Chief executive quits Bevan Ashford

Bevan Ashford’s non-lawyer chief executive Ann Conway-Hughes has resigned after just 18 months in the role.

As first revealed on news on 23 May, she will be replaced by partner and board member Stuart Whitfield, who currently heads the firm’s technology and manufacturing division.

Conway-Hughes joined from engineering conglomerate GKN in late 2001 to lead an ambitious overhaul of the Bristol, Birmingham and London profit centre.

The firm is now run as four market groups – built environment, insurance and professional services, public sector and technology and manufacturing. It has appointed non-lawyers to senior roles with the addition of a commercial development director and business development director. With Conway-Hughes’ departure, the firm’s board is split 50-50 between partners and non-lawyers. It is not clear who will take the spare seat.

During her tenure there has been no movement on the relationship with the West Country arm of the firm. A review has failed to decide on integrating or splitting the centres. One source close to the firm said that Conway-Hughes had been pushing for a split, but commercial development director David Worskett said the arrangement with the West Country was not a significant part of the review.

Conway-Hughes’ departure was by mutual agreement. “We are very grateful for the determination, speed and success with which Ann tackled the major change management programme that she was brought in to lead.”