Ashurst sees second high-profile corporate exit in days

Ashurst corporate partner Eavan Saunders Cole is set to exit the Appold Street firm after almost 14 years.

Her decision marks the second high-profile departure from Ashurst’s corporate practice in days, following that of global corporate head Stephen Lloyd who resigned from the partnership last week (7 November 2013). 

Saunders Cole will leave the firm to go on maternity leave from Christmas, and will take up a new role at Dublin-based firm William Fry on her return to practice next summer.

She insisted that her departure is completely unrelated to Lloyd’s resignation or Ashurst’s recent merger, adding that her exit “couldn’t be more good-willed”.

As one of the firm’s highest corporate billers, Saunders Cole has particular expertise in public M&A, cross-border M&A and leveraged buy-outs. She has developed a strong infrastructure M&A practice and attracted a number of high profile clients to the firm. 

She has recently worked for clients including AMP, Alberta Investment Management Corporation (Aimco), Borealis, First State Investments and Terra Firma, and has also taken a lead role on deals for Odeon Cinemas and Australian global education provider Navitas.

She said she is intending on building her own practice at William Fry, and hopes that Ashurst is able to retain her existing client relationships.

An Ashurst spokesperson said: “Eavan has decided to return to Ireland. She is a charismatic, dedicated and talented lawyer who has made a great contribution to the firm. We wish her all the best as she begins a new chapter in her life.”

Dublin-based firm William Fry has also hired two other partners to its partnership ranks over the past month. David Maughan will join from Maples in 2014 to lead the firm’s aircraft financing group, while Ian Dillon came on board from offshore firm Campbells to bolster its asset management and investment funds department.