A&O names global corporate co-head

Allen & Overy (A&O) has appointed a new global ­corporate co-head following Sietze Hepkema’s announcement that he will retire in the New Year.

A&O Belgium managing partner Dirk Meeus was appointed to replace ­Hepkema following a consultation process and board approval. Meeus has been appointed for a four-year term and will take the reins of the firm’s global corporate practice alongside co-head Andrew Ballheimer, who is already two years into his four-year term.

Hepkema is stepping down from the co-head role and will retire as a partner in January 2012, but will continue to work at A&O as an attorney. When he was appointed as global corporate co-head in 2010 it was only for a two-year period.

Meeus is also three years into a four-year term as ­Belgium managing partner and will retain this role for at least another year, at which point a consultation process will be held. Meeus has not indicated whether he intends to put himself forward for reappointment, saying he “will see how this year goes”.

A&O opts for a co-head structure in corporate so that management can share responsibilities and ­continue to fee-earn. In November Ballheimer led A&O’s corporate team in advising Virgin Money on its £747m acquisition of the good half of Northern Rock.