Eversheds is attempting to join the City private equity race as it relocates its Leeds head of corporate to head its London department.
Ian Richardson, who was head of corporate at Eversheds' Leeds office for 18 months, is relocating to London with two associates to shore up the two-partner City private equity group.
He will also be responsible for building up the firm's private equity client base in its French and Dutch offices, as well as being responsible for integrating the recently established alliance with Hong Kong firm Khattar Wong & Partners (The Lawyer, 24 July).
At present, the firm's clients include Royal Bank Development Capital, 3i and Lloyds Development Capital, all of which are serviced by London-based corporate partners Keir Barrie and Iain Young.
Richardson says that the firm would like to expand the business and compete for some of the larger private equity clients, although he says the main priority at the moment is to effectively service Eversheds' existing clients.
Richardson says: "We're reasonably ambitious in that we're going to try to build it up here, but there are some of the larger funds that try to work with the more established players.
"But we'll certainly do our best, and we'll work on our commitment to get people to come and use the firm."
Managing partner at Eversheds David Ansbro says: "I'd identified a need for someone to do this in London because of our expansion and the integration of the firm.
"Private equity work is becoming more European, which is something we have to reflect here. If we're to follow our clients, we need a European network."
An integrated strategy will enable the firm to fill the void which was left by the departure of Newcastle-based head of private equity Helen Tavorges, who left Eversheds in June to join Dickinson Dees. Tavorges was subsequently replaced by Lucy Winskell.
And just one month before that, her deputy Kristin Andersen left to set up his own practice.
Robin Skelton, a six-year qualified who has been made up to partner, has moved from the Manchester office to take over as head of the firm's private equity work in Leeds.
The firm recently acted for HSBC Private Equity on a £442m buyout of Caradon's plumbing division.
In one of the largest transactions to be funded out of the North West, the firm's team, led by corporate partner Edward Pysden and department head Daniel Hall, worked alongside Ernst & Young and JP Morgan, which also advised HSBC.
Caradon was advised by Freshfields and Credit Suisse First Boston.