Gordon Stewart, one of the City's top insolvency lawyers and partner at Allen & Overy, is the first lawyer to be appointed vice-president of the Society of Practitioners of Insolvency (SPI).
Stewart, a licensed insolvency practitioner, is almost certain to become the society's first lawyer president.
Meanwhile Colin Bird, the well-known senior corporate recovery partner at Price Waterhouse becomes the SPI's president.
Promotion of the two men follows the sudden tragic death of Allan Griffiths, head of insolvency at accountants Grant Thornton in London, who became SPI president only three weeks ago.
Griffiths, 49, died of a brain haemorrhage on his way from Liverpool to London a week after appointment.
Bird, who was the new vice-president, says this year will be challenging for the insolvency profession, with the Government's decision not to intervene in the Paramount affair, DTI-proposed revision of company voluntary arrangement law and the controversial debt-to-equity proposals.