Hugh Crisp will step down as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's chief executive soon after the senior partner election, despite being asked by all six candidates to continue in the role.
Crisp told The Lawyer: "I would happily have worked with any of the candidates or any combination of them."
Butdue to family reasons, Crisp is understood to have felt unable to give a long-term commitment to the role, as first revealed on www.thelawyer.com last Friday (14 October).
Joint senior partner Anthony Salz said: "We are extremely sorry that Hugh is not going to continue as chief executive but fully understand his reasons."
Crisp was named chief executive in late 2003, succeeding former managing partner Alan Peck. His successor will be appointed by the senior partner or partners of the firm towards the end of the year.
Crisp's decision to resign will mean a wholesale change of power at the top of the magic circle firm, which is undergoing its first contested management election for several years against a background of partnership restructuring.
The management election was triggered by joint senior partner Anthony Salz's decision to retire from the partnership at the end of the year.
Salz said: "Transition can be a bit scary but I'm confident we have the quality and the people to make an enormous success of it."