Pinsents hires Taylor Wessing FD as it prepares for elections

Pinsent Masons finance director Steve Hancock is to retire from the firm as it gears up for the first contested leadership elections since incumbent managing partner David Ryan was elected in 1999.

The firm has hired Taylor Wessing finance director Charlotte Beckett to succeed Hancock, who is stepping down after 16 years in the role having joined legacy Pinsent Curtis. Hancock will remain at the firm during a handover period with Beckett set to join on 4 August.

As the first female finance director at Pinsent Masons, Beckett’s appointment means a third of the board are now women. She is one of just three female finance directors in the top 20 UK-headquartered law firms.

Beckett was finance director at Berwin Leighton Paisner before taking the board level finance director’s role at Taylor Wessing in 2010.

She also has international experience from FTSE 100-listed COLT Telecommunications where she was responsible for budgeting and planning work across a network of over 30 international locations.

Beckett will be tasked with driving increased profitability and further international growth for the firm. Pinsent Masons managing partner David Ryan said: ”We have made substantial progress towards achieving our vision in recent years, adding offices in Paris, Munich, Doha and Turkey to our business and generating increased revenues from our existing offices in Asia Pacific and the Gulf.”

The hire coincides with preparations for the first leadership elections since Pinsent Masons merged with McGrigors in May 2012 (6 February 2012). Both managing partner and senior partner elections had been due to take place in October 2012 but were postponed in light of the merger.

Renewing or extending Ryan’s term and changing the retirement age in the partnership deed to allow the top rung of management to serve for longer is thought to have been part of the merger package for Pinsents partners, with the election rolled over to the 2014/15 financial year.

Beckett’s appointment is the latest in a number of new financial director appointments at national firms.

Last April Irwin Mitchell turned to AIM-listed airline and logistics company Dart Group for the hire of its new chief financial officer, Andrew Merrick who was able join the management board as part of the firm’s conversion to ABS (12 December 2012).

Addleshaw Goddard appointed former Eversheds head of finance operations and treasury Colin Brown as finance director in November, with longstanding chief financial officer Martin Gaskin leaving the firm in December (17 February 2014). Brown was replaced by Julian Lee at Eversheds.