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City firm democratises management as it grapples with issues of succession
SJ Berwin to elect strategy committee for the first time" />SJ Berwin will hold a competitive partnership election for its strategy committee for the first time early next year in a bid to shake up the firm’s management structure.
The inaugural vote, which is scheduled to take place in January, will enable the firm’s partners to vote on seven of the committee’s board members.
In the past, members of the committee, which is the firm’s main decision-making body for strategic issues, have been appointed by the firm’s senior partner David Harrel and managing partner Ralph Cohen.
The changes follow an ongoing review of the firm’s management structure, which is being conducted with the view of implementing a range of new processes in the lead-up to Harrel’s retirement from the role of senior partner within the next 18 months.
Harrel explained that the firm’s partners decided to go ahead with the election during a partners’ meeting held last week to debate the role and format of the firm’s strategy and management committees. The strategy committee currently consists of an unwieldy 13 members after its membership was increased over time to reflect the opening of new offices in Europe.
The revised committee will, however, be cut down to nine members, which will including Harrel, Cohen and the seven elected members. At least three places are likely to go to partners from Continental Europe.
The firm’s management committee, which consists of 12 members and takes responsibility of the day-to-day operations of the firm, is also under review. However, no decisions are expected to be made on its format until after the strategy committee’s election.
A nominations committee is now being formed to handle the election process, including canvassing the views of the partners and encouraging nominated partners to stand for a place on the committee.