Longstanding Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) corporate head John Bennett is to step down from the role and take on a newly-created position overseeing the firm’s international expansion.
The City outfit has appointed Bennett as international business partner, responsible for growing the firm’s cross-border business through sourcing and developing new and existing client relationships.
He will continue as departmental managing partner until a replacement is chosen, with a successor expected to be announced in the coming days.
Corporate finance chief David Collins is understood to be taking the reins, but the firm declined to comment on this.
Bennett has been corporate head since the 2001 merger of Berwin Leighton and Paisner & Co. He has also chaired its China business group and US business group, with the firm confirming that these regions would be Bennett’s initial focus.
The firm said the new position reflects its ambition for further global growth and the potential of the US and Chinese markets, adding that over 40 per cent of its revenue comes from international work.
Bennett said in a statement: “Over the last 10 years I have watched BLP grow into an international firm operating out of 11 offices across four continents and with a global managed network of preferred firms. The firm’s vision for further growth is characteristically ambitious.
“It centres on a new world strategy – following capital flows in and out of old and new ‘driver’ economies such as the US and China.”
Managing partner Neville Eisenberg said the appointment “arises out of the increasingly international profile of the firm and demonstrates our commitment to continuing growth”.
He added: “John has been instrumental in the launch of our Moscow, Hong Kong and Beijing offices – his international experience and client development skills will be a powerful combination.”
The firm recently won approval for the representative office launch in Beijing, which Bennett described as a “step-by-step and patient approach for growth in China” (20 February 2013).
Former firm chair Peter Robinson, who will head the Beijing base, was recently seconded to Tesco as acting head of legal in China (18 May 2012).