Wragge & Co names projects head Fennell as new managing partner

Wragge & Co’s projects head David Fennell as been elected as the firm’s new global managing partner, after the current chief Ian Metcalfe steps down next year.


Ian Metcalfe
Ian Metcalfe

Corporate partner Metcalfe, who has held the global managing partner role since 2006, has decided to return to fee-earning rather than continuing into a third term. His current term of office officially comes to an end on 30 April 2014, with a formal handover period starting on 1 January 2014.

Fennell joined Wragges in 1996 from legacy Herbert Smith, before becoming a partner in 2002 and head of its projects team in 2008. He specialises in work on high-value and complex projects, with stand-out deals including his advice for Amey on highway projects in Birmingham and Sheffield, both worth over £2.5bn.

Fennell said in a statement: “The legal market is changing. Clients are asking for more, the market is consolidating and no law firm can afford to be complacent. Wragge & Co has a clear strategy. We are in a good position, with our people, clients, culture and reputation to thrive in a competitive market.”

Metcalfe also commented: “The firm has faced some testing times over the past eight years and we have come through them stronger as a single team and as a business. I am proud to have led this exceptional firm and its fantastic people. Our single team is unique and to be treasured, so I’d like to thank them for all their support.”

During Metcalfe’s tenure, the firm has increased its turnover by 36 per cent, from £88.5m to £120.5m in 2012/13. However, it is still down on its high point in 2007/08 when the firm raked in a total of £127m.

In the 2012/13 financial year, average profit per equity partner (PEP) inched up 3 per cent from £329,999 to £339,000.

Under Metcalfe’s tenure the firm has opened offices in China, France, Germany and the UAE to bring its total up to eight.

It emerged yesterday that Wragges had won a spot on the Pension Protection Fund’s ‘core’ panel for the first time, alongside its longstanding counsel Clyde & Co and Dentons (7 October 2013).

In July, the firm launched a redundancy consultation with up to 30 full-time equivalent support staff roles at risk (8 May 3013).