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The BBC has hired Nicholas Eldred from BT Cellnet to head its legal team after a year-long search.Eldred has resigned as director of legal and business affairs and company secretary at BT Cellnet to join the corporation in August.The BBC has been searching for a senior lawyer to lead its legal services since former head Fred Croft left in April 2000.BT director of regulatory compliance Anne Fletcher had accepted the position in February, before deciding to take up the position of BT chief counsel after incumbent Alan Whitfield left the following month for KLegal.Eldred’s arrival will allow the BBC’s acting head Sarah Jones to return to her position as head of litigation.The BBC handles much work in-house including litigation. However, it awarded Bristows its trademark work at the end of last year over former advisers Stephenson Harwood.It also instructed Linklaters & Alliance on its recent property outsourcing, in a benchmark instruction for the magic circle firm.The BBC team is thought to be in line for restructuring and has been waiting for a new general counsel to see it through.M&A specialist Eldred will be no stranger to upheaval following BT’s current restructuring of the telecoms giant’s legal team.Eldred, who first joined BT in 1991, was made head of M&A within BT group legal services in 1995 but moved over to BT Cellnet later that year.

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