RHM Foodbrands, the main operating company which owns Mr Kipling cakes, Hovis Bread and Bisto Gravy group, has raided the AA for its new legal chief.
The AA’s former general counsel Thomas Murphy joined RHM as its head of legal last Thursday (27 January). It is understood that Murphy left the AA after Centrica had sold off the breakdown and personal finance business last year.
In his new role, Murphy will manage a team comprising six lawyers and a trainee trademark agent.
The appointment will be watched closely by Lovells, RHM’s principal legal adviser for corporate and finance work, because it is believed that part of Murhpy’s brief is to review the group’s relationships with external lawyers. This is understood to be with a view to launching RHM’s first ever legal panel.
Murphy’s move follows a radical restructure of RHM’s management last February, which saw the appointment of Andrew Allner as the company’s new finance director. It has been rumoured that the group, which is owned by private equity giant Doughty Hanson, has resurrected plans to float the business.
Doughty Hanson, which bought RMH from Tomkins in 2000 for £1.14bn, abandoned plans to float the company in 2002.
Murphy, who will report to Allner, replaces RHM’s interim head of legal Kevin Mugch. Mugch, an IP specialist, took over the role on a temporary basis following the departure of Teifion Hill, who left the group last summer to join healthcare software group iSOFT.
Murphy joined Centrica in 1998 from HSBC, and prior to joining that he was a finance lawyer at Clifford Chance.
RHM confirmed Murphy’s appointment, but declined to comment further.