SABMiller appoints Lovells veteran as new GC

Lovells has been rocked by the departure of veteran corporate partner John Davidson to key client SABMiller.

Davidson, Lovells’ relationship partner for SABMiller, joins the brewery group as company secretary and general counsel. He replaces current company secretary Andrew Tonkinson upon his planned retirement in August.

Davidson’s departure from Lovells was announced internally today (26 May). It follows a spate of high profile partner losses, which include London-based private equity partners Marco Compagnoni and Derek Baird who quit earlier this year to join Weil Gotshal & Manges and Allen & Overy respectively.

Lovells has a longstanding relationship with SABMiller, which began in 1998 when the firm was appointed UK legal adviser to the group’s restructuring and the re-listing of the holding company in the UK.

The firm also most notably advised on SABMiller’s Miller Brewing Company and Bavaria S.A. transactions in 2002 and 2005.

A spokesperson for Lovells said: “This is a great career opportunity for John. For the last six to seven years John’s work has been dominated by SABMiller.”

The spokesperson added that Lovells remained confident that SABMiller will continue to instruct the firm. Corporate partner Andrew Pearson will succeed Davidson as the client relationship partner.

Davidson, who has been a partner with Lovells since 1991, will join SABMiller’s executive committee.