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Ashurst loses another outpost leader with Brussels duo off to Simmons

Ashurst has lost another office head with its long term Brussels managing partner leaving the firm in favour of Simmons & Simmons, along with one counsel.

Brussels managing partner Carl Meyntjens joined the firm as partner in 1998 from legacy Linklaters & Paines and has managed the firm’s Brussels office since 2007. An all-rounder, Meyntjens has wide corporate and finance experience, specialising in M&A and private equity.

Meyntjens will be joined by corporate counsel Kelly Cherrette who joined the firm as an associate in 2002 before moving up to counsel in 2010.

Head of the Simmons’ Brussels office Koen Platteau said: ‘This is a stellar team with a widely renowned reputation and expertise in local and cross-border transactions, both in Belgium and abroad. Their combined expertise complements that of our existing team and enhances our Benelux and European offering in corporate and finance for our clients.’

Meanwhile, Ashurst has rejigged its Brussels practice announcing competition and EU law partner Denis Fosselard will take up a newly created head of Brussels role, with banking and finance partner Arnaud Wtterwulghe replacing Meyntjens as office managing partner.

The firm expects the new management team to ‘significantly enhance our business, strengthen our offering and maximise opportunities’, a spokesperson said.

Meyntjens and Cherrette are the latest exits with the firm’s Abu Dhabi head Alastair Holland left for New York-based Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, its Singapore head Shaun Lascelles leaving with fellow corporate partner Keith McGuire leaving in favour of PwC Legal.

Paul Hastings has also taken a structured finance trio and heavyweight finance partner Nigel Ward, Allen & Overy has taken two Asia finance partners and Latham & Watkins added regulatory partner Nicola Higgs to its ranks.

The firm’s management team chairman Ben Tidswell and new managing partner Paul Jenkins told Legal Business they had managed out partners as they re-evaluated the direction of the firm following its merger with Blake Dawson but refused to say how many.

Around 45 partners have left the firm since May last year with the firm announcing a 19% drop in profit per equity partner with figures dwindling to £603,000 from £747,000 for the 2015/16 financial year. Ashurst has also seen a 10% drop in turnover to £505m.

Following the disappointing results, Ashurst delayed its quarterly partner distributions for August, with one former partner telling Legal Business it was the second delayed payment this year after a postponement in February.