Stephen read law at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge and , after training with and spending two years in the corporate department of Lincoln’s Inn firm Payne, Hicks Beach & Co., he joined the Legal Department of Racal Electronics Plc in Bracknell in 1980. In a small team of six lawyers (which grew to about 20 over the following 10 years), Stephen turned his hand to property work, to intellectual property, industrial tribunals, international sales contracts, EU and US anti-trust issues, corporate acquisitions and disposals and myriad other legal issues from the diverse electronics group. He was appointed Deputy Group Solicitor in 1986 and, when Racal Vodafone became Vodafone Group Plc in 1991, he was invited to be its Legal Director and Company Secretary.
Initially, Stephen headed a team of 4 lawyers, a legal executive, a trainee and an assistant company secretary but as Vodafone expanded both nationally and internationally so his team grew. When he retired in 2010 he was leading a Group Legal Department of almost 100 lawyers and a worldwide team of about 400, based in Australasia, Africa, Asia, the USA and most countries in Europe. Stephen’s philosophy for his legal team was that, as trained lawyers, they were there to provide first class legal advice to the company, not to be a conduit to external law firms. If the company’s need for legal advice of a particular type justified the recruitment of an expert in that field then a lawyer would be hired. It was a model which he believed saved the group millions of pounds in legal fees.
Stephen was a member of Vodafone’s Executive Committee and he also chaired its Disclosure Committee, was a member of its Financial Risk Committee and for many years was a pension trustee. He chaired the Company’s International Legal Management Committee and annually ran an international conference for the heads of legal departments around the world. He is now Chairman of ShareGift, the share donation charity, an advisor on corporate governance to Armstrong Bonham Carter LLP and a governor of a local preparatory school. He plays golf and is a Manchester United season ticket holder.