… And Italians. But it doesn’t matter…

A stark admission indeed from A&O that the recent departures of two dual-qualified, high-level banking partners in Italy really stunted its capability to execute leveraged buyouts in the Italian market.

London-based (normally, at least) banking partner Fiona FitzGerald has been parachuted in to caretake the transactional side of the Italian banking practice until a replacement for ex-head of banking Giancarlo Castorino can be found. Italy managing partner Massimiliano Danusso, who is a capital markets rather than banking expert, had been trying to juggle the role up until now.

FitzGerald knows the Milan market well – she worked there for four years – and by A&O’s account was going there anyway to complete two Italian-based deals.

A&O is “considering all options”, including not replacing Castorino at all, and won’t comment on whom it has approached; although other UK-headquartered firms with offices in Italy are understood to be targets. This would circumvent the age-old problem of matching senior-level partners’ salaries at the Italian champions, such as Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners, Chiomenti Studio Legale and Bonelli Erede Pappalardo.