Salans picks office managing partner to build London

European firm Salans has elected litigator Smeetesh Kakkad as its new London managing partner.

Kakkad replaces Howard Cohen following an uncontested election at the end of 2011. Cohen is returning to full-time fee-earning after three two-year terms in the role.

Among Kakkad’s responsibilities will be the job of rebuilding Salans’ London office, which was hit in late 2011 by the loss of seven partners to US outfit Locke Lord (7 November 2011).

Cohen will take over Paula Howard, one of the partners who has left for Locke Lord, as head of Salans’ London consumer finance group.

Kakkad will continue to fee-earn. He is currently acting for Chris Hutcheson, the father-in-law of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, in ongoing litigation, among other cases.

He said his most immediate objective was to grow Salans’ strength and depth in corporate, banking, restructuring and insolvency and contentious work, primarily through lateral hiring.

However Kakkad added that he also wanted to improve integration between Salans in London and its other offives, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.

“I think that we can build London in a much more synergistic way that fits better with the global network we’ve got,” Kakkad told The Lawyer. In particular he said he would like to see Salans picking up more work on Russian disputes being litigated in London.

Last week Salans announced it had tied up with a new partner in Turkey (12 January 2012) after the partners in its previous ally split up.