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Shearman & Sterling has confirmed that M&A partner Creighton Condon will succeed Rohan Weerasinghe as its senior partner.
Condon was unveiled as Shearman’s new head yesterday ahead of the firm’s global partnership meeting, which starts tomorrow in Miami. For the past three years Condon has been based in London serving as the firm’s European managing partner (16 October 2008), a role that since April has been filled by German partner Harald Selzner.
In April Condon was appointed as global co-head of M&A (with George Casey) and had relocated back to New York when Weerasinghe announced his surprise decision to quit Shearman for a role as general counsel at Citigroup after 35 years with the firm (3 April 2012).
“I’m going to have the shortest term as co-head of M&A on record,” said Condon.
As part of a top-level management overhaul David Beveridge, currently the firm’s managing partner for the Americas and head of Shearman’s capital markets and leveraged finance group, has been appointed to the reinstated role of global managing partner.
UnderWeerasinghe Shearman had operated with a senior leadership team headed by the senior partner alongside an elected policy committee and a four-partner executive group.
A Shearman source said that all aspects of the firm’s governance would now be reviewed by Condon and Beveridge.
While admitting it was early days, Condon said he already had several strategic ambitions he hoped to achieve during his period as senior partner. They include building a recognised private equity practice and growing litigation revenues significantly.
Condon added that Middle East expansion was also on the agenda, although that did not necessarily mean additional offices in the region.
“Growing New York continues to be a priority as does growing London,” added Condon.
Shearman’s new senior partner said that during Weerasinghe’s watch the firm had promoted more than 70 lawyers to partner and laterally hired around 30, although partner departures meant that the current size of the firm was roughly the same as it was seven years ago.
However, the new partners and focus on internal promotions had lowered the average age of the partnership, Condon said, “so now Shearman has a demographically young partnership”.
The firm also continued to promote throughout the downturn at an average of 12 a year, Condon added.
The appointment of Beveridge was significant, Condon said, in that it would allow him greater freedom to continue fee-earning while also pursuing an ambassadorial role as senior partner.
“The key is to be outward facing and client focused,” added Condon.
The pair’s appointment to the two top jobs at Shearman is also significant in the context of the US firm’s ambitions overseas as both lawyers have spent significant periods of their career resident in London (Beveridge was based in the UK for around 10 years from 1998 to 2007).
The leadership transition will take place on 4 May, at which point Condon will start a six-year term.