Lend Lease strategy rethink sees London grow in stature

Australia’s largest property developer Lend Lease is ramping up its London legal function due to the wholesale reorganisation of its business.

The European in-house legal function has been restructured, with global general counsel Phil Crewes moving from Australia to London, where a number of the group’s HQ functions are now based. Chief executive Greg Clarke, who took the helm a year ago and who has led the group’s exit from US real estate funds management, is himself London-based.

Further reorganisation has been prompted by the recent exit of Alison Gough, formerly head of legal for Lend Lease Europe. The company has just hired former Orange lawyer Sarah Fentem as a senior legal counsel to focus on corporate.

Meanwhile, Jackie Jordan, Lend Lease’s other London-based lawyer, has taken up Gough’s retail investment and asset management responsibilities. Jordan has also taken on some company secretarial responsibilities following another staff departure.

Lend Lease’s preferred UK firms remain unchanged, with Eversheds advising on asset management and Linklaters on corporate. It also uses Clifford Chance, as well as Masons and Blackadders in Scotland and Rouse & Co for intellectual property.

The in-house changes follow a strategic review at Lend Lease. In May this year it announced that the group would sell non-core assets and focus on its core activities of building and urban development in Australia and urban regeneration, hospital building and military housing in the UK and US.

In keeping with this, Lend Lease plans to sell the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, but will retain its management of the centre.

Bovis Lend Lease, the construction and project management division of Lend Lease, has a separate in-house legal function in Harrow.