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A win for Wim: Allen & Overy chooses Dejonghe as next senior partner to soothe generational leadership change

Allen & Overy (A&O) has opted for continuity in its generational leadership change by electing Wim Dejonghe (pictured), who is entering the last few weeks as managing partner, as its next senior partner.

Dejonghe, who is about to complete the maximum two terms as A&O’s managing partner, will replace retiring David Morley as senior partner on 1 May. He beat dispute resolution head Tim House, banking co-head Stephen Kensell and Paris-based competition partner Michel Struys to the post.

In keeping with the current management framework, Dejonghe has been given a four-year term. The move is similar to that of Morley, who after beating Dejonghe to the managing partner post in 2003, moved into the senior partner role four years later.

Dejonghe and Morley have held the top jobs at A&O since 2008, overseeing strong growth in profitability and outperforming its Magic Circle rivals following the financial crisis.

That form continued last year when A&O leapfrogged Linklaters to become the second largest Magic Circle firm as revenue rose 4% to £1.28m. Its Big Four rivals – Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters – all failed to muster anything more than 1% growth. The firm also closed the gap in profits per equity partner (PEP) with historically more remunerative firms Linklaters and Freshfields, with PEP rising 8% to £1.21m.

Morley leaves A&O after 36 years in the firm, having had a successful stint as global head of the Magic Circle firm’s banking practice before becoming managing partner.

Morley said: ‘I would like congratulate Wim on his appointment to lead the firm as senior partner. I am confident that, with the support of the partnership and everyone at Allen & Overy, the firm will continue to thrive under his leadership.’

Kensell’s fellow banking co-head, Andrew Trahair, remains in the race to replace Dejonghe as managing partner. The other contenders are banking partner Michael Castle, corporate co-head Andrew Ballheimer and Tokyo-based project finance partner Simon Black.

The firm’s next managing partner is to be announced next week.