Ashurst elects Madrid partner as first female board member

All-female line-up put forward after UK firm pushes for more diverse management board


Cristina Calvo
Cristina Calvo

Ashurst has voted for its first-ever female board member following an ­election in which all four candidates were women.

Madrid partner Cristina Calvo’s election last Thursday (17 November) comes on the back of a drive to increase the number of female partners in senior management positions at the City firm.

The Madrid real estate chief beat off competition from three female City partners for the right to replace David Evans on the board following the real estate funds head’s departure to US firm Goodwin Procter.

Evans has already stood down from the board, to which he was elected at the beginning of 2009 after Geoffrey Green stood down as senior partner, and is set to leave the firm when his notice period expires.

Finance partner Helen Burton, real estate finance partner Ruth Harris and energy, transport and infrastructure (ETI) partner Jan Sanders had all thrown their hats into the ring.

The Ashurst committee, set up at the beginning of this year by senior partner Charlie Geffen and global corporate head Stephen Lloyd, has introduced ­targets for more female ­partners on the board and in practice group and regional management ­positions, as well as on other committees at the firm.

Geffen said there were no quotas, but that partners were aware that the firm aimed to hike the number of female partners on the nine-person management board.

“We didn’t say only female partners could stand, but we’ve said we want more women in senior management positions and the firm’s well aware of this,” Geffen said, adding that it was ­”obviously good” that ­partners had chosen a female board member “of their own accord”.

Calvo also becomes the first Spanish partner on the board, which currently consists of London, Paris and Frankfurt partners and which has previously had Italian members.

Sitting alongside Geffen and Calvo are managing partner Simon Bromwich, ETI partner Logan Mair, disputes partner Ben Tidswell, corporate partner Anthony Clare, finance director Nigel Morland, Paris finance partner Laurent Mabilat and Frankfurt corporate partner and German head Reinhard Eyring. Six of the members are elected.

Evans’ exit for Goodwin Procter was confirmed last month (TheLawyer.com, 11 October). He will join the US firm as London head.

The US firm is also bringing in Ashurst funds partner Samantha Lake Coghlan.