Addleshaws revamps management team in wake of profit dip

Addleshaw Goddard has overhauled its management lineup in the wake of falling net profit figures after a year of upheaval at the firm.

Turnover showed a slight increase, climbing three per cent from £166.5m to £171.4m, but net profit dropped by 11 per cent over the last financial year from £44.9m to £39.8m..

The latest figures come as the firm unveils a new management roster following the early resignation of managing partner Paul Devitt.

Devitt resigned in March sparking a contested election in which John Joyce went head-to-head with former real estate chief Adrian Collins for the top job (16 April 2014).

Devitt stood down as it emerged that internal reporting miscalculations led to partners being given misleading profit projections at the half-year (17 March 2014). The error was expected to result in a lower than forecast pounds-per-point value at the end of 2013/14. The mix-up is not thought to have had an impact on the final year figures.

However, the firm was unable to collect an uplift on a substantial conditional fee agreement (CFA), which is understood to be related to Boris Berezovsky, who died last year. Addleshaws declined to comment on the client’s identity but confirmed it had decided to write off the outstanding CFA debt for accounting purposes.

Net profit has also been adversely affected by payouts to the 14 partners that left during the course of 2013/14, including those that were “were asked to leave”, according to sources close to the firm. It is understood around six partners have been managed out in recent months.

Joyce was elected as managing partner on 16 May and has spent the last few weeks working closely with senior partner Monica Burch to overhaul the management team (16 May 2014).

Joyce will be joined on the executive board by finance director Colin Brown, who was hired from Eversheds following the departure of Martin Gaskin at the end of last year (17 February 2014). Collins, who was up against Joyce in the election, and employment head Michael Leftley will also sit on the executive. The pair succeed Richard Papworth and Malcolm Pike, who are returning to divisional leadership and client relationship roles.

In a bid to simplify reporting lines and reduce the number of partners with non-fee earning responsibilities, business service heads will now report directly into the executive board.

The new roster of divisional managing partners are Pike (commercial services) and Papworth (finance and projects), Yunus Seedat (corporate), Andrew Carpenter (international), Michael Barnett (litigation), Leona Ahmed (real estate), while Simon Kamstra will continue to head up international arbitration.

At governance board level, Susan Garrett and Jane Hollinshead have been elected to the firm’s board as the representatives for the Manchester and London offices respectively.

Garrett fills the vacancy created by Joyce’s appointment as managing partner and Hollinshead replaces Andrew Shufflebotham who has stepped down. Their appointments take female representation on the firm’s board to 40 per cent.