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New international board loses two places after De Brauw votes against merger
Linklaters has concluded the structure of a new international governance board mandated to hold the firm's management to account and improve communication to and from the centre. At the last minute, the number of elected places on the board had to be cut following De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek's surprise vote against merging with Linklaters (The Lawyer, 15 April). The 16 elected places have now been cut to 14: six will come from the UK, two from Germany, one from France, one from Sweden, one from Belgium and Luxembourg, one from Asia, one from Central and Eastern Europe and one from the Americas. Each constituency has nominated three candidates per place on which the firm as a whole will shortly be voting. Linklaters senior partner Anthony Cann and managing partner Tony Angel will both sit on the board, as will Linklaters Oppenhoff & Rädler vice chairman Michael Oppenhoff. The new international board is set to replace the old unelected international policy committee set up in the early days of the alliance. The new structure is a significant step, not least because Linklaters has been plagued by criticism of its undemocratic London-centric approach to running the merged firm. Angel and Cann told The Lawyer that the aim of the new structure was to increase the involvement and participation of partners in the firm's governance and reflect the multinational nature of the firm. Management will be entrusted to an executive management team that will include global practice heads and regional managing partners. Angel said of the new board: "It will be the supreme body in the firm. It is to the board that management reports, so I, as firmwide managing partner, am responsible to that board. "It offers you something in between having to go to the partnership as a whole. I hope that they'll be rigorous." The management looked at a number of different models, both inside and outside the legal sector, before settling on the new structure. Cann said: "As a firm that has just come together following mergers, we were desperately keen to get enough representation from the different areas. Not only is the international board going to decide important things and hold management to account, it's also an important means of communication to and from the centre." The next challenge for Linklaters is to appoint its new global practice heads. There are currently no Continental partners in these key strategic positions.