Clifford Chance's chief operating officer Garth Pollard is to retire after more than three decades with the firm.
Pollard joined Clifford Turner in 1969 from Ingledow Brown Benninson & Garrett, where he qualified.
He is one of the architects of the 1999 mergers with Rogers & Wells and Pünder Volhard Weber & Axster that created the current firm. His replacement will be decided over the coming months.
Pollard made partner in 1975, became executive partner in 1991, then took up the role of chief operating officer in 1999. He was instrumental in introducing Clifford Chance's retirement age of 65. Pollard will be 56 when he leaves in the summer.
He says: "I've done this job for 10 years, and am at an age when many partners retire. The time is right."
One of Pollard's more stringent acts as chief operating officer was to withhold equity payments last year after partners clocked up a £200m billings backlog (The Lawyer, 31 July).