plans to base the new head of legal in London because most of the financing deals are done there. The company currently outsources work to Freshfields, Dundas & Wilson, Levy & McRae and Semple Fraser.

Davidson adds: “We want someone who knows the business and knows the law and knows the people involved in doing the deals, as well as managing the two others who will be based in Glasgow doing the bread and butter work.”

The rest of the team will be taken from Scottish Media Group's existing team of four lawyers. The team will relocate to the company's television centre so that it can be involved in programme production on a daily basis.

Davidson will continue to be head of legal for non-TV work and will oversee the new department.

The summer has seen a lot of activity within the television sector's legal departments.

Pearson TV recently parted company with its head of legal Paul Vickers as it decided to switch to a US qualified lawyer following recent acquisitions in the US.

Channel 4 International, the body responsible for selling on Channel 4 programmes and coordinating co-production activities, created its first ever legal department headed by Ceetah Grieves.

And News International brought over US lawyer Jay Itzkowitz to head the group's commercial legal activities in the UK and Europe.

His role includes responsibility for buying up other TV companies in Europe.

see Scottish Media Group client file page 16