BA reshapes legal department as company secretary leaves

A MAJOR overhaul of British Airways' legal department is under way as its company secretary retires after 14 years at the company.

Gail Redwood is taking early retirement and will leave on 31 March.

She will be replaced by Alan Buchanan, principal legal adviser, finance, on 1 April.

Buchanan says he will still have some legal responsibilities within the department.

“The job I currently have is very specialised in aircraft finance and I'm going to have some responsibility from that. I will still be involved,” he says.

The 14-strong department, which includes two US-based lawyers, will now report solely to Stephen Walsh, previously head legal adviser, who has been promoted to legal director.

Paul Jasinski, general counsel in New York, now reports to Walsh as well as Robert Webb, general counsel at BA.

BA is also taking on Peter Watson, an associate at Freshfields. Watson, who joins the company today, specialises in aircraft finance advice.

Redwood says she intends to seek further employment.

She says: “BA calls it early retirement because that is the way the package is arranged.

“I certainly don't feel past it. I just don't want to be a company secretary anymore.”

Last September, BA underwent a major overhaul of its senior management under which the business was restructured into six units to form a management team as opposed to the previous executive team.

It is understood that plans to restructure the legal department began at the same time.

However, Walsh says the restructuring of the legal department is entirely separate from the senior management changes.