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McDermott Will & Emery has appointed London office managing partner Hugh Nineham as its new head of Europe as part of a push to move Europe closer to the core of the US firm’s global strategy.
The newly created role is part of an overhaul of McDermott’s organisational structure resulting from a root and branch review that completed last year.
The firm’s new co-chair Peter Sacripanti said the review was aimed at “taking us to the next level”.
As part of the restructuring, McDermott has narrowed its practice group focus and reconstituted its executive committee to include the heads of the firm’s new core business units.
The new 10-member committee features head of tax Mike Fayhee, head of transactions Mike Anthony, head of controversies Peg Warner and head of regulatory and government affairs Ray Jacobsen. Nineham will also take up a position on the committee.
The firm’s management committee, which handles long-term policy matters, is unchanged.
Nineham (pictured), who continues as London office head, said the rationale behind his latest role was to gain the benefit of having someone with European responsibilities on the committee.
“That doesn’t mean we want a representative of the European practice, but someone with European responsibilities,” clarified Nineham. “It means when I sit as a member of the executive committee I’m not “representing” Europe, or lobbying only for that part of the practice’s interests, but I’m ensuring I’m bringing a European perspective to the deliberations.”
Nineham added that one of the themes the strategic review had identified was that McDermott needed more of a focus on driving the business via practice groups and through an explicitly international approach in a way the firm arguably did not have in the past.
“Both of these points have been comprehensively addressed,” Nineham added.
McDermott’s four new business units each include up to five practice groups. For example, under the transactions business unit is corporate advisory, energy and commodities, health advisory and financial institutions.
Sacripanti said the firm had decided to narrow the focus of the practice because in the past the firm had been “trying to be all things to all people”.
The firm was now targeting a portfolio of high-value practices, Sacripanti added.