Bevan Brittan boss ousted by partner vote

Bevan Brittan chief executive Stuart Whitfield is to be replaced by non-lawyer Andrew Manning after the partnership voted him out of the position.

As revealed by The Lawyer (21 July), a four-partner committee tasked with devising a restructuring plan for the firm proposed that Whitfield be replaced.

The proposals came as the Bristol-based firm saw ­profitability tumble at
the 2007-08 year end to £6.05m, down 37 per cent from the £9.6m reported in the previous year. Average profit per equity partner also dropped, falling ;£54,000 ;from £234,000 to £180,000 – a slide of 23 per cent – despite the equity partner headcount having dropped from 41 to 33 in the past year.

Manning’s election is a bid to reverse Bevan Brittan’s fortunes. Manning, who was previously chief operating officer, has been set the ambitious target of improving profitability by 37 per cent by the 2008-09 year-end. The firm is to focus on four key areas – health, local government, private sector and corporate – in a bid to underpin growth.

Whitfield will return to a fee-earning role in the ­commercial team.