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Hammond Suddards Edge has elected its national head of corporate finance as London managing partner and the hunt to find his successor is underway.
Richard Burns takes over the role from Gary Watson who left the firm to join Ashurst Morris Crisp's property department (The Lawyer, 13 November).
Burns took over the role with immediate effect on 23 November after he stood uncontested for the position after two other potential candidates, corporate partners David Baylis and Evan Stergoulis, decided to back his bid for the post.
Burns' election leaves a vacancy for the position of national head of corporate finance. Burns says: "We will, during the next six months to a year, address the issue of succession so we can move a new head of corporate into position."
The corporate finance practice is split both geographically and through different practice areas. The three discipline leaders are David Baylis for private equity, Simon Gordon for M&A and Giles Beale for investment banking.
In London, Nick Allen is the head of corporate finance, Paul Cliff leads the Birmingham practice area and Stephen Levy and Ian Greenfield head the Manchester and Leeds units respectively.
Hammonds' managing partner Chris Jones says that Burns will concentrate on raising the City profile of the firm, which has a 110-strong corporate finance department.
Gil Hayward, a member of the firm's committee, will work closely with Burns on the internal workings of the firm.
Burns is widely credited for putting Hammonds on the map in Manchester when he opened the office in 1993.
One City source says: "Richard came down from Manchester with a mandate to do with the London corporate finance department what he did with the northern office. The success of the Manchester office is due in no small part to Richard."