Gowlings Scott Jolliffe is stepping down from his role as chair and CEO and will be replaced by the firm’s external managing partner Peter Lukasiewicz in the New Year.

Jolliffe is stepping down prior to the Canadian firm’s merger with Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, which is set to go live in January under the name Gowling WLG.

After leading Gowlings for 20 years Jolliffe will continue to work within its litigation practice but will also take a place as one of the firm’s three representatives on Gowling WLG’s global board.

In a statement Jolliffe said: “Peter and I have worked side by side over the last 20 years. During this time, he’s helped to shape Gowlings into the firm it is today, and has been a driving force in our combination with WLG.

“With the upcoming launch of Gowling WLG in January, I look forward to continuing to work closely with Peter in my new role on our global board.”

Over the last two years Lukasiewicz has worked within the firm’s executive committee as one of two managing partners with responsibility for managing client relationships. Previously, he worked as managing partner for Gowlings’ Toronto office for 15 years.

The merger between Gowlings and Wragges is set to create an international firm with a turnover in excess of £400m. The new firm will have offices in 18 locations including Canada, the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Despite Gowling WLG’s new international reach the management teams at both legacy firms have denied that they will use the combination to enter the US market. In July Jolliffe told The Lawyer that he did not want Gowlings’ ally firms in the US to feel at “risk” about competing in their own country.

The announcement of the merger came only 18 month after Wragges’ last merger between legacy firms Wragge & Co and Lawrence Graham. Since this merger Wragges has managed to increase its revenue by 5 per cent, from a combined £172m to £181m.