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CMS Cameron McKenna's Robert Derry-Evans is stepping down as chief executive of the UK practice to become executive partner at the CMS international network to spearhead its launch as an integrated law firm.
The move underlines CMS's drive to bring together the various practices across Europe and coincides with the network's push into Spain, where it is understood to be in talks with 26-partner Roca Junyent.
Derry-Evans has been charged with transforming CMS into a single firm and kick-starting what will be a gradual profit-sharing process between the CMS firms in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.
"We want CMS to be seen as one firm," said Derry-Evans. "Profit-sharing is a goal, but it's a very long way off. We have to put all the other groundwork in first."
Derry-Evans would not comment on the discussions with Roca, but The Lawyer understands that after hunting for a Spanish member for over a year, CMS is now not talking to any other firms.
Derry-Evans' role at Camerons will not be filled, leaving managing partner Richard Tyler and senior partner Richard Price to take over his duties.
Derry-Evans replaces CMS head Pieter Van Dalen, a non-lawyer who held an administrative role setting up common policies and systems for the network.
He will relocate almost permanently to Brussels, where the network's headquarters are based.
In a separate move, CMS chairman Richard Taylor, also a partner at Camerons, is stepping down in June to be replaced by CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre partner Pierre Sébastien Thill.