Pearce quits Cognition Ventures

Leading e-commerce lawyer and former Linklaters & Alliance partner Rupert Pearce is quitting his Cognition Ventures appointment before he has even started.

Pearce, who was instrumental in setting up Linklaters’ internet and e-commerce group, as well as introducing equity in lieu of fees, said he was leaving earlier this year.

He was due to join Linklaters’ client Cognition Ventures at the end of the summer as chief operating officer, but the technology investment company decided to scrap its London Stock Exchange (LSE) main list flotation, meaning there was no longer a role for Pearce.

Head of legal and former Linklaters lawyer Elliot Shear confirms that the change of direction put an end to Pearce’s role at Cognition Ventures. He says: “Rupert was to be recruited for a London listed company so there was no need for him [after the IPO was shelved].”

Pearce said at his departure from Linklaters that, while he maintained a good relationship with the firm, he wanted to try his hand at a different, non-legal career.

He has therefore not returned to law, despite deciding against Cognition Ventures. Instead, he’s taking a similar role at US-based venture capitalist Atlas, which is still planning its float on the LSE main list.

It is understood that Cognition Ventures changed its tack regarding its flotation after technology stocks suffered a major correction earlier this year. The wobble dented investors’ confidence in such companies; Cognition Ventures saw its estimated market capitalisation drop by several hundred million pounds.

It is still planning to float, but is now looking at either the Stockholm Exchange or the LSE’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Pearce and Atlas were unavailable for comment.