Macfarlanes' high-profile senior partner Vanni Treves is to step down after 12 years in the role, along with managing partner Roger Formby, who is to retire from the firm.
Treves, whose name has become almost synonymous with Macfarlanes and who is widely known for his directorships, including the chairmanship of Channel 4, will be replaced by corporate partner Robert Sutton in May next year, while Formby will be replaced by litigation specialist Paul Phippen.
Treves said that two years ago, when he was asked to take his fourth consecutive three-year term as senior partner, he accepted on the condition that “it should be and must be my one last term”. He stressed that the final decision had been made in June last year and had nothing to do with his taking up of the chairmanship of Channel 4 earlier this year.
Formby, who became managing partner in 1987 at the same time Treves became senior partner, will be 60 by the time he retires next year. Treves will remain a partner doing transactional work but will have no seat on any of the partner committees that run the firm.
Sutton and Phippen were not elected to their roles but emerged as names in a lengthy consultation exercise with every partner.
Both are currently serving on the firm's policy committee of six partners and Phippen has served on its finance committee.
Treves said Sutton would be responsible for overall strategy and would “look outward” while Phippen, who he described as “enormously methodical and safe, responsible and diligent” would be managing the internal affairs of the firm.