Lovells Europe head challenges Harris as leader

Lovells Europe head challenges Harris as leaderLovells’ Continental Europe managing partner Harald Seisler is to stand against managing partner David Harris in the firm’s upcoming management elections.

Frankfurt-based litigation partner Seisler (pictured), whose practice is focused on company and commercial law, fraud and asset tracing, has been a member of the firm’s international executive since 2000. In 2005 the firm merged its regional managing partner roles for Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Germany into one with Seisler taking on the single position.

Seisler’s name has been thrown into the ring following a pre-nomination process that is designed to identify likely candidates. A formal nomination process is ongoing and due to end on 25 September. The election process is being run by senior partner John Young with the result due to be announced at the firm’s partner conference in November.

Harris’s current tenure is due to finish at the end of April next year. Whoever wins the election will take up the post on 1 May 2009.

Sources at the firm said they are hoping the election campaigns can be run as smoothly as possible, with memories of the last disruptive election still fresh. Former finance head Harris succeeded Lesley MacDonagh in 2005 after a contested election that pitted Harris against commercial head Andrew Skipper and competition head John Pheasant.

There is also concern among partners that the election contest could create divisions between the UK and Germany. Seisler, who is known for his direct style, became a Lovells partner in 2000 following the merger between Lovells White Durrant and Boesebeck Droste. It is expected that he will win the support of many partners in the German offices while Harris remains well regarded in the UK.

If Seisler wins the election it is expected that he will relocate to the firm’s London headquarters.