CC revs up for the Layton age

‘Safe pair of hands’ Layton to lead Clifford Chance to a future of business-as-usual

Three little piggies went to the Clifford Chance management elections. One didn’t think he’d win but wanted to stir things up, one was charming and smooth, and the other ran all the way home.

Global corporate head Matthew Layton might have wanted to run home as the process got under way, but he won in the end, beating Paris chief Yves Wehrli and real estate finance partner Andrew Carnegie to become managing partner.

Let’s be honest, Layton seemed a shoo-in from the get-go, following the same path as incumbent David Childs from corporate head to managing partner. But that assumption could be dangerous.

“There was a concern people might assume it was a slam dunk,” says a source, “there was more chasing up of people to make sure they voted.”

The process certainly was not boring, with Carnegie stepping in to spice up the process and agreeing with Layton’s plan to slash the management committee.

Layton mooted a nine-strong committee while Carnegie wanted to cut it by 10 and get rid of the salaried partner band. The idea was well-received and partners were not overtly aggressive about plans to shift to an all-equity partnership (nothing has been agreed yet). 

“Most London partners and management thought everyone should be in the equity,” says a source.

Don’t expect too much change. Sources say Layton is a “safe pair of hands” and it’s business as usual. Now watch this space for his replacement as global corp boss.