Edward Lewis opts for Rutter

Edward Lewis' longest-serving partner Jeremy Rutter is likely to replace chairman Tony Collins, who resigned from the firm's management committee and is negotiating leaving the partnership over claims of sex discrimination.

One source alleges Collins is demanding a large pay-off to leave the London firm, a move which has incensed some partners.

A resolution will be proposed at a partners' meeting on 23 September to replace Collins with Rutter. Michael Breen, one partner who fought to oust Collins, says: “I am confident that the resolution will be passed.”

Allegations, which Collins vigorously denies, were made by partner Susannah Quinn, his former secretary Wendy Griffiths, and assistant Caroline Murphy. Breen says: “We take these allegations very seriously.”

Griffiths' and Murphy's cases were settled, and Quinn is believed to have instructed head of employment at Simmons & Simmons Janet Gaymer. Six partners fought to oust Collins – Breen, Martin Thomas, Brendan Murphy, Jeremy Rutter, Kieron West, and Barry Lewis.