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Gray criticised for corporate hard line; balance shifts towards Brown in election
Huge rifts are emerging between the personal styles of Eversheds' two managing partner candidates, following the close of nominations. David Gray and Michael Brown, the two remaining candidates in the race, had to secure 10 nominations each. The identity of each nominator carries huge political importance and is seen as a key way of carrying support among Eversheds' 180 equity partners prior to the 2 October election. Leeds and Manchester managing partner David Gray is so far carrying significant support in his own practice area of corporate. His nominators are understood to include Birmingham head of corporate Peter McHugh, Norwich-based corporate partner Terry Gould, Norwich-based corporate finance and banking partner Andrew Croome and sector group leader for property development Stephen Sorrell. However, Gray is not supported by national head of corporate Martin Issitt. One source said: "What David Gray has done is go to the corporate partners and say, 'I'm a corporate lawyer, back me; we need to be a corporate-led firm'. A number of corporate heads of department have nominated him, although the national head of corporate isn't backing him." Another source added: "The corporate ticket is a double-edged sword." However, others talked about Gray's efforts to be "all things to all people". London managing partner Brown is understood to have been nominated by partners from a number of key management roles, including the majority of its seven practice group leaders. They are understood to be Issitt (corporate), David Vokes (commoditised services), Kevin Doolan (e-strategy and sector group head for banking and financial services), Cornelius Medvei (property) and Viv Du-Feu (employment). In addition, he is supported by Birmingham senior and managing partners Adrian Bland and Meg Heppel, London corporate partner Aleen Gulvanessian, financial services product group head Pamela Thomson. The biggest identifiable difference to emerge between Gray and Brown so far is in their personal styles. Brown is seen as more inclusive, while Gray is seen as more single-minded and less consultative.