Salans partner moves in-house to Amgen

International biotechnology giant Amgen has appointed Salans’ Robert Sexton as its new European general counsel.

Sexton, currently a partner in Salans’ emerging markets group in Paris, will join Amgen in Zurich in late March. He moves in-house after a 20-year career in private practice, including more than 11 years as a partner at Salans.

Although Salans has previously handled little work for Amgen, Sexton has known the company’s global general counsel David Scott for 10 years. Scott joined Amgen in January 2004 from medical technology company Medtronic.

Sexton’s practice at Salans covers corporate and commercial work, but is primarily focused on IP. Among other work, Sexton has advised Diageo on Russian litigation involving the trademark of the Smirnoff vodka brand.

At Amgen, Sexton will take control of a 15-strong European legal department. He said he will be examining the way the company uses outside counsel. Amgen currently has a strong global relationship with Latham & Watkins, and has instructed Arnold & Porter in Europe, among other firms.

Sexton said: “I’m sorry to leave Salans, it’s a great firm. It was a very difficult decision, but it’s a good time in my career to do this. It’s a very dynamic industry, very cutting-edge. It’s a very international role and I’m looking forward to it.”