Network Rail names new group general counsel following former legal chief's departure

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Network Rail has appointed Stuart Kelly as group general counsel following the departure of former GC Suzanne Wise in March.

Kelly has stepped into the group GC role after Wise left to join Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in a non-legal role as senior vice-president for corporate development.

Kelly has been deputy group GC for Network Rail since June 2015, before which he was deputy GC at Severn Trent. During his time at the water company, Kelly was involved in its decision to extend its relationship with Eversheds as sole legal adviser until 2020.

In his capacity as deputy GC of Network Rail, he was also involved in the extension of the company’s panel appointments up until 2019. Network Rail’s external legal panel includes Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard, Dentons, Bond Dickinson and Maclay Murray & Spens.

Before leaving for JTI, Wise led a team of more than 40 lawyers and staff at Network Rail, and also oversaw the transparency and business ethics function. She also was a member of Network Rail’s executive committee and chaired its risk review group.

While in the role she also ran a panel review, which saw the company cut its external panel from 12 to five firms.