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Clifford Chance has appointed leading media and sports partner Yves Wehrli as managing partner of its Paris office.
He is the first Frenchman to head the office, which he says shows the development of the local practice. "I think the aim has been to amplify the French side as much as possible," he says. "We have advised on the sale of Indosuez to Credit Agricole and instructed the organising committee of the 1998 World Cup. That is an achievement you can't expect if you are not truly a player in the local market."
Clifford Chance has changed the management structure of the office, with Wehrli backed by a four-strong executive committee comprising partners Pierre Bechmann, Eric Davoudet and Thierry Schoen and financial and administrative director Francois Bammert.
"Because of the size of the office, which is 160 lawyers, you can't just have one man deciding everything or revert all matters to a partners' meeting. You need a level of management that is able to react quickly," says Wehrli.
He has been with Clifford Chance since 1980 and has developed the Paris office's media group and international sports law practice.
Wehrli takes over on 1 May 2000 from Trevor Brown, who is retiring after 35 years at the Paris office and nine years as its managing partner.
Wehrli says: "Trevor has done an excellent job managing Clifford Chance's Paris office. I am fortunate to take the job when the Paris market is booming and I am convinced that Clifford Chance in Paris is uniquely positioned to take advantage of those market opportunities."