KWM Europe and Middle East MP Boss to step down one year early

King & Wood Mallesons Europe and Middle East managing partner William Boss will step down from the role, resigning one year before his term officially ends in May 2017.

Boss will remain in the role until the end of the financial year in April while a replacement is found.

He took on the position in May 2015 after being appointed to the role one month previously.

A spokesperson for the firm revealed he will rejoin the firm’s real estate group, stepping into the role of client relationship partner for many of KWM’s clients. His previous clients include Marks & Spencer, Terra Firma, the Crown Estate and Southgate Limited Partnership.

Boss is a longstanding legacy SJ Berwin partner and became co-head of the London real estate group in 2013 as the UK firm aligned its management structure with that of its Chinese merger partner. He took over as managing partner from then SJ Berwin boss Rob Day following the merger.

Following news of Boss’s resignation, KWM senior partner Stephen Kon said: “In his management role, William has made a tremendous contribution to the development of our practice in Europe and the Middle East and his return to full time practice will allow him to focus on delivering first class client service to some of the firm’s key clients. The European board would, of course, like to thank William for his management contribution to date. The firm’s process to appoint a replacement for William has already commenced.”

KWM’s next managing partner for UK, Europe and the Middle East will be voted in at the next partnership conference in February, The Lawyer understands.

Boss said: “Our business is going through an exciting period of significant change as we adapt to ensure that we are best placed to meet the needs of our clients, who themselves are operating in a dynamic marketplace. I am pleased to have been part of that process. I am looking forward to now returning to full time practice to continue working with some of our key clients.”

The combined firm has undergone a long process of integration since the merger with SJ Berwin in the UK in October 2013. The Swiss Verein network has more than 2,700 lawyers in 30 locations.

The firm’s recent decision to trim almost 10 per cent of its equity partnershipin London, less than two years into its combination, combined with a raft of ‘big hitter’ exits from its traditionally strong disputes and private equity practices has led many to question the success of the firm’s Sino-Anglo integration so far.

KWM management embarked on a “partnership review” earlier this year, with around 15 partners understood to be leaving the firm with immediate effect. On top of that, the firm has lost a string of partners from its London office so far this year, including Gregg Beechey for Fried Frank, Simon Fulbrook to Goodwin Procter, Richard Lever to Goodwin Procter, and Alex Leitch to Covington & Burling.

It also picked up 15 lateral hires, including Laura Brunnen from Fried Frank,three projects partners from Linklaters, and nine real estate and commerce partners and associates from Eversheds.