Last Friday, the partners of offshore firm Maples and Calder converged on the Cayman Islands.
The result was a change in leadership at the firm and the spark of a story that blew like wildfire across the Caribbean, to the Channel Islands and other offshore regions beyond.
Co-managing partners Charles Jennings and Julian Reddyhough were - according to a source close to the process - voted out and replaced by Henry Smith, who is now the firm’s global managing partner (see story).
This is big news from a small island.
Maples won’t comment on the partner vote, but the abrupt management switch has taken the offshore world by surprise because it’s the second change at the top in two years for the firm.
Jennings and Reddyhough replaced Tony Travers, the ‘big personality’ who forged Maples into the largest offshore firm in the world in terms of lawyer numbers.
Travers has retired. Now so have Jennings and Reddyhough, who had continued to oversee Maples’ expansion into new markets.
The official line from Maples is that although the pair has stood down from management and left the firm completely, this is “nothing unusual” at all.
On that at least, we respectfully beg to differ.
By contrast, Clifford Chance and Ashurst have opted for the status quo. As we report today, David Childs and Simon Bromwich have been reconfirmed as managing partners at their respective firms.