Clydes names insurance expert Burns as successor to senior partner Payton

Clyde & Co partner James Burns will succeed Michael Payton as senior partner of the firm after he stood unopposed, The Lawyer can reveal.


James Burns
James Burns

Insurance partner Burns was widely tipped to take the role after Payton stands down to become chairman of the firm (30 November 2012). The firm said Burns will act in the capacity of senior partner elect until November, when the management changes will come into effect.

Burns joined the firm in 1989 and has been a partner since 1998. He has held a number of senior management positions within the firm, sitting on the global management board, the US management board and the Canada management board.

He has taken a lead role in the international development of the firm during a period when Clydes set out to rapidly expand its international footprint. This included the firm’s launch in Australia in October 2012 (2 July 2012), a move into Canada through a merger with Nicholl Paskell-Mede (NPM) (27 June 2011) and expansion into the US (8 February 2010).

He is also credited with taking a lead role on the firm’s transformative merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) (8 August 2011), a move that led to the firm’s accelerated international expansion strategy (24 October 2011). Most recently Clydes planted a flag in Libya (12 August 2012).

Michael Payton
Michael Payton

Burns said: “My goal is to build on the success the firm has achieved during Michael Payton’s tenure as leader. We now have a firm of some considerable scale to manage and significant further potential to realise.

“Together with the global management board and our management team, my intent is to provide the continuity, stability and strong leadership that has characterised the firm’s management approach over many years.”

Board member Simon Konsta, who was at one point believed to be in contention for the senior partner role, said: “I’ve known James for many years and he has my full support. It’s a testament to James’s contribution to and standing in the firm that he’s been elected and I’ve no doubt that he will continue to build on the success that the firm has achieved.”

Payton will stand down after 28 years at the helm (30 November 2012).