Glasgow chief loses job

Bird Semple chief executive Neill Mulvie has lost his job in a management shake-up.

The management board of senior partners to which Mulvie reported has been abolished and Gordon Hollerin, who has been with the firm for 20 years, will become managing partner.

Mulvie, a non-lawyer, was brought in during the late 1980s when Bird Semple was merged with Fife Ireland. Since the two firms demerged in 1994 it has been questioned whether there was a need for a high-powered chief executive.

His departure coincides with the defection last month of Lindy Patterson, head of the Glasgow firm's construction department, to MacRoberts in Edinburgh.

The changes at Bird Semple follow a four-month review at the firm. According to Hollerin, it aims to achieve swifter decisions through a more streamlined management process. “It was thought it would be simpler to have just a managing partner linked directly into the partnership,” he said.

Also as a result of the review, the firm has decided to concentrate on the core business areas of property and new technology. “Part of the strategic review involved discussions with clients and it became clear that property was an area in which we were well positioned and had a good reputation.”

Hollerin denied the strategy was influenced by the departure of Patterson, who is regarded as one of Scotland's top construction litigation lawyers.

“Construction is a major thrust in our plans, although we will work to develop a wider range of services, rather than being primarily litigation,” he said. Hollerin added the interest in technology is a response to its growing importance in Scotland. “We have two people who really know the sector. It is an area in which we can be extremely competitive.”