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ALLEN & Overy insolvency lawyer Gordon Stewart is the first ever lawyer-president of the Society of Practitioners of Insolvency.
Stewart takes over from Colin Bird, a partner at accountants Price Waterhouse, who stood down earlier this month.
Stewart said: "My appointment as the first non-accountant president illustrates the broad church that SPI has become and shows that it has achieved its objective of uniting the insolvency profession."
His most recent cases in the field have included advising the administrators of Coal Investments and the receivers of Pentos. He also advised on the administration of the Maxwell private companies.
Stewart added: "An exciting year is in prospect. The Labour Party is talking about legislation in the insolvency field if it forms the next government while the current government has published further discussion documents which may lead to a new law. All this has implications for the rescue culture that is so important for British business."
Stewart is the solicitor-member of the Lord Chancellor's Insolvency Rules committee as well as being joint chair of the Law Society's insolvency law sub-committee with Mrs Justice Arden.
He was also a member of the Department of Trade and Industry's working party on reform of the law applying to corporate voluntary arrangements.