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Clifford Chance has elected Guy Norman as its new corporate chief following an uncontested election.
The partner became an early contender for the top role when he put his name forward before Christmas (29 January 2013). He succeeds outgoing corporate head Matthew Layton who was elected new managing partner at the end of 2013 (28 November 2013).
Heavyweight corporate partner Norman was brought back to the UK from the Middle East last year (3 July 2013) and will take up his new role on 1 May 2014, when Layton takes up the top job.
Norman took the lead role on Kraft’s £11bn takeover of Cadbury in January 2010 (19 January 2010) and has also acted for big-name clients like Barclays, on its proposed takeover of ABN Amro and acquisition of Lehman Brothers North America Investment banking and capital markets businesses.
Private equity rising star Kem Ihenacho left the firm on the back of former private equity head David walker and Tom Evans, who both quit the firm in 2013 (9 October 2013).
Sources say Norman would be a safe pair of hands to take the team forward.
Those close to the firm said he could look at shuffling “who’s in charge of whom”, but that he had high respect for Layton’s strategy and did not want to move too far away from the status quo.
The partner is said to be “excellent” with clients and will be keen to focus on improving external communication.
He will have a hefty job on his hands taking over from the well-respected Matthew Layton, seen as the natural choice to replace outgoing David Childs.
The role will hand Norman a seat on the 16-strong management committee. He has been a partner at the firm since 1998 after a year on secondment as an investment banker at Citi and two years at the UK Takeover Panel as a Senior Regulator.
Layton said: “Guy is particularly well placed to take on this role. During his years working in our corporate team in London and the Middle East, and through his secondments into clients and regulators as well as his lead role on a number of major client relationships, Guy has acquired important experience and insights that are invaluable to clients and to our team.”