Manches returns to traditional law firm model as CEO prepares for exit

Manches chief executive Judit Petho is to part company with the firm two years after she was appointed to boost its profitability.

Judit Petho
Judit Petho

The firm said that Petho had refocused Manches on its core practices and the firm was now reverting to a traditional legal management structure with London managing partner Melvin Pedro and Thames Valley managing partner Richard Smith expanding their roles to implement the firm’s strategy.

Petho told The Lawyer in November last year that her mission was to put Manches back on the path to profitability after five consecutive years of falling revenues. Since 2008 turnover had fallen by 11 per cent from an all-time high of £34.4m to a five-year low of £30.6m at the 2010-11 year-end.

She said at the time: “Manches hasn’t lived up to its full potential for a long time. If you don’t have strong leadership and you don’t push people, you lose track of where you’re going” (28 November 2011).

Petho’s strategy was to encourage the firm’s partners to take responsibility for their practices and move away from a blame culture within the firm.

Greater responsibility was given to the firm’s administrative team and, following her departure, finance director Richard Naylor and HR director Marcia Mardner will expand their roles “ to include operational and other aspects of the day-to-day running of the business”, the firm said.

It is not known whether Petho has secured a new role within the profession.

In a statement Manches said: “After two years in the role of CEO, it’s been agreed that Judit’s input in refocusing Manches on its core client sectors and revamping the operational side of the business into a modern corporate structure is now substantially complete. She’ll continue to work with the managing partners and the board to advise on the smooth transition to our new structure over the summer.”