Accountant takes over the controls at Richards Butler

RICHARDS Butler has abolished the post of managing partner and appointed an accountant to oversee the running of the firm.

The move promotes finance director Chris Schulten to the newly-created job of chief executive, while former head Ken Ollerton, who had worked as managing partner for the past four years, returns to his practice as a commercial litigator.

The choice of a non-lawyer for the top job is a first for any of London's top 15 firms.

“The firm was keen to bring in someone with a fresh view,” said Schulten. “I was attracted to join Richards Butler three years ago by an opportunity to come into a firm which was in a sector I had no previous experience of but where I would be able to employ the commercial and financial experience I had gained in a number of other sectors. Now I have a chance to fill that role in a wider sense, and I'm looking forward to it.”

“It makes sense in the modern world to leave that role to a professional manager and leave the fee earning partners to concentrate on that side of things.”

Schulten will work with Tim Archer, currently in his second three-year term as senior partner and a five-member partnership board.

“The firm is growing from a profitable base,” said Schulten. “However, we are constantly looking for a more effective service to our domestic and international clients. To be managing these opportunities will be challenging and satisfying.”