• "A great opportunity to meet up with peers, discuss common challenges and share experiences.” Sarah Gray, Santander UK
  • “Great speakers and networking opportunities.” Adam McArthur, AstraZeneca
  • "There are practical take-aways from the event I can implement now.” Matthew Glover, Colt
  • "Great mix of lawyers, legal companies and suppliers.” Rachel Kerr, Bupa
  • “Fresh, innovative and really helpful.” Helen Barker, Diageo


Vanessa French

General Counsel

Wolseley UK


Vanessa is General Counsel of Wolseley UK, the UK operating company of FTSE 100 Wolseley plc. Vanessa sits on the Wolseley UK Leadership Team and leads the multi-disciplinary legal, risk and compliance function, with a team of circa 40 professionals responding to her. Vanessa joined Wolseley UK in 2013, having previously been Lead Competition Counsel at AstraZeneca. Vanessa’s initial remit at Wolseley UK comprised the legal and debt recovery teams but was expanded in 2014 to include a business operations team including key areas such as health and safety. Since joining Wolseley, Vanessa has led and managed M&A activity together with the associated CMA review. Vanessa’s function now covers business process and controls and governance and assurance, as well as legal and risk matters. All of the teams within the function seek to optimise the support they provide to Wolseley UK via technology. The Legal team in particular has focused on technology to drive its operating model and measurably demonstrate its value. Vanessa is passionate about the people factor of leadership, with additional interests in relation to inclusion and corporate social responsibility. Vanessa chairs Wolseley UK’s colleague forum, fostering effective communication across Wolseley UK’s circa 6,000 employees.