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Bevan Ashford has appointed a non-lawyer from engineering conglomerate GKN as its new chief executive for Bristol, Birmingham and London.
Ann Conway-Hughes will take up the post when Nick Jarrett-Kerr steps down next month after eight years in the role. West Country chief executive Christopher Hawkins retains his post, but ultimately the roles are expected to be merged. Conway-Hughes will work closely with the firm's newly-created corporate-style executive board for Bristol, Birmingham and London (BBL) (The Lawyer, 6 August) to deliver a number of strategic projects. High on the agenda is the integration of the firm's separate BBL and West Country profit centres by 2003. Jarrett-Kerr will remain chairman of the joint management board for BBL and the West Country offices; Simon Rous remains managing partner for the West Country. Conway-Hughes brings experience from a number of senior roles at GKN. Her posts included director of strategic capability for the group and chief executive officer/human resources director for GKN Engage, a 1,200-employee engineering services subsidiary. She has also held senior management positions at Shell, Great Western Trains and the NHS, and has run her own strategic management consultancy. Jarrett-Kerr described the appointment as a coup for the firm. He said: "Ann's background in running a large business, together with her extensive experience in strategic development, leadership and change management, makes her ideally suited to driving Bevan Ashford's strategy of attaining the position as one of the top national law firms." Conway-Hughes added: "I'm delighted to be joining Bevan Ashford at a time when several major new opportunities are opening up for the firm. Bevan Ashford's growth and success has been exceptional in recent years, and in many areas of practice it has a national reputation for its City-quality work. "My job will be to ensure that we build on this to operate on a truly national stage across all sectors of our business, providing clients with unrivalled experience and expertise."