Clifford Chance corporate partners are to face a new management election following chief operating officer (COO) David Childs’s move to stand down as global head of corporate – before the end of his official term.

Childs informally announced his decision to relinquish his second role as practice area leader last weekend during the firm’s global partner retreat. The election date has not been set.

Childs was appointed COO in October 2003 by managing partner Peter Cornell and has embarked on a radical cost-cutting programme which is set to make savings of £40m for the global firm over the next two years.

Childs told The Lawyer: “The corporate practice has done fantastically well and has met all the aims which were set back in 2000. I have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength.”

In a separate move, the firm has also appointed Charles Doyle as new global business development director.

Doyle was formerly global director of integrated marketing for Accenture’s technology and communications team.