Simmons chief lends weight to London push

Simmons chief lends weight to London pushSimmons & Simmons’ incoming global corporate chief Mark Curtis has pledged to continue the firm’s London push despite the economic slump.

Curtis (pictured) is one of two new international practice group (IPG) heads, taking up the post alongside new information, communications and technology chief Tom Wheadon.

Curtis told The Lawyer: “As the IPG structure has been established over the past year or so, we’ve thought a lot about strategy. There’s still room for significant growth in London.”

He said Simmons would continue to look for lateral hires, having taken on O’Melveny & Myers counsel Matt Rees as a partner in its private equity group ­earlier in the year.

Curtis added: “We’ve recruited quite successfully at senior associate level. We’ve also recruited people who were partners at their previous firm.”
Wheadon will take up his new role this month.

The shake-up means all 10 IPG heads are now based in the City after former incumbents, Hong Kong-based corporate partner Damon LeMaitre-George and Job Rietkerk in Rotterdam, stood down to focus on their own jurisdictions.

A Simmons spokesman denied that there had been a deliberate policy to concentrate ;the ;firm’s ­management in the City.

He said: “When looking for the partner who is best placed to lead an international team, it’s ­natural to choose someone who has experience of managing and leading a large practice domestically. More often than not, that’s in London.”

Simmons launched the IPG system in May to bring together practice groups across its global ­network. Department heads are responsible for strategy, recruitment and a significant proportion of partner remuneration within their practice areas.