Frontrunners emerge for Clyde & Co senior partner role

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  • Several people have wanted this job for a while. Will the losers stay or fracture off ?

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  • In many ways the hardest act to follow given the relative success of Clydes and the distinctive culture (which doesn't appeal to all of course but one would hope is bought into by the current partnership). Arguably Clydes will face some of its toughest challenges to come given the margin pressure on insurance work, threat from volume players particularly for its out of London operations which are now significant, and the limitations that come from a relatively highly geared balance sheet. Whoever succeeds will need to be strategically minded and capable of working closely with Peter Hasson - who has the right business skills and spots when others are lacking the same.

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  • This is a genuinely difficult situation for Clydes. How do you replace a leader of Payton's stature? Burns is a nice bloke but he does not have sufficient charisma or leadership experience to run the firm, and Hasson has even less. The thought of those two after Payton is like waiting for Val Doonican to follow Beyonce. It may hurt them to face it but Clydes only has one person available with the requisite charisma: Konsta. It's Konsta's to lose.

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  • The best option for Clydes right now would be a 'merger' with the likes of DLA or Norton Rose. This would provide them with a management team that really understood what is needed to run a large international law firm and to get beyond static profitability. There is no one in the management team at Clydes who is able to deliver this.

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  • As usual the legal press have been completely duped. The senior partner position is meaningless in a firm where absolute executive power is in the hands of Hassan. It really doesn't matter who is senior partner: they will have to do their Master's bidding! Don't be fooled that Payton ever stood up to him. It is a complete irrelevance.

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  • Whoever comes in as senior partner needs to have a complete clean sweep of the management. Hassan and his hoardes of support staff are killing the firm's profits.

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  • One person who no one seems to speak of as a potential senior partner but who would be ideal for the role and the people's favourite is Kevin Bitmead. He knows the London market inside out and is a brilliant speaker.

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  • At last a comment with some common sense thinking behind it. Konsta/Kosta may have the SP form albeit with an outcome not universally respected but Bitmead is no bit player. He is well respected across the market for his ability to angle service to what clients are really looking for. He fillets out the unncessary work that inflates bills and creates a rod for most firm's backs. The net result is someone who has a line into where Clydes should be casting its future and a dab hand at reeling in the prize client catches. Many will be awiting his candidature with baited breath.

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  • What a good idea. At a time when Clydes' business model in the UK is shifting more towards lower priced / higher volume claims now accessible through Manchester and Oxford, what better than to have a seasoned practitioner at the helm in the form of Kevin Bitmead. It may also help stem the flow of former BLG partners once the lock-ins have ended.

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  • Although most commentators are carping on about Konsta's suitability he could flounder when it comes to gaining support from legacy grouper Clydes partners despite having sat on the BLG perch. There's def a plaice for Bitmead now that Clydes are fishing in provincial waters.

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  • Kev's a good guy who has done very well in his sector of the market but as an SP of a major international law firm? Not sure he'd be up for it in any event.
    Surely it has to be a Clydes partner this time round.

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  • That last comment speaks volumes about the status of BLG partners in the 'merged' firm.

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  • Strong leadership can trump problematic strategic issues such as integrating lower rated work into the system and bringing on overseas offices as yet unused to the colour based "my file not your file" culture ...and at the same time tackle the borrowings issue. There's no easy substitute for Payton who built an empire that the likes of Khan, Rome or the Ottoman's would be proud of. Those traits are rarely seen in the western world today.

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  • Kev IS a Clydes' partner. This is what is known as the 'merged firm'!

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  • It should be an ex-BLG partner for balance. Since Hassan has absolute control of everything, BLG partners have no influence whatsoever. It would give a good signal to have an ex-BLG partner. Clydes needs a fresh start. The obvious person for SP is Sarah Clover. Sarah is by some way the most valuable partner in the London office. What a great signal of change it would give. I may be wrong but I believe - and this is incredible - that every single member of Clydes' very large board is a white male in their 40's and 50's. They are completely out of touch with the firm.

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  • Sarah would redress the image problem the firm has of being on the aggressive side and lacking the team spirit that she has in spades.But outside of Professional Indemnity is she well known enough across the market and does she have experience outside of London - aside from her knowledge of HK of course? That would also allow Richard Harrison some management headroom.

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  • That makes a lot of sense. The only way you follow someone like Michael Payton is by doing something very different.

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  • Doing something different will be essential if this firm is to be viable beyond its recent spate of expansions. The growing balance sheet needs feeding and the insurance market won't be the easiest larder to rely on going forwards. Unless Clydes can diversify (including shedding its silverback persona) into non-insurance areas with more success and somehow extract itself from the less remunerative prizes obtained through the BLG blag, it will increasingly become vulnerable to breakaways lead by partners and teams looking for the levels of profitability that their specialisms merit and which will be diluted by the less profitable practices and expanding central overheads - including property costs both new and residue. Peter Hasson will know this but whether he will be able to team up with a similarly enlightened Senior Partner remains to be seen.

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  • The last comment is right on the money. You get the feeling that there is no real strategy on insurance or anything else. Why would commodities/energy lawyers want to work in a firm that does road traffic cases? Hassan has had long enough to formulate a strategy: he needs to show whether he has vision or is just a paperclip counter.

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  • What must be depressing to the candidates is that Michael Payton has not even gone and already people are tearing themselves apart. His presence was talismanic. Should he reconsider his departure date until a Tony Angel style person can be found from outside?

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