Linklaters confirms Davies: his first interview

Asia chief Simon Davies has officially become the victor of the Linklaters’ fiercely fought managing partner battle.

Davies won the top job after the magic circle firm’s 500-plus partners voted for him earlier this week following a recommendation from the firm’s international board.

In his first interview since the announcement was made this morning, Davies exclusively told The Lawyer of his delight at taking over from Tony Angel in January 2008, who he feels has done “a terrific job”.

Davies, who becomes the magic circle firm’s youngest-ever managing partner at the age of 39, wants to continue on the success that Linklaters has enjoyed under Angel’s tenure.

“I want to ensure we continue to provide our high level of service to our clients and ensure our people have the opportunity to grow and develop within the firm,” said Davies.

The overall strategy for Linklaters, however, will not change, explained Davies. “I’ve been a member of excom (the firm’s executive committee) for many years and have had much input into the current strategy of being market leaders.”

It is this effort to lead the market that has led Linklaters on its recent hiring spree, with the likes of young private equity star Ian Bagshaw from Clifford Chance joining the firm.

“The hires are mainly down to listening to what our clients have asked for, but what is also crucial is bringing on our own people and allowing the firm to grow organically, which is why Linklaters has been such as success.”

When the race for the top job kicked off last year, five names were mooted as the potential successor to Angel. Commercial head Christopher Style and corporate partner Jeremy Parr were the first of the contenders to fall by the wayside.

Eastwell and Tucker were seen as joint favourites from the outset, with Davies only having an outside chance to take the crown, as many partners saw him as an unknown quantity, having spent much of his time in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The turning point for Davies, however, as first revealed by The Lawyer, was when he won the support of senior partner David Cheyne who was thought to have initially favoured Eastwell.