Former Ablyazov lawyer wins Stephenson Harwood senior partner race

Stephenson Harwood (SH) has elected a new senior partner after a contested vote, with litigator Roland Foord taking over for a five-year term on 1 May.

Roland Foord
Roland Foord

He is set to replace Andrew Sutch, who is standing down after 10 years in the role.

Foord was elected to the role after a partnership vote, with two partners – whose names have not been released – standing against him.

Foord, a professional indemnity specialist, was in the team acting for Mukhtar Ablyazov, the former chairman of BTA Bank, in a multibillion-dollar case brought against him by the Kazakh bank. SH later lost this mandate to Addleshaw Goddard (19 September 2011).

Foord has also served on SH’s partnership council and the partner review panel, qualifying at the firm in 1985 and joining the partnership in 1989.

The partnership council, a non-executive supervisory board, is responsible for overseeing the firm’s governance, while the partner review panel appoints partners and manages their appraisal and remuneration processes.

Firm CEO Sharon White commented in a statement: “[Foord’s] depth of knowledge of the firm will be a huge asset and I look forward to working with him in further developing the firm. In addition, we’d like to thank Andrew for his hard work, dedication and achievements as senior partner for the last 10 years. He has been instrumental in leading the partners and in helping the firm to achieve significant growth.”

Foord added: “I look forward to building on Andrew’s achievements in the role, both in our plans for growth in a still difficult climate and in reinforcing our reputation for excellent client service.”

Foord will be a non-executive chairman with responsibility for relationships between partners and will chair partner meetings and the partnership council.

It is also an ambassadorial role, although the firm said Foord will continue his client work.

Sutch replaced Tony Scales in the position in 2002 (14 January 2002). Sutch was since re-elected twice, most recently in March 2010.

The firm is set to announce the result of its vote on converting to an LLP later this month (9 March 2012).

The management of the firm is run by CEO White, who replaced Sunil Gadhia in 2009 and is next up for re-appointment in three years’ time. Gadhia recently quit the firm for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (9 March 2012).