EY has appointed Addleshaw Goddard corporate managing partner Phillip Goodstone to establish its legal capability in the UK.
The big four accountant is thought to be in the process of being authorised as an alternative business structure (ABS), enabling it to become a legal services provider in its own right.
The move follows the entry of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) legal arm, PwC Legal, into the ABS legal market at the end of January, when the SRA approved its licence application (31 January 2014).
In a statement, EY said of its move into the UK legal market: “The appointment has been made with a view to building a legal capability for EY in the UK, subject to regulatory approval, which would complement the firm’s existing service offerings.”
A source close to Addleshaw Goddard said that Goodstone left last week, although an Addleshaw Goddard spokesperson said the date and terms of his departure are yet to be finalised. Goodstone will join EY as a partner in September.
Leeds-based private equity partner Yunus Seedat has taken over as corporate chief with immediate effect. He is expected to retain key client responsibilities alongside the new leadership role.
Goodstone was at Addleshaw Goddard for 17 years. He joined the firm from Clifford Chance in 1997, was made partner in 2000 and replaced Andrew Rosling as divisional managing partner in charge of the firm’s corporate group in 2011(16 May 2011).
Goodstone is thought to have been particularly close to incumbent managing partner Paul Devitt, who is standing down a year before his tenure was due to end on 30 April 2015, sparking an early election (17 March 2014).
News of Devitt’s decision to step down as managing partner came alongside details of a trio of internal accounting errors that led to miscalculation of partners’ projected profit shares.
Details of the mix-up emerged after news of the appointment of former Eversheds head of finance operations and treasury Colin Brown and the departure of longstanding chief financial officer Martin Gaskin in December. (17 February 2014). The firm did not discuss the circumstances surrounding Gaskin’s departure.
Commenting on Goodstone’s departure Devitt said: “We will be sorry to see Phil go, and understand that the opportunity to take his career in a different direction was one he didn’t feel able to turn down. Our ambitions for corporate remain unchanged; we will continue to invest in and develop further our strong platform.”