Drax is on the brink of appointing its first head of legal for two years in a move which could spark an in-house restructure.
When former legal head Kavita Singh left the company for MRC Global in 2012 former general counsel and company secretary Philip Hudson decided not to replace the role, instead promoting two senior lawyers and splitting the legal team in two.
However it is understood that Hudson has now decided to replace Singh’s former role, establishing a chain of report to the company secretary, mirroring the organisation’s other departments.
The company is currently interviewing for the role with a replacement expected to be announced before the end of the year. It is thought that a new legal head may choose to restructure the team, which is currently divided between two legal heads underneath Hudson.
Senior lawyer Claire Sedgwick heads up a five-strong team handling the financial side of the business including commodity trading and corporate finance, while Siobhan Hagerty-Crosse heads a group of four handling commercial contracts.
Hudson is company secretary after abandoning the general counsel tag and is responsible for human resources, risk management and regulatory issues as well as legal.
He joined in 2007 as Drax’s only lawyer after moving from Yorkshire Water owner Kelda Water where he was general counsel.
Singh was appointed as head of legal in 2007. In 2011 Hudson took up a role as director of corporate affairs but retained the overall legal role and took over management of the team when Singh left Drax.
Drax does not operate a formal panel but the head of legal is tasked with organising and monitoring the company’s external relationships with around six external firms.
Typically legacy Norton Rose was the company’s main corporate adviser, having advised on major restructurings and refinancing deals in the early 2000s.
More recently Slaughter and May has done its big ticket corporate work. The firm netted Drax as a new client last year, advising on its conversion from a predominantly coal-fuelled to a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator.
In 2012 finance partner Guy O’Keefe advised on a string of finance deals, culminating in a £100m loan facility from the Green Investment Bank and a £400m revolving credit facility to replace Drax’s previous borrowings.