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Keoghs is repositioning itself along a corporate model as it appoints its first chief executive.
Paul Smith, a chartered accountant, is joining the firm from Buxton-based manufacturing company LeaRonal, where he was also chief executive. He is joining three months after Keoghs underwent a management restructure following the retirement of senior partner Barry Taziker after 30 years at the firm.
The senior partner role was split between David Tyson, who became senior litigation partner, and Alan Robins, who was appointed to senior commercial partner.
Tyson says: "Barry was the senior partner. He attended functions on behalf of the firm but was not involved in the operational side."
The firm has now set up an operating board made up of directors in a number of areas, including IT, human resources and finance.
This board reports to Smith, who then reports on the "strategic vision" of the firm to a management board made up of five partners.