Rank and file in frame for Lovells top position

A cabal of London-based Lovells partners is pushing for a non-management candidate to stand in the firm’s upcoming managing partner elections.

It is understood one candidate considering standing is practice area head for commercial and trade law Andrew Skipper.

Five partners considered likely candidates for the managing partner role are head of finance David Harris, Western Europe managing partner John Pheasant, head of property Bob Kidby, head of litigation Patrick Sherrington and Asia managing partner Don Kelly.

Of these, only Kidby is not on the international executive. However, he is head of a department and stood for the senior partner job last time.

One theory circulating Lovells’ London office is that at least one candidate should have no ties to management and should not have a role on the firm’s international executive.

Lovells’ longserving and hugely popular managing partner Lesley MacDonagh announced last month that she would step down next April, a year before the end of her term. Although she will be involved in a year’s handover, the reins of power will be in the hands of her successor from then.

Last year, Lovells elected John Young, a partner with no ties to management, as senior partner, against head of corporate Hugh Nineham.

Sources at the firm differed on whether Young’s surprise appointment was an anti-management statement by his supporters.

Skipper was unavailable for comment. Lovells declined to comment.