The pair went head to head to succeed Jason Fox in the position as three practice group leader roles came up for election (20 January 2010).
Hitching said a main focus for him in the role would be to bring the firm’s international banking practices closer together.
“To me the absolute key is to maximise all the opportunities we’ve currently got,” he said. “We’ve got a fantastic international network and we have to make sure that we cross-sell.
“We’ve got to play to our strengths. Energy is a real strenth: we’re the leading European and Asian energy firm, but why aren’t we the leading European and Asian energy finance firm?”
“There are all sorts of opportunities there for us, even in difficult markets.”
Global disputes head Sonya Leydecker, who stood unopposed, has been reelected for a second term while James Palmer will succeed Michael Walter as corporate head. Palmer stood unopposed.
Palmer will work alongside London partner Patrick Mitchell, who has been elected to the newly created role of global managing partner of corporate.
All positions are effective as of the 1 May.
Outgoing senior partner David Gold, who will be succeeded by Jonathan Scott in May said in a statement: “With Ian Cox continuing as global head of real estate, and the four division heads
working closely with Jonathan Scott and [managing partner] David Willis, Herbert Smith can look forward to the sort of strong leadership essential for the future successful development of the firm.”
Scott won the race to become senior partner in December, beating off competition from CIS head Allen Hanen and litigation partner Tim Parkes (18 December 2009).