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Clifford Chance's Italian offices are to elect a new managing partner following the announcement that incumbent Nicholas Wrigley is to step down.
Wrigley announced his decision on Thursday (12 October) after a three-month sabbatical. He has been managing partner since 2002, when his predecessor Vittorio Grimaldi defected to set up his own boutique, taking 26 lawyers with him.
Wrigley is joining client UPC Energy Partners, but will be working one day a week with Clifford Chance as part of the handover.
He said: "It was difficult to decide whether to go, but it's an opportunity that might not come around again."
Clifford Chance senior partner Stuart Popham is understood to have conducted consultations with local partners. Sources say that Italy banking head Charles Adams, based in Milan, is the frontrunner to replace Wrigley. "He has the right attitude, and is, again, a Brit, but is young," said one source.
Under consideration is a tripartite management team led by an overall managing partner who would work closely with the head of corporate and head of banking.
As well as being managing partner for Italy, Wrigley led the Italian corporate practice. Sources say the likely successor to Wrigley as head of corporate is partner Alberta Figari. Massimo Novo is a favourite to become head of banking, succeeding Adams. However, both are based in Milan alongside Adams, meaning that the Rome office would not have official representation in that management structure.
Wrigley lost out on becoming global head of corporate to Peter Charlton last year.