The lawyer who successfully defended Rebekah Brooks from phone-hacking allegations has been appointed as general counsel to News UK.
UK defence lawyer Angus McBride will take up the role in March. He was Brooks’ leading solicitor in the 2013 and 2014 phone-hacking trial, which saw the former News of the World editor having to defend accusations relating to phone-hacking, police bribery and improper influence in the pursuit of stories.
Brooks was cleared of all charges and has since taken up the role as chief executive as of September.
McBride’s appointment forms part of a management overhaul where three top executives - corporate affairs director Guto Harri, chief operating officer Chris Taylor and business intelligence director Andrew Day - have since left.
Former The Daily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher was appointed as editor of The Sun as part of the restructuring.
As reported in The Financial Times, Brooks said McBride was always 10 steps ahead.
“I have come to trust him implicitly and believe that News UK will benefit from his legal expertise, wise advice and strategic approach.”
In the Spear’s 500, a guide for the wealthy published in late 2014, Brooks said of McBride: “If you are in trouble, his number should be your first call . . . Wise, clever, strategic, empathetic and unbelievably modest. He will be our friend forever.”
This is the first general counsel role for McBride, who specialises in criminal law in his capacity as partner at London firm, Kingsley Napley.
During his 16 years at Kingsley Napley, McBride represented Chelsea footballer John Terry, politicians involved in the “cash for honours” scandal, and Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of missing toddler Madeleine.
As of March he will replace Emma Moloney who joined News UK in 2013.