Tony Hennessy's North East to North West move sees him take up the challenge of leading Halliwells' burgeoning corporate tax practice.
Hennessy said: “Part of the attraction of the move was the opportunity to build a practice. Halliwells operates in a bigger marketplace than Dickinson Dees so there is much more scope for growth.”
Hennessy launched his department at Dickinson Dees nine years ago, and created the leading corporate tax practice in the North East.
Halliwells head of corporate Mark Halliwell said: “We're looking forward to him repeating the success he has had with Dickinson Dees here at Halliwells. This is a very significant appointment. Tony's reputation for corporate tax work is second to none.”
Halliwell emphasised that corporate tax was not a new area for the firm. However, compared with the private client taxation team, corporate is the tax practice's poor relation. Hennessy joins three corporate tax lawyers.
“We want to build up the corporate side. That is the thinking behind the appointment – we needed someone to head it up”
Mark Halliwell, Halliwell Landau
Halliwell said: “I think we have the strongest overall tax team in the North of England. We want to build up the corporate side. That's the thinking behind the appointment – going forward, we needed someone to head it up.”
Halliwells had been seeking the right person for some time. Hennessy, a barrister, is unable to join as a partner. During his tenure at Dickinson Dees, Hennessy specialised in the tax aspects of corporate finance transactions and corporate reorganisations, stamp duty planning and share schemes.
His recent work includes advising the Go-Ahead Group on the tax aspects of its acquisition of British Midland's ground-handling business. Hennessy was reluctant to discuss whether clients would follow him to Halliwells.
Partner Jeremy Smith has stepped into Hennessy's shoes at Dickinson Dees. He now heads the corporate tax practice. Smith moved to the North East two years ago from Norton Rose.
Dickinson Dees senior partner Graham White said: “The strength of the highly-rated Dickinson Dees corporate tax team, under the leadership now of partner Jeremy Smith, is due in no little part to Tony's efforts during his years in Newcastle. All here wish him well in Manchester.”
Halliwells has been increasingly acquisitive this year. A series of lateral hires involved the firm taking two teams from Weightmans last month and luring a number of partners from regional rivals and City firms.