Starbucks scoops first UK GC from MFI

Coffee retail giant Starbucks has installed its first-ever UK-based head of legal with the hire of former MFI general counsel Adrian Thurston.

The move leaves MFI legacy company Galiform, which changed its name following the disposal of the troubled MFI furniture business last October, with no permanent in-house counsel.

Thurston, who left his post as general counsel for Galiform on 3 August, will report to Craighton Goeppele, Starbucks’ US-based managing director of corporate counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Previously Starbucks outsourced the bulk of its UK legal work to a number of UK law firms, such as Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance and Wragge & Co, under the instructions of its Amsterdam-based European legal team. Following Thurston’s appointment the company may look to further expand its legal capability in the UK.

Thurston was previously the sole in-houser at MFI and had assumed the role of Galiform general counsel following MFI’s divestiture.

The company, which is now focusing on its kitchen joinery outfit Howdens, has yet to find a replacement for Thurston and it has a temporary lawyer filling in.

MFI Furniture was sold to private equity group Merchant Equity Partners in October last year for just £1. SJ Berwin advised the private equity group, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised MFI.