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Lovells' Italian private equity head Andrea Accornero will leave the firm at the end of the month to join Simmons & Simmons' Milan office.
Accornero, whose practice focuses on private equity as well as general M&A, will be replaced as private equity head by Italy senior partner Leah Dunlop.
Lovells managing partner David Harris (pictured) said: "Our Italian private equity and corporate practice is in very good shape following significant investment over the last year. We have had a good flow of transactional work in Italy and have just advised on a €1bn (£800m) sovereign fund investment in Sintonia, the Benetton family infrastructure holding company.
"We have a strong team, having recruited corporate partners Paolo Tanoni and Roberto Culicchi and promoted to partnership Gianroberto de Giovanni and Silvio Tersilla. We're looking to continue that investment over the next financial year."
At Simmons Accornero joins the firm's 11-partner Milan practice, which is headed by managing partner Richard Slater. Slater declined to comment.
Lovells' private equity practice has suffered a number of high-profile losses in the past few years. In 2005 German practice head Oliver Felsenstein defected to Clifford Chance. The following year international private equity head Marco Compagnoni left to join the London office of US firm Weil Gotshal & Manges.
Lovells lost the bulk of its private equity house clients following the departures and, despite hiring Alan Greenough from White & Case and Tom Whelan from DLA Piper, rarely acts for the buy-out house on private equity deals.
That said, the firm said it counts the likes of Warburg Pincus, Cinven, Advent International and The Carlyle Group as its clients.