Nabarro is gearing up for its first managing partner elections in 15 years, three years after the board appointed incumbent Andrew Inkester in 2011.
Three years after being nominated by senior partner Simon Johnston for the managing partner job, Inkester is understood to be preparing to put forward his candidacy for a second term in coming months.
He is expected to face the revamped nominations and voting process system in July. Partners in the firm will be allowed to nominate candidates and the vote will be conducted on a one member one vote basis. It will be his first election since being put in place after taking up the role from longstanding chief Nicky Paradise, who spent 12 years in the top job (29 July 2011).
It will also be the first vote since the firm re-wrote its constitution last year after senior partner Graham Stedman’s proposed that his term be reduced and brought into line with that of the managing partner. Previously senior partners were elected for five years and managing partners stayed in the role for three. Both will now last for four years (24 October 2012).
The election process will now also be run in the same way for both senior and managing partners, with a date set for partners to make nominations, then hustings and a final vote. However many expect it to be an uncontested vote.
One source said: “Obviously it’s open to anyone to put their hat in the ring but personally I’d be surprised if anyone went for it, everyone seems very happy and isn’t reason for any change.”
Another said that the firm’s imminent move to 125 London Wall meant the firm was looking for consistency in its leadership. The firm will up sticks in November, leaving its Theobald’s Road base for a new City headquarters (21 December 2012).
Sources described Inkester as a prudent manager who has steered the firm through a difficult financial period. Over the past three years he has overseen a dramatic cut to the firm’s partner total, taking it from 120 partners in 2011 to a low of 104 last year in a bid to boost profit per equity partner (28 May 2012).
The firm posted an unaudited revenue figure of £113.2m in 2011-12, less than one per cent up on its previous year figure of £112.6m but restructuring paid off, with a 4.4 per cent boost to profit per equity partner of 4.4 per cent, from £318,000 to £332,000 (10 July 2012). However the firm was still struggling to reach the heady days of 2007-08 when it hit a PEP high of £600,000.
That changed last year when the firm saw a dramatic uptick in growth across the board, with revenue climbing from £112.6m in 2010-11 up to £117.3m in 2014 and PEP soaring 31 per cent to £635,000, up from £486,000 (6 January 2014).
A source said: ”Andrew has made sure we are careful and cautious with expenture, you do see firms who have had difficulties financially and overextended.”
Others agreed that the firm’s recent financial performance meant he was a popular leader. One said: “I would be surprised if he didn’t stand again and I would think it would be uncontested. I would think the partnership as a whole would support him if he stood for it.”
Another source said: “I think he’s done a very good job and I think he came in at a challenging time economically, along with the office move these are all time consuming issues in terms of making sure a business is in good shape.”
Inkester has also overseen the firm’s most recent launch in Dubai, its third international opening after Brussels and Singapore. That followed the hire of international head Patricia Godfrey to spearhead its international strategy (21 November 2013).
A sources said: “I happen to think he’s done a good job. I think he’s done a good job. Within a week of him taking over he’d walked the floor and spoken to nearly every partner, there has always been a good dialogue between him partners right across the equity.”
However another source said: “There are a large number of partners who think why would we want to change things now but there might be another group who say ’we’re having a new start and now is the time to bring someone with new ideas in’.”