Bevan Brittan chief exec voted out; new profit plan

<a class=Bevan Brittan chief exec voted out; new profit plan” />Bevan Brittan’s Stuart Whitfield is to be replaced as chief executive and replaced by non-lawyer Andrew Manning after the partnership voted him out of the position.

The Lawyer revealed in July how a four partner committee was tasked with coming up with restructuring plan and proposed that Whitfield be replaced (The Lawyer, 21 July).

The far-reaching proposals came as the Bristol-based firm saw profitability tumble at the 2007-08 year end to £6.5m, down 37 per cent from the £9.6m reported in the previous year.

Average profit per equity partner also plummeted, falling £54,000 from £234,000 to £180,000 – a slide of 23 per cent – despite the equity partner headcount having dropped from 41 to 33 in the last year.

Manning’s election as chief executive is a bid to reverse the firm’s fortunes. Manning, who was previously chief operating officer, has been set the ambitious target of improving profitability by 37 per cent by the 2008-09 year end. This will put the firm at £8.4m at the next year-end, lower than £9.6m reported in 2006-07.

The firm is to concentrate on four key areas in an effort to underpin growth: health, local government, private sector and corporate.

Whitfield will return to a fee-earning role in the commercial team.