A&O Italy’s dual management in doubt

Allen & Overy’s (A&O) volatile Italian operation could be on the verge of another strategic shake-up as local lawyers push for the firm to abandon its dual management structure.

The magic circle firm is currently engaged in a partner-wide consultation process to measure the success of a management reorganisation implemented last August.

At that point Rome managing partner Massimiliano Danusso and European managing partner Stephen Denyer were both appointed to the Italian managing partner role.

However, it is now understood that lawyers in the region want to abandon the joint position in favour of a single Italian leader.

Joint leadership was introduced in a bid to foster integration between A&O’s Milan, Rome and Turin offices. The results of the consultation, which is being led by Italian partners Mario Colombatto and Roberto Donnini, are likely to be discussed at the firm’s partnership meeting, scheduled for September.

Earlier this year the firm lost corporate rainmaker Roberto Cassati to US firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Cassati’s head of corporate role was taken by Paolo Cerino.

Just last month A&O sought to boost its Rome-based banking practice by transferring Milan-based project finance partner Catia Tomasetti.

The relocation occurred a year after banking partner Riccardo Sallustio left A&O for leading Italian independent Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, leaving the magic circle firm with no banking capability in Rome.