Virgin Media has appointed a new general counsel from American media company Scripps Networks Interactive.
Mine Hifzi will take over from acting general counsel Pamela Claridge, who helped steer the media giant through a £14.9bn takeover by US group Liberty Global last year (6 February 2013).
Hifzi will report directly into chief executive officer Tom Mockridge on Virgin Media’s executive board and will have overall responsibility for every aspect of commercial, corporate and competition law.
This is the latest in a line of high-profile media company roles for Hifzi. She was previously senior vice-president of international commercial and legal affairs for Scripps International, based in the US. The company is thought to be in the race to buy Channel 5 according to a Financial Times report last month.
Before that she spent 14 years heading up the international legal and government affairs team at Discovery Communications and also worked in senior positions at Turner Broadcasting Systems Europe and United International Pictures.
Claridge has been acting general counsel since the exit of Scott Dresser, who resigned from the company in August 2012 citing “personal reasons”, after just over 18 months in the job (2 August 2012). Dresser was responsible for drawing up the company’s first external legal panel, with Latham & Watkins, Linklaters and Sullivan & Cromwell joining existing advisers Ashurst and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson on the main corporate roster (7 November 2011).
Claridge will return to her former role as director of commercial where she will work alongside assistant general counsel and director of corporate Caroline Withers who oversaw the hefty takeover deal by Liberty Global last year.
Virgin Media was advised by Fried Frank corporate partner Robert Mollen and senior counsel Arthur Fleischer with advice from London corporate partner Richard May. Milbank advised Virgin Media on the bonds used to finance the deal, fielding London finance partner Timothy Peterson and corporate partner Mark Stamp.