Election run looks likely as DWS partner quits consultation group

Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) partner Martin Kitchen has quit the firm’s consultation committee in a bid to avoid conflicts of interest if he stands for the role of chief executive in December’s elections.

Kitchen withdrew from the committee late last month. As first revealed on Lawyer News Weekly (13 October), there were concerns that committee membership could cause a conflict if he stood for election. Although nominations are yet to be finalised, the corporate partner has indicated that he may stand for Virginia Glastonbury’s role.

His withdrawal from the consultation process is the clearest sign yet that Kitchen, who is understood to be a close ally of chairman James Dallas, may throw his hat into the ring.

The consultation committee was launched in September and is designed to take soundings from DWS partners on the firm’s management and leadership. Kitchen was among the non-executive board members overseeing the consultation process when a memo drafted by a senior DWS figure, which was critical of Glastonbury’s management style, was leaked.

The consultation committee now consists of DWS non-executives Rory McAlpine, Adrian Barr-Smith, Stephen Ashworth and external
non-executive Geoffrey Howe.

Kitchen remains on the DWS management board.
The news comes as a growing crowd of early election contenders emerge. Head of finance Howard Morris, head of energy Christopher McGee-Osborne, structured finance expert James Curtis and head of the financial markets practice Robert Finney are all understood to be considering standing.

In a surprise move, head of competition and former Denton Hall managing partner Jonathan Tatten is also said to be pondering a return to management.

The elections are scheduled for early December.