RBS litigation head takes on Virgin Money general counsel role

RBS’s litigation chief Stephen Pearson is leaving the bank to take on the newly created general counsel position at Virgin Money.

Pearson, who is in his final week as general counsel, special services and litigation at RBS, takes up his new role in August. At Virgin Money he will report to chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who he worked when she did a spell at RBS from 2001 to 2006.

Pearson said: “Jayne-Anne approached me and I had lots of reasons for just carrying on doing what I’m doing but I’m a great believer in that if a challenge comes around you should grab it.”

He added that while the legal team he will be heading will initially be small, Gadhia has ambitious growth plans for the bank that should see the legal function expand.

At RBS, where Pearson has worked since joining from Travers Smith nine years ago, the litigation head role will go to Will Luker, who is based in the bank’s London arm and is currently Pearson’s deputy.

While Virgin Money has been around since the 1990s, it only recently acquired a banking licence that will allow it to move into the mainstream banking arena. Until now its focus has been on credit cards and internet-based services.

Pearson will continue to be based in Edinburgh in his new role.