UK Legal – Herbert Smith Appoints David Willis As Managing Partner

LAWFUEL – Herbert Smith announced today the appointment of partner David Willis to the role of Managing Partner.

The appointment follows a review of Herbert Smith’s management structure by the firm’s Executive Committee and LLP Council, its main management and governance bodies respectively.

As Managing Partner, David Willis will chair the Executive and concentrate on implementation of the firm’s strategy, complementing Senior Partner David Gold’s role chairing the LLP Council and developing the strategy. David Willis will also be an ex-officio member of the LLP Council. He will report to the Senior Partner. His appointment will initially be until 31 March 2010, coinciding with the completion of David Gold’s five-year tenure as Senior Partner.

David Willis is a highly-regarded partner in the firm’s corporate practice. He joined Herbert Smith in 1981 and became a partner in 1989. Between 1997 and 2001 he was Managing Partner of the firm’s Asia operations. David’s success in this role was recognised when he was awarded ‘Managing Partner of the Year’ by publisher Asia Law in 2000.

As well as leading one of the corporate groups in London, more recently his management expertise has been brought to bear on a number of major projects undertaken by the firm, including successful lateral hire initiatives such as the recruitment of partners Oleg Konnov and Alexei Roudiak to Herbert Smith’s Moscow office.

His practice encompasses takeovers, M&A and financial services regulation. Recent work highlights include his role advising Resolution Life on its £5 billion recommended takeover by Pearl Group, and advising the UK Government on the restructuring of British Nuclear Fuels plc and the establishment of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. Early in his career he advised on a series of major privatisations in the UK, including those of the electricity and coal industries.

David Gold commented:

“Herbert Smith is a bigger, more international and more complex organisation than it was when I became Senior Partner three years ago. It is essential we have a management structure which reflects these factors, the priority we are giving to international growth going forward and the opportunities and challenges we face from the current period of economic uncertainty.

“I have enjoyed working with David on a number of projects over the last year and so was pleased that the LLP Council and the Executive concluded, in the wake of the review, that he would make an ideal Managing Partner.”

David Willis added:

“I am delighted and honoured by the appointment. I am also fortunate to be taking on the role at a time when the firm is performing well and our business model is demonstrating its strengths and flexibility.

“Strong leadership and management is going to be particularly critical to our success in achieving the ambitious strategic goals developed by David and the global practice heads. It will also be essential if we are to retain the firm’s collegial and entrepreneurial culture as we pursue further international growth over the next few years. I am confident we can succeed on both fronts and look forward to working closely with the partners to achieve our aims.”

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