A&O set to bolster Apax links as partners vote on Stephen Lloyd hire

Former Ashurst global corporate head Stephen Lloyd is one step closer to joining Allen & Overy (A&O) after partners were last week told to prepare for a vote.

Sources suggest the executive committee has already endorsed his appointment, with a vote among partners thought to be the final formality.

Insiders suggest Lloyd has been offered a “big title” to join the magic circle firm, which is competing with US rivals – Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett – to attract Lloyd after he quit Ashurst last month (7 November 2013). 

The move would create further links between A&O and private equity firm Apax, one of Lloyd’s major clients. Former A&O private equity partner Derek Baird was one of the lead partners to the client until he left the firm for Simpson Thacher in 2012 (8 November 2012).

Lloyd is understood to have been responsible for hooking Apax as a client for Ashurst back in 2004 (14 June 2004), with sources close to the firm suggesting that the private equity client would “almost certainly” move with him. Alberta Investment Management Corporation (Aimco) is also one of his key relationships.

Although Lloyd spent much of the last few years juggling client work with practice management, he is understood to have raked in annual fees of between £6m and £10m. He was also among Ashurst’s most well-liked and influential players. As one former partner put it: “He’s an important guy and one of the most capable deal-doers and client-winners at the firm.”

Lloyd held the post of global corporate head at Ashurst since the role was first established in July 2010 as part of a wider revamp. Prior to that, he was Ashurst’s London head of corporate. In July, he was appointed as co-head of the recently merged firm’s corporate, commercial and competition team alongside Sydney-based Phil Breden.

Ashurst’s managing partner of European corporate Simon Beddow is currently filling in for Lloyd. Ashurst has previously said there probably wouldn’t be elections for a new head and that someone would likely just be appointed.

The news came in the wake of various management changes at Ashurst as it continues its post-merger integration effort. Litigation partner Ben Tidswell took up the firm’s newly established chairman role in a shock victory over the firm’s former senior partner Charlie Geffen in October (16 October 2013). 

Neither Lloyd or A&O commented when contacted by The Lawyer last Friday.