Herbies prepares for further elections with top finance job up for grabs

The corporate, finance and litigation head jobs are all up for election, although current litigation chief Sonya Leydecker is standing unopposed to serve another term.

The only contested position is that of finance head, with Malcolm Hitching and Ewen Fergusson going head to head for the post. Jason Fox, who has led the group for the past five years, will return to practice.

Current corporate head Michael Walter is standing down from the role, with James Palmer (pictured) standing unopposed to replace him. Palmer is a well respected figure in the corporate practice and counts British American Tobacco among his clients.

Leveraged and acquisition finance specialist Hitching joined Herbert Smith from Norton Rose in 2003 and made partner a year later. He has worked closely with Fox over the years and been active in building up the firm’s acquisition finance capabilities. He counts RBS, where he spent time on secondment, as one of his clients.

Fergusson, who was a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson in Oxford University’s notorious Bullingdon dining club, also focuses on leveraged and acquisition finance.

Recent deals include advising Bank of Scotland on a $300m loan facility to oil and gas exploration and production company Dana Petroleum to be used for the acquisition of North Sea oil company Bow Valley.

The elections come after competition partner Jonathan Scott won a contested election to replace David Gold as senior partner (18 December 2009).

Scott, a former competition head at the firm, had stood against Moscow-based CIS head Allen Hanen and litigator Tim Parkes, although the latter pulled out of the race after a first round of voting (16 December 2009).

The results of the practice group elections are expected by mid February.