Childs, David – Hot 100

As chief operating officer (COO) of the world’s largest law firm, Clifford Chance’s David Childs is used to wrestling with issues that could safely be described as ‘hot’.

Last year was no exception. As the year came to an end, The Lawyer revealed an ambitious cost-cutting exercise that was set to save some £40m throughout the course of 2005. The cost-saving drive, described by The Lawyer (13 December) as “ferocious”, includes centralising all internal business services, including HR, IT, property management and global procurement. It will also lead to redundancies among support staff.

Crucially for the continued health and competitiveness of the partnership, the exercise is likely to generate an extra £100,000 profit per equity partner over the next two years.

The aggressive measures can be laid at the door of Childs, who was appointed COO in late 2003 with a specific brief to improve profitability. Tough times means tough decisions, plus, of course, someone tough enough to make them.

David Childs