Linklaters is poised to break its traditional managing partner voting process to ensure a permanent head is in place before current managing partner Simon Davies leaves for Lloyds Bank in January.
The firm’s partnership board, headed up by senior partner Robert Elliott, has consulted on the timings of the election and will hold a firmwide partnership vote to appoint Davies’ successor in September. The new head of the firm will be confirmed during the firm’s planned partner conference on 17 November.
A shortlist of candidates will be agreed over the coming weeks.
The new managing partner will take over the role on a permanent, rather than interim basis.
Sources close to the firm had speculated that Davies’ immediate successor would only hold the role for nine months, when the scheduled managing and senior partner handover process was due to begin.
Traditionally, Linklaters partners vote in the senior partner, who then recommends a managing partner candidate as one of his or her first jobs in office as head of the partnership board. The appointment is then ratified by a firmwide partnership vote.
Davies’ shock departure, a year early, has forced the firm to rethink the process. The next senior partner, who will be confirmed in the position in September 2016, will not choose Linklaters’ next managing partner.
The senior partner election is expected to be a contested one, with corporate partner Charlie Jacobs and co-head of global M&A Jean-Pierre Blumberg expected to throw their hats into the ring this month (22 June 2015).
Potential frontrunners for the managing partner position have been named as Asia head Marc Harvey, global financial regulation head Michael Kent and head of corporate Matthew Middleditch.
Davies announced he would leave the firm earlier this month to join Lloyds in the newly created role of chief legal, people and strategy officer (1 July 2015).
Lloyds insiders have expressed concern that Davies has been given a mandate to review the bank’s entire legal function as one of the first jobs in his new role (13 July 2015).