Kingfisher group recruits ex-Tube Lines legal chief for panel review

Ex-Tube Lines legal chief Clare Wardle has re-emerged at Kingfisher where she is set to review the retail group’s current roster of preferred firms.

Wardle has taken up the role of group head of legal at Kingfisher, owner of home improvement retailers including B&Q, where she will review the current list of approved law firms. The roster consists of around 20 firms and has not been updated for several years. She replaces previous head of legal, Martin Chambers, who has retired.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is the main adviser to the group, which also frequently uses Bond Pearce. The approved list includes Wragge & Co, Addleshaw Goddard, Macfarlanes and DLA Piper, as well as law firms in international jurisdictions.

Wardle, who joined the company in August, said: “I am very much in the process of looking at the existing relationships and synergies across the group. The review is still in the information-gathering stage and is something I will perform in co-operation with the rest of the legal network within the Kingfisher group.”

Kingfisher has a small over-arching in-house legal function as well as teams across the individual brands.

In addition to B&Q, Kingfisher owns home improvement outlets outside the UK such as Castorama and Brico Depot. In total, the group has 840 stores in eight countries and employs 78,000 people.

Wardle, who joined Tube Lines in 2009 from a role as head of legal at the Post Office, was in the midst of assessing Tube Lines’ legal panel when she left this summer.