Cadwalader overhauls management and appoints first chairman

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has radically overhauled its management structure, appointing global finance head Chris White as firmwide chairman.

The firm said in a statement issued to its partners today (Wednesday 27 February) that White’s appointment was, “an effort to broaden the firm’s management and implement a team management structure”.

The new role, effective 1 March, will see an expansion of Cadwalader’s executive function into two offices, those of chairman and managing partner. Cadwalader’s current managing partner, Bob Link, will continue in his role.

Cadwalader management committee member Greg Markel confirmed the firm continued to have confidence in Link.

“We believe he has done a great job and no thought or discussion has been given to his stepping down,” Markel added.

In the statement, Cadwalader said the new management structure was a reflection of the firm’s efforts to diversify its service offering in recent years.

Recently, Cadwalader has brought in a succession of notable hires aimed at broadening its practice, the latest being the former head of private equity at Latham & Watkins, Ron Hopkinson, who joined this month (, 7 February).

Other recent laterals include Rick Rule, currently leading the team providing antitrust advice to Microsoft on its bid for Yahoo, a four-partner financial restructuring group led by Deryck Palmer from Weil Gotshal & Manges, and an IP litigation group led by Chris Hughes from IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.

The hires are widely seen as an attempt by Cadwalader to offset the downturn in the core part of its practice, real estate-related structured finance and capital markets.

It was White’s group that focused on this area and which suffered most heavily when Cadwalader was forced to lay off 35 associates this January.