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Hammond Suddards Edge has announced the partnership retirement of Birmingham office head James Retallack as he plans to take up a new role on the board of longstanding client Aggregate Industries.
Retallack was senior partner of Edge Ellison from 1998 and played an integral role in the August 2000 merger to create Hammond Suddards Edge. Since then, he has been head of the Birmingham office and a member of the partnership board. He will remain a consultant to the firm after his retirement in November and will replace Aggregate's current director of group resources, who is retiring in December. Retallack described his move to the building materials group as a major career change. He said: "This is principally a human resources role. I'm not going to be the in-house lawyer, but I will, as part of my role, have overall responsibility for relationships with lawyers. "If I was going to continue to be a lawyer, I'd stay here. This is probably the most silly time to leave, given how successful the merger is and how well it's going, but it's because of that success that I'm able to take this opportunity." Aggregate does not have an inhouse legal function, and Retallack said that he has no plans to introduce one. The company's other principal adviser is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Chris Jones, managing partner of Hammonds, said: "We're naturally sorry to lose James, but we're genuinely delighted that he's been offered this opportunity by one of our clients and will therefore continue a relationship with the firm." As a consultant, Retallack will maintain relationships with a number of other key clients. Jones said: "James has got some very key relationships with some important clients of the firm; and as someone who's been senior partner of a major law firm, he has lots of experience and lots to contribute to the ongoing international debate." The Birmingham partners are now in the process of nominating candidates to replace Retallack as head of the office. They will vote in the next three weeks. John Heller, senior partner of Hammond Suddards Edge, is stepping down to become the firm's first head of international.