Updated to include Craig Hawthorne’s new role/title.

RPC has appointed the Serious Fraud Office’s chief technology officer Ben Denison as director of information technology, starting work at the law firm on 6 January 2020 and reporting to newly appointed chief operating officer Alistair Johnson.

Denison will replace interim director of information technology Craig Hawthorne. Hawthorne, who we initially understood was to transition into the director of IT role after the departure of former IT head Julie Berry, will transition to head the firm’s insurance consulting arm RPC Consulting, RPC’s financial risk modelling software and consulting arm. He has become an associate partner and CIO of RPC consulting.

Denison’s hire follows that of regulatory partner Sam Tate, who joined from Exiger, where he was head of anti-corruption in EMEA working closely with a number of FTSE 100 companies. 

Commenting on Denison’s arrival, Johnson said: “We are delighted to welcome Ben at RPC. His experience and track record in dealing with high level and complex technological issues – in particular but not limited to high level challenges of data management and data security – for the SFO will be a great asset to the firm.”

He added: “A good example of that is – complementing the work driven by Sam Tate, who we hired just over twelve months ago given our view that white collar crime and anti-bribery investigations are increasing under the new SFO’s leadership – delivering clients legal advice on the basis of a sound understanding of the challenges they are likely to face.”

Unlike many UK top 50 firms, RPC does not split its IT and typically client-facing ‘innovation’ function. RPC plans that in addition to having an internal IT role Denison will be involved directly with the firm’s clients. Denison, who turned to RAVN (now iManage RAVN) in the successful Rolls Royce corruption case will be charged with managing the firm’s data strategy.

According to our UK Top 200, RPC currently has an OpenText document management system.

Denison said: “I was immediately impressed by RPC’s strong commitment and appetite for innovation, in particular its recognition of the potential that technology has to enhance its internal capabilities, and importantly in how it can be used to transform the delivery of services to clients. I was also particularly drawn to the firm’s genuine commitment to collegiality, collaboration and the highest level of client service; I can’t wait to get started.”