Former Blake Dawson chair Padbury elected as Ashurst vice chairman

Ashurst partners have voted legacy Blake Dawson chairman Mary Padbury into its vice chair position, just days after litigator Ben Tidswell emerged as the firm’s new chairman (16 October 2013).

Padbury, who currently holds the position of chairman at Ashurst Australia, was first elected into the leading role at Blake Dawson in 2005. She has been hailed as largely responsible for Blake Dawson’s tie up with Ashurst, having been involved in preliminary merger discussions with Ashurst’s current senior partner Charlie Geffen as far back as July 2011.

The two firms voted to tie up in September 2011, with Blake Dawson adoping the name Ashurst Australia from March 2012. A few weeks ago, partners at the firm voted in favour of full financial integration between the merged firms from 1 November 2013 (26 September 2013).

As a result of the combination, Ashurst’s management has been re-jigged seeing Geffen’s senior partner role replaced with a newly-established chairman position. Tidswell was revealed as the first partner to be elected into the position on Wednesday.

Padbury told The Lawyer: “I feel really privileged to be able to negotiate this combination and to work out a way to fit the two firms together. It’s fantastic to be one firm with shared goals.”

She continued: “I have some experience of the Australian part of the business as its chair, and I hope I can bring that experience to bear. I’ve been on the Ashurst board for 12 months, so I’ve got to know Ben and our other colleagues.”

Padbury echoed Tidswell’s plans for the firm’s global strategy, stressing that the firm is seeking to expand its business in Asia-Pacific, and “looking to consolidate in Europe as well”. 

Tidswell commented: “Mary will play a critical role in the firm’s future and I congratulate her on her appointment. Mary’s substantial leadership experience as Chairman of Ashurst Australia combined with her intellect, energy and strategic insight will be invaluable to us as we enter this next stage in our development.”

The Melbourne-based IP partner is the latest addition to Ashurst’s board, which will comprise of 14 elected members. This will consist of Tidswell, Padbury, global managing partner James Collis, four elected legacy LLP partners and three elected legacy Ashurst Australia partners. The line-up will also include Brian Dunlop and David Turner as independent board members, and Robert Gillespie as CFO (29 May 2013).

Elections for the remainder of the board will take place shortly.

The firm’s existing Australia managing partner John Carrington retains his position, while Singapore-based Matthew Bubb continues his role as Asia managing partner.