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US firm Dechert will restructure its leadership after announcing that long-term chair and chief executive Bart Winokur will stand down next year.
The firm will split the leadership role and is gearing up for a transition that will see private equity chair Daniel O’Donnell become vice-chairman and chief executive-elect while litigation partner Andrew Levander will take up the role of chairman-elect.
The transition will be completed by the middle of next year when O’Donnell will become CEO and Levander will be named chairman. Winokur, who has been in the top job for the last 14 years, will continue practising as a full-time corporate partner after he stands down as chair.
During his time in the leadership role Winokur, who joined the firm in 1965, oversaw a period of global expansion that saw the firm open offices in Moscow, Beijing and Hong Kong. He was re-elected unopposed for his fifth successive term as chairman in July 2004 (5 July 2004).
Corporate partner O’Donnell has worked with the firm since arriving as a trainee in 1976, while litigator and former assistant US attorney Levander joined the firm in 2005 from Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman.
New York-based Levander, who will become the first chairman based outside the firm’s Philadelphia headquarters, said: “Under Bart, Dechert’s grown from a primarily regional firm to a top-tier, international firm. We all recognise that he’s led us on this path to success. I’m certain we’re on the right course and I’m grateful for the confidence placed in me by our partners.”
O’Donnell acknowledged Winokur’s role in leading the firm through “an economic downturn that has rattled the legal industry”.