Mary is an experienced General Counsel who has held in-house roles with Starbucks Coffee Company, Arcadia Group (owner of the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and other high-street fashion brands) and Harrods Group (owner of Harrods department store and businesses which included Kurt Geiger shoes and Fulham Football Club).
She has considerable experience advising businesses expanding internationally (including in the USA, Italy and the UK) and has worked on a number of flagship retail developments.
With experience working within retail, fashion, food & beverage, and consumer goods businesses, Mary can step in to provide practical advice, leadership and support on a General Counsel-like basis, managing projects or simply providing an experienced pair of hands to support existing teams.
- General Counsel support – supporting boards and leadership teams in delivery of a business’ strategic goals
- Planning and project leadership – advising at the start of a project, staying embedded as part of the commercial team through to delivery, issue spotting and appointing and managing relevant legal resource
- Internal and external legal resource design, managing delivery of legal services
- Building out and developing legal teams
- International expansion – licensing, franchising, distribution, and equity-owned
- Acquisition and integrations of businesses
- Working with boards and leadership teams on strategic projects, governance and stakeholder management
- Managing international trademark prosecutions and IP disputes through local and specialist counsel
- Commercial contracts – advising and negotiating contracts for buying and selling goods and services (NDA, consultancy, marketing, sponsorship, concessions, licencing, outsourcing)
- Dispute resolution – strategy, negotiating commercial settlements, managing external counsel, advice on exiting from pre-existing relationships
- Property and planning – managing complex development projects, appointing specialist counsel
- Business ethics and compliance
- Built out and developed legal and compliance teams for a UK headquartered international fashion retail business and an EMEA regional team for Starbucks Coffee Company, a US listed consumer business.
- Supported boards and leadership in delivery of the business goals and navigating commercial relationships.
- Legal team reorganisations and development and engagement of external legal support to support the delivery of business goals.
- Panel firm reviews and review of legal support model.
- Expansion of the Topshop and Topman brands into the US through the opening of directly owned flagship stores and e-commerce channels (leases, construction projects, distribution agreements, intellectual property, local employment contracts and terns, putting local advisors in place).
- International expansion of Arcadia brands and Starbucks through licensing, franchising, concessions, online marketplaces, ecommerce.
- Advised Starbucks on entry into the Italian market with the construction of its flagship “Reserve Roastery”, a complex construction project to build a 25,000 sq ft manufacturing plant and high-end flagship store and customer experience in a listed flagship building in the centre of Milan (creation of legal entities, appointment of local advisors, negotiations with the institutional landlord for the building lease, planning, permitting, distribution, supply chain and warehousing, tax, financing, employment, events and marketing).
- Ongoing relationship management of licensees across UK, Europe, Middle East, and South Africa – resolving disputes, managing licensee insolvency, protecting licensor interests, reputation management and addressing working practices.
- Providing in-house leadership and support on M&A projects including:
- sale of the 150-store German business and grant of development rights.
- sale of 25% of Topshop/Topman businesses to US-based private equity firm.
- preparing the Kurt Geiger business for a sale to a private equity-backed management buyout.
- Advised on bankruptcy and financial restructuring of master franchisees (holding territorial licences) and joint venture companies, and advising on termination strategies.
- Managed supplier insolvency and advising on termination strategies.
- Advised the board and shareholders of one of Starbucks’ joint ventures, tasked with scaling a new start-up brand globally. Investor management, funding rounds and ultimately a sale of Starbucks’ shareholding to one of the JV partners.
- Worked with external counsel to manage trademark prosecutions internationally (including US, Russia, Canada) to secure trademarks for the Topshop, Topman and Burton brands as part of their international expansion.
- Advised on and negotiated amendments to trademark co-existence agreements.
- Worked with external and in-house counsel to manage trademark, design rights, patent and copyright claims brought against the Arcadia brands in the UK and overseas.
- Negotiated direct commercial settlements with counterparts.
- Provided leadership within Starbucks on its response to a competitor’s misleading advertising campaign, appointing counsel and achieving a swift take down and settlement.
- Provided leadership within Starbucks on global public recalls, balancing health & safety requirements, contractual commitments and financial loss.
- Worked with Dutch external counsel to challenge a public body in the Netherlands on an environmental issue.
- Managed H&SE investigations and appointed external counsel.
- Grant of development rights for the Starbucks brand in France, Italy, Germany, Benelux, Slovakia, Middle East and South Africa.
- Providing in-house leadership and support on M&A projects including: sale of the 150-store German business and grant of development rights sale of 25% of Topshop/Topman businesses to US-based private equity firm.
Mary qualified as a solicitor in 1999. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2023, she worked at the following organisations
- Starbucks Coffee Company
- Arcadia Group
- Harrods Group (including Kurt Geiger & Fulham Football Club)
- Herbert Smith