Pinsent Masons has named Richard Masters as its new chairman of Scotland and Northern Ireland following the passing of Kirk Murdoch in March 2017.

Masters joined the firm following its 2012 merger with Scottish firm McGrigors, where he was the firm’s managing partner.

He was also named as executive chairman of Cerico, Pinsent Masons’ electronic risk compliance product, in 2015 after three years as head of client operations.

The firm said Masters will continue to be involved with Cerico in a non-executive director role. He will continue to sit on Cerico’s board and practice as a partner.

Pinsent Masons managing partner John Cleland said: “Richard’s previous experience at executive board level and his successful tenure in charge of Cerico will be instrumental in further strengthening Pinsent Masons’ offering to clients in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Masters will need lead over 500 lawyers which the firm has split between its offices in Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Speaking to The Lawyer, Masters said: “Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t hugely different jurisdictions but they both operate slightly different from one another. The core attributes aren’t terribly different. It’s about offering the right level of service at the right price.”

The firm is currently undergoing a review across its UK-based offices which it confirmed could see up to 100 secretarial roles cut.

Masters said: “I am delighted and honoured to take on the role of chairman for Scotland and Northern Ireland and will build on the foundations laid down by Kirk Murdoch who was a strong influence on me both personally and professionally.

“My objective is to support our lawyers in Scotland and Northern Ireland in maintaining and growing our market share and reputation, while making a significant contribution to the firm’s overarching ambition of being the market leader in the global sectors in which we operate.”

Pinsent Masons upped its commitment to Cerico earlier in the year by increasing its stake in the business to 60 per cent. The firm’s stake is valued at around £500,000.

A policy of rapid expansion over the last 18 months has seen the firm open in Johannesburg, Düsseldorf, Madrid and in neighbouring Dublin.