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Former Travers Smith Braithwaite partner Mark Soundy quit in June only to reappear a couple of months later in one of the biggest jobs in private equity: the right-hand man to Weil Gotshal & Manges dynamo Mike Francies.
The US firm’s search for private equity talent was the worst-kept
secret in the City. Francies had been looking to grow the practice for more than two years and he almost tempted Clifford Chance private equity star Matthew Layton, only for Layton and his Clifford Chance colleague Jim Baird to change their minds at the last minute.
Layton and Baird would have brought a huge book of business, including Permira and PPM Ventures. Soundy is a different animal, and while he has good connections, particularly with Apax, he was recruited primarily on the strength of his abilities as a lawyer and his seemingly boundless charm, which will help him win new friends in the industry as well as inside Weil Gotshal.