Freshfields unveils CEO candidates on eve of senior partner vote

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer chief executive Ted Burke will continue in his role if he loses the upcoming senior partner election to Will Lawes, The Lawyer can reveal.

Should he win the election, the voting for which gets underway next week, Burke will install Cologne-based global tax head Stephan Eilers as chief executive.

The magic circle firm’s governance dictates that the chief executive and managing partner appointments are made by the senior partner after a firmwide partnership vote.

It is understood that corporate partner Lawes, who currently heads Freshfields’ financial institutions group, agreed to run for the senior partner job only after receiving assurances that Burke would carry on as his CEO if he wins.

Hustings will be held for both candidates tomorrow during the firm’s partnership conference in Paris.

The election comes after Freshfields chose to end the dual senior partner model adopted after the German mergers that formed the firm at the turn of the century.

Current joint senior-partners Guy Morton and Konstantin Mettenheimer, along with managing partner Peter Jeffcote, will stand down from their roles at the end of the year.

Freshfields did not comment.