Baker & McKenzie announced today that it has appointed Craig Courter as the Firm’s next Chief Operating Officer with effect from January 1, 2004. Craig is currently the Firm’s Chief Technology Officer, a position he assumed in 2001, having joined Baker & McKenzie in 2000. In his new role, Craig will manage the Firm’s International Executive Offices and its global staff; be responsible for the development and roll-out of major projects and initiatives; and assist the Chairman and the Executive Committee to implement the Firm’s strategic plan. He succeeds Peter Smith who, after 5 years with Baker & McKenzie, is leaving the Firm to take up a new appointment in the UK.

Also announced today is the recent appointment of David Tabolt as Director of Marketing & Communications and the appointment of Rob Gijsen to the newly-created role of Director of Business Development. David Tabolt joined Baker & McKenzie last month to work with the leadership of the Firm to develop the Firm’s global image and reputation. He previously held global marketing and communications roles with Andersen. Rob Gijsen, currently Head of Business Development – Asia for Clifford Chance, will join Baker & McKenzie in January 2004. He will be charged with driving the Firm’s business development efforts through its global practice groups and overseeing the maintenance and further development of its highly successful Client Service Program.

Commenting on the appointment of Craig Courter, Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the Executive Committee, said, “Since joining Baker & McKenzie, Craig has made an
outstanding contribution as part of the senior management team of the Firm. He is held in the very highest regard throughout the Firm and he was a natural choice for the role of Chief Operating Officer. At the same time, we are sad to say farewell to our good friend and colleague Peter Smith. Peter has played a key role in the development of Baker & McKenzie over the past 5 years, both as Chief Operating Officer and in his previous role as Director of Professional Development and Know-How. We wish him well in his new role and for his return to the UK.”

Commenting on the appointment of David Tabolt and Rob Gijsen, Mme Lagarde added, “I am absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of such high calibre individuals to these key roles within our Firm. David and Rob, with their wealth of expertise and proven abilities, are a very welcome addition to our team as we continue our drive to enhance and promote the value of our brand.”

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.