The Clifford Chance senior partner contest sprung into life last week, with three partners having now put themselves forward as potential replacements for incumbent Stuart Popham.
Tax partner Jonathan Elman was the first to put his name in the frame earlier in the summer. He has now been joined by finance partner Malcolm Sweeting and German corporate partner Daniela Weber-Rey.
It is Weber-Rey’s nomination that has created the biggest buzz, after several partners openly warmed to the idea of having someone from outside London take over from Popham.
“There’s definitely scope for someone international to do the job,” said one partner after Elman announced his candidacy in July. “This is a chance for the firm to become truly international.”
Weber-Rey has held several management positions during her 21 years as a partner. She was head of corporate at Clifford Chance legacy firm Pünder Volhard Weber & Axster ahead of the 1999 tie-up.
She was German corporate co-head at the merged firm until 2002, when she became financial institutions chief. In March she was one of four new appointments to the firm’s partnership council.
One of the highest-profile corporate lawyers in the country, Weber-Rey was also appointed to the German Corporate Governance Commission in 2008.
France managing partner Yves Wehrli had been widely viewed as the most likely candidate from the magic circle firm’s international network, but he has ruled himself out of contention, saying he would prefer to concentrate on management.
Sweeting stood unsuccessfully against Mark Campbell for the job of global finance head in 2002.