Walker Morris chair steps down amid management overhaul

Walker Morris’s long-term chairman is to stand down from the role next month prompting a major shake-up of the firm’s management structure. 

Peter Smart
Peter Smart

Chairman Peter Smart has been with the firm for 33 years and a member of the management committee for 24 years, the last nine as executive chairman.

This year Smart turns 60, which is the firm’s partner retirement age, but will remain as a partner in the corporate department until May 2011.

When he stands down next month the executive chairman role will be scrapped and replaced by a non-executive chairman and managing partner.

Pensions head Andrew Turnbull has been named as non-executive chairman and corporate lawyer Ian Gilbert will become managing partner, following uncontested elections.

Gilbert said the decision to re-introduce the role of managing partner was taken in an effort to separate governance of the partnership, which will be headed by Turnbull, and responsibility for business strategy.

Despite the changes at the top the new-look management team looks set to pursue its single-site strategy, with just one office in Leeds.

Smart said: “The expectation is that in terms of the firm’s strategy there’ll be no material change. There’ll be new vigour but the strategy itself is expected to remain the same.

“It was first adopted 20 years ago and continues to serve its purpose, allowing a very focused approach to the business.”