Gamekeeping, poaching and revolving doors

15 March 2011

Following on from Steven Francis' comments on the need for the FSA to appreciate the benefits of a revolving-door policy to its recruitment and retention of quality regulators,...

it was interesting to read yesterday that the process can also happen in reverse with the news that Slaughter and May competition partner Sarah Cardell is moving on to head up the Legal Markets team at Ofgem where she will replace Duncan Sinclair who has moved in the opposite direction to return to private practice as a barrister at 39 Essex Street.

This got me thinking about other key moves in the other direction, including my own time spent at Ofcom from 2005-2006. Ofcom's legal team is headed up by Polly Weitzman who moved from Dentons (where she was the head of the competition group) in 2003, before moving on to the role of General Counsel in 2005 and Sarah Turnbull who moved from a promising career at SJ Berwin to take up the role of Ofcom Head of Legal and number 2 to Polly in 2005.

On the OFT side, recognition of the advantages of a revolving door policy to recruit and retain talent has been evident in the role of Director of Mergers since the appointment of Simon Priddis from Cleary Gottlieb in 2002 (now a partner at Freshfields). This role has subsequently been filled by Simon Pritchard (joining the OFT from Cleary Gottlieb in 2005 and now a partner at Allen & Overy), Alastair Mordaunt who moved from Freshfields to the OFT in 2008 and the latest incumbent, Sheldon Mills, who moved from SJ Berwin last year. The OFT has talent elsewhere enticed from senior roles within the private sector, including Jackie Holland (Director of Competition Policy and previously at Slaughter and May) and Sonya Branch, a Senior Director in Markets and Projects and previously a competition partner at Clifford Chance.

It is clear that much can be learned in both directions when gamekeeper and poacher roles are reversed.

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