King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) London head of tax Gareth Amdor and EUME corporate co-head Tim Bednall will battle it out to be the firm’s new UK, Europe and Middle East managing partner.
The partners will vote this week with the winner announced early next week.
The winner will replace William Boss, who resigned from the position a year early in January. His term was due to end in May 2017 but he stepped down to go back to fee-earning amid a number of restructures of the EUME partnership and several senior exits.
Boss’s successor was initially due to be elected at KWM’s partner conference in February but the firm postponed the leadership race as it formalised a new “divisional restructure” of its practice groups. The change saw it reorganise its 17 practice areas into three core groups: corporate, funds and finance; dispute resolution and regulation; and real estate.
The election sees a legacy SJ Berwin partner pitted against a legacy Mallesons partner for the EUME top job.
Amdor joined SJ Berwin in 2005, rising to be London tax head and EUME co-head of the practice, based in London. He also leads the UK M&A tax group and the firm’s global employee incentives team.
Meanwhile Bednall joined legacy Mallesons in Australia in 2004, relocating to London last year. He is now global co-ordinator of the firm’s corporate, M&A and securities group having previously been chairman of KWM’s Australian partnership and managing partner of M&A and tax in Australia, following its tie-up with King & Wood.
KWM kickstarted the managing partner race again following the shock resignation of EUME senior partner and SJ Berwin veteran Stephen Kon at the start of September.
Kon oversaw the Sino-Anglo merger of legacy SJ Berwin with KWM in 2013. The firm is expecting to elect a new senior partner for the region before the end of October.
KWM has had a turbulent 18 months following a number of big-hitter exits, a major redundancy consultation and a series of deliberate cuts to its EUME equity.
Most recently the firm asked EUME partners to pay in £14m in a capital call in order to strengthen its business in the region.
The capital call followed a number of delays to partner distributions over the last two years and news KWM was reviewing its contributions structure.
KWM is also now understood to be in the market for a US merger, looking for a tie-up with a firm that has a broad base in the country. The firm is hoping to sign a deal before the end of 2017.