DLA Direct axes chief exec to boost performance

The chief executive of DLA’s volume arm DLA Direct has been replaced as the firm strives to turn around the underperforming Bradford-based business.

DLA Direct chairman David Medcalf was last month appointed to the post, replacing partner Andrew Bennett, who was unavailable for comment but who is understood to be considering his options.

It is the first time that DLA Direct, which last year posted an estimated turnover of £14m, will be managed by a non-lawyer.

The volume business has undergone a period of restructuring, which has seen a wave of redundancies as part of a cost-cutting drive. It is understood that up to 40 conveyancing staff were made redundant in January, with a further 20 support staff losing their jobs last month, reducing total staff headcount to around 400. Medcalf insisted that no further redundancies are currently on the agenda.

Medcalf, a qualified accountant, was previously on the management board of transport company Glass Glover Group ahead of its sale to Unigate. He also worked alongside the venture capital backers of flooring and carpet company Mercado to develop that business for its sale.

However, he denied that his remit at DLA Direct was to render the business attractive ahead of a potential disposal. “My prime purpose at DLA Direct is to develop the business and make it more profitable,” he told The Lawyer.

DLA Direct is categorised under the separate operating partnership of DLA and is not part of the merged DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.