Francis Neate, head of litigation at Slaughter and May and the firm's longest-serving partner, is leaving the firm to join Schroders as group legal director.
Neate, treasurer of the International Bar Association, said that the move would provide welcome relief from the pressures of private practice.
He replaces James Watkins, who left Schroders at the end of May to join Hong Kong company Jardine Matheson.
Former group legal director David Caruth has come out of retirement in order to act as a stopgap until Neate takes over in October.
“You don't decide to move without very mixed feelings,” said Neate. “I am not going to have any managerial responsibilities, which is a great relief.”
Litigation partner Richard Grandison will replace Neate as head of litigation at Slaughters.