Rolls-Royce installs former BA GC as legal chief

Engineering group Rolls-Royce has appointed Robert Webb QC as general counsel to succeed Tim Rayner.

Robert Webb QC
Robert Webb QC

It is understood that Rayner has left the company, but it is not known where he has moved on to.

Prior to making the move Webb held door tenancy at Brick court Chambers (2 June 2009). He joined the set after 11 years as general counsel with British Airways, before which he spent 25 years at the bar (16 March 2009). He held the role of head of chambers at 5 Bell Yard for the decade leading up to 1998.

His exit from BA was intended to open the way for non-executive appointments. In September 2009 he was appointed as non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide.

Webb currently holds non-executive positions with the London Stock Exchange, British intelligence group Hakluyt & Company and property development group Argent Group.

Next month the engineering giant will go to the High Court to defend a £100m coverage dispute with 13 insurance companies. The case, which was listed in The Lawyer’s top 20 for 2012 (2 January 2012), concerns problems that occurred with a marine propulsion system known as the ‘Mermaid Pods’ system, which was developed for use on cruiseliner vessels and oil rigs.

Rolls-Royce settled claims brought against it over the issues with the pods in the French and US (Florida) courts. It now wants its primary level and excess insurers

to indemnify monies paid in settlement but they contend that they needed to be consulted before the settlement paid out.

Eversheds partner Ben Bruton has instructed Fountain Court’s Anthony Boswood QC for Rolls Royce, while Devereux Chambers’ Colin Edelman QC has been drafted in for the primary and secondary insurers.

Webb could not be reached for comment.