O’Melveny confirms Ashworth hire

O’Melveny & Myers has confirmed the hire of Ashurst corporate heavyweight Chris Ashworth to create the firm’s first M&A capability in Europe.

As first revealed by The Lawyer (17 October), Ashworth is the firm’s first M&A appointment to its five-partner London presence.

The US firm, which specialises in private equity, formally announced the hire today (28 October) following the finalisation of a partnership vote earlier in the week. He joins as a partner in the London transactions department.

Ashurst’s staff were first informed of Ashworth’s decision to leave the firm through an email on 12 October. He leaves after 23 years of practice, including until recently leading the firm’s corporate department.

He is understood to have become disillusioned with the firm over a new partnership agreement and following his failed attempt to become senior partner in 2003.

While at Ashurst, Ashworth has acted for such high-profile clients as Invesco and United News & Media.

Ashworth’s hire comes a week after O’Melveny raided Norton Rose’s Brussels office to hire local managing partner John Cook.

Cook joins the US firm’s Brussels office as of counsel, rejoining former Norton Rose colleague and previous office managing partner Riccardo Celli, who left for O’Melveny in May 2004.