The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has appointed its first-ever global general counsel and company secretary as part of a legal restructure.
Former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lawyer and Reuters general counsel Claire Chapman will join the media group, which includes national division Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, Metro and Mail Online, and regional division Northcliffe Media.
She will move from her current role – also a combined general counsel and company secretary position – at Inchcape, an international automotive distributor and retailer, where she has been for five years.
It is understood that Chapman will have a light-touch role overseeing all the legal departments across DMGT’s divisions in the UK and overseas.
This will include the newly restructured Associated Newspapers legal team, which was split into commercial and editorial following the departure of group legal director Harvey Kass last year (22 November 2011). Since the split Dan Feldman and Spencer Davis lead the commercial arm and Liz Hartley heads editorial legal services (28 March 2012). Kass oversaw the entire Associated legal operation for 17 years.
However, the new combined role of general counsel and company secretary means long-serving DMGT company secretary Nick Jennings is being made redundant in December after 24 years.
He is one of the most senior lawyers in the group having been appointed company secretary in 1999 and sits on the DMGT board alongside Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and DMGT chairman Lord Rothermere. He was also a member of committees including audit, remuneration and risk.
Chapman spent four years as a solicitor with Freshfields before joining Reuters in 1995. There she worked her way up to UK general counsel, then to a Europe, Middle East, and Africa role, advising on major commercial and IT contracts, global projects, integration and key corporate projects.
Chapman moved to Inchcape in March 2007 and is responsible for the group’s legal and compliance programmes, mergers and acquisitions, major contracts, corporate projects and restructurings and effective corporate governance and board management.