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Linklaters' management board has selected 45-year-old head of tax Tony Angel as its new managing partner to replace Terence Kyle.
Angel emerged as the favoured candidate over the other front-runner - litigation partner Diana Good - after the management board took partnership soundings last week. There was no vote.
His appointment is a vote of confidence in Linklaters & Alliance, the firm's new pan-European venture, since Angel devised the plan to create it. Kyle then led negotiations with the continental firms that were joining it.
As managing partner, he will have a seat on the international board of Linklaters & Alliance, along with his opposite numbers from Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands.
A Linklaters partner for 14 years and head of tax for four years, colleagues described him variously as "coolly intellectual" and a "calm and subtle negotiator".
He will be something of a contrast to the abrasive Kyle.
He told The Lawyer: "I am hugely optimistic but aware of the enormous challenges ahead."
He said that his aim was to build on the firm's world-leading global finance practice and to become a major player in M&A across Europe through Linklaters & Alliance.
Linklaters' senior partner Charles Allen-Jones said: "I can think of no more important time in the recent history of the firm for someone to take over this role."