BLG chief to step down ahead of rejig

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) veteran Kennan Michel is stepping down from his position as managing partner after 15 years.

The revelation comes in the wake of a revolution in BLG’s structure. The changes include the introduction of a new chief executive and a bonus pool aimed at modernising one of the City’s most traditional firms.

Michel, who was due to stand for re-election in March this year, told The Lawyer that BLG had been examining its management structure and succession planning over the past 12 months. Ultimately, he said, he had to make a choice.

“Either I could carry on, or we could look for an internal candidate, or we could hire a professional manager from outside the firm,” Michel said.

The firm plumped for the latter and is expected to announce its new chief executive within weeks. Michel said he would remain with BLG to work with the new chief executive for a year and would stand down on 30 April 2008.

The chief executive position is one of several recent changes at BLG. The firm is also introducing a bonus into its remuneration system for partners, while last Wednesday (31 January) it launched an internal consultation aimed at introducing the new role of managing associate.

BLG is also in separate discussions aimed at introducing a firmwide bonus. All the measures are expected to be in place by the beginning of BLG’s financial year on 1 May.

Michel confirmed that lawyers who successfully applied for the managing associate position would be eligible for a slice of the firm’s new partner bonus. He added that the creation of the new position was a move away from the firm’s currently flat structure.

“We want the new position to reflect the management responsibility and authority that our most senior associates should possess,” Michel said.