Eversheds 'evolution' spawns new chairman

Eversheds has made its non-executive chairman, Keith James, a full-time executive chairman after 11 months without a full-time boss,

James, in turn, has appointed a management team of three others to handle internal administration, client development and international strategy respectively.

Eversheds announced in April last year, when managing partner Peter Cole moved to head Eversheds separate consulting business, that Keith James would be taking a more “hands-on” role at the firm and would head a new national management committee.

James has spent the intervening months talking to outside consultants, sounding the partnership on possible structures and then ensuring that partners approved of the names he was putting forward for management roles.

Head of property Andrew Latchmore has become managing partner, client services; Ian Jollie, Birmingham managing partner for the past eight years, is now deputy chairman, operations; and former chairman Victor Semmens has been made international director.

It will be Semmens' job to create a stronger international network by linking with firms in the EU, North America and the Far East, ideally under the Eversheds name.

James said that the new management structure had been partly modelled on some of the big six accountancy firms.

He stressed that Eversheds grew by “evolution” rather than revolution and that it never made changes before ensuring the partnership as a whole agreed.

The new team, which will report to a 10-strong partnership council to be elected in the Spring, replaces a cumbersome 14-strong management board comprising of the local managing partners and senior partners of the seven regional offices.

The Lawyer revealed two weeks ago that rival national firm Dibb Lupton Alsop had changed its management structure, appointing an operations partner alongside managing partner Nigel Knowles.