Charles Russell heralds new chief and extra office

Charles Russell heralds new chief and extra office” />Mid-size London firm Charles Russell is gearing up for a change of management as it opens a satellite West End office as part of a strategy to boost the private client department.

Managing partner Grant Howell is stepping down at the end of April after eight years in the job to return to fee-earning work in the family department. His replacement, James Holder, was voted in unanimously.

Howell, who joined Charles Russell as a partner in 1990, said: “I’ve enjoyed it. I’m pleased we’ve been able to improve our figures and I’m delighted we’ve done it in the context of maintaining the culture of the firm.”

In a separate development, the firm is launching an office in Mayfair, which will be headed by property acquisition consultant Richard Crosthwaite, who was formerly head of Knight Frank’s West End business. He will be advising Charles Russell’s private clients on property portfolio issues and will work with the firm’s head of private property Ian Cooke. Two private client and estate planning assistants are also set to relocate to the West End as part of the firm’s push into this market.

Holder, who was previously head of the corporate practice, said he did not foresee any strategic changes. “We’ll continue in much the same way as we have been,” he said. “The expansion’s come from opportunities that have come to us; we haven’t been expanding for the sake of it at all.”

In the past two years Charles Russell has opened in Oxford and Cambridge to add to its offices in Cheltenham and Guildford. It has also applied for a licence to open a representative office in Bahrain to support its commercial, telecoms and private client practices.