Ernst & Young nets eleven lawyers from Coca-Cola

Ernst & Young has gained an 11-strong legal team from Coca-Cola’s Moscow operation – including its lead general counsel Jack Robinson – as part of a massive recruitment drive by the accountancy giant in the CIS region.

The drinks conglomerate’s bottling division has outsourced its 11-strong team as part of a wide-scale restructuring programme. The programme aims to steady its economic performance following disappointing sales figures for last year.

Sources say Ernst & Young already counts Coca-Cola as a client, advising on tax issues and acting as its auditor.

Discussions between the two about outsourcing the department began in February this year.

The majority of the in-house team is moving to Ernst & Young, and the bottling unit will retain just two internal lawyers.

The outsourced group includes six lawyers and five paralegals, and will bolster Ernst & Young’s department to 20 staff.

Robinson will become head of legal for Ernst & Young in the CIS region.

It is understood that he will report to Karl Johansson, the managing partner of the Moscow branch, and that he will be taking charge of the legal function in all of the offices in the region, including those in Azerbaijan, St Petersburg and Kazakhstan.

Ernst & Young is also opening up a ninth office in the region to be based in Minsk.

Robinson will oversee the running of the nine offices’ legal departments and is about to implement an extensive recruitment programme throughout each of the branches.

Before taking up the post at Coca-Cola’s bottling division six years ago, Robinson practised at Canadian-based Gowling Strathy & Henderson’s Moscow office.