US-based firm Baker & McKenzie is losing its chief operating officer (COO) after just two years.
David Yates is taking up a post as warden of Robinson College at the University of Cambridge and is being replaced as COO by current director of professional development and know-how Peter Smith.
As COO, Smith will be responsible for the strategic direction of the firm and will manage the implementation of major projects. He will divide his time between the firm's London and Chicago offices.
Smith joined Baker & McKenzie three years ago from the Norton Rose M5 alliance of firms, which disbanded in 1998, where he was chief executive.
His new role is a permanent appointment and does not have a fixed term.