Flemings' Howe quits after merger

Flemings' general counsel is leaving as the integration of the merchant bank into Chase Manhattan reaches its final stages.

Geoffrey Howe, who joined the bank in 1997 after stepping down as senior partner at Clifford Chance, is leaving at the end of the year. He is one of five board directors to depart following the £4bn sale to Chase earlier this year.

Howe says: “Following the integration, my job simply doesn't exist anymore. So the directors and myself decided to move on.” Howe says he is looking to build up a “portfolio” of interests in consultancy or by taking on directorships.

As general counsel, Howe had overall responsibility for Flemings' offices in the UK and Asia, as well as other functions. The 220-strong legal department is still split into geographical areas, but it is also now structured along product lines.

For example, Mark Roberts, former group head of legal at Flemings, who reported to Howe, is now head of legal for Chase Fleming asset management. Chase is also in the final stages of its recent merger with JP Morgan. Due to Chase's £25bn recommended takeover of the rival investment bank, the legal department is currently undergoing further reorganisation.

Mitch Caller, senior vice-president and associate general counsel, is now legal director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). This follows Luigi de Ghenghi's decision (formerly legal director and general counsel, EMEA, for JP Morgan) to rejoin his former firm Davis Polk & Wardwell. The overall head of legal for the merged banks is Bill McDavid.

Howe says Allen & Overy and Linklaters, Flemings' main firms, which were used before the merger, will retain their places on the panel.