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Clifford Chance is preparing to anoint London managing partner Peter Charlton as global head of corporate following soundings taken among the firm's partners.
Although there are other candidates who may yet put their names forward for election, it is understood that the month-long soundings process, led by Clifford Chance chief operating officer (COO) David Childs, consistently yielded only Charlton's name.
The consultation process included corporate partners in London and key jurisdictions around the world.
Charlton's status as frontrunner for the job was underlined last week by London head of corporate David Pearson, who sent an email to partners strongly endorsing Charlton's candidacy and his management track record. It is understood that Pearson was speaking in a personal capacity.
One corporate partner said: "There just doesn't seem to be a queue of candidates, which is a bit depressing."
The post of global corporate head became vacant in early March this year when David Childs relinquished the post to concentrate on his role as COO.
Clifford Chance's global corporate practice accounted for £221.1m, or 23 per cent, of the firm's turnover in the financial year 2003-04, up from £210m the previous year.
There are no plans as yet to replace Charlton as the London office's managing partner should he be elected as global head.