Unichem GC snares Boots’ top job

Boots Group’s company secretary Michael Oliver is set to retire following the pharmaceutical giant’s multibillion-pound merger with Alliance Unichem, leaving Alliance Unichem general counsel Marco Pagni to take over as general counsel of the merged legal function.

According to well-placed sources, Boots is unlikely to make any redundancies in its legal department as a result of the £8.1bn merger.

The company’s legal department, which consists of 12 solicitors, three chartered secretaries and two trading standards officers from local government, survived two tender exercises 18 months ago to determine whether property work should be outsourced.

Pagni joined Alliance Unichem three years ago from fast food retailer McDonald’s, where he was international general counsel.

Oliver’s career at Boots spanned more than 18 years. During the past 12 months he led the in-house team in its handling of the merger with Alliance Unichem and the simultaneous £1.9bn disposal of Boots Healthcare International to Reckitt Benckiser, advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Mark Rawlinson.

Pagni’s appointment will be monitored closely by both companies’ external advisers. Slaughter and May advised Boots, while Alliance Unichem instructed Allen & Overy.