Honeyman Brown:Alsops' merger mastermind

When Christopher Honeyman Brown was appointed chief executive of Liverpool-based Alsop Wilkinson five months ago, he vowed to leave no stone unturned in his review of operations.

But there were few who could have foreseen that within four months he would be arranging the details for what amounts to a takeover.

In the Dibb Lupton Broomhead “merger” with Alsops, all the senior staff of Dibbs will be in charge, Nigel Knowles will be managing partner, with Robin Smith as senior partner. Alsops' chairman, Roger Lane-Smith, will be Robin Smith's deputy.

Honeyman Brown will be responsible to Nigel Knowles but without a title. “Who needs a title? I'm entirely happy with that,” he said. “I shall have a role immediately focused on integrating the two businesses, which is absolutely vital to the future of the firm.”

There is an alternative explanation for his happiness. It is believed that when he joined on 1 April last year he negotiated a lucrative long-notice contract which will be difficult for the merged firm to extract itself from.

He says the merger achieves in one blow what he had set out to do in three years: become one of the leading firms in the north.

“We thought we would have to merge with one firm in the North West, one in East Yorkshire and one in London. It's only one now.”

Alsops will adopt Dibbs' management structure with practice groups that will identify and target particular legal markets.

“Dibbs is operating as one firm through out its business,” summarised Honeyman Brown. “That is what we wanted. I'm absolutely delighted, it's like having won the pools.”