Having achieved a transcontinental full financial merger with Blake Dawson almost without drama there will be those who say Ashurst had it coming, as it emerges that corporate partner Eavan Saunders Cole is set to leave the firm after last week’s revelation that global head of corporate Stephen Lloyd has handed in his notice.
Cole, whose experience at Ashurst includes advising corporate, financial sponsor and hedge fund clients particularly in the public M&A, leveraged buy-out and cross border M&A sectors, has been a partner since 2006 and advised clients including Odeon and Bank of Ireland.The corporate partner is blaming personal reasons for her departure, as she will shortly go on maternity leave and relocate to Ireland after attempts to find a mutually acceptable way to keep her at the firm failed.
The news comes as the firm last week announced Lloyd’s resignation to its partnership, within weeks of ex-senior partner Charlie Geffen unexpectedly losing the chairman vote to litigator Ben Tidswell on 16 October.
While Tidswell is described as a popular choice, sources have indicated to Legal Business that these latest exits come from a partnership unsettled by the changes in management, with Tidswell’s election interpreted in some quarters as an act of partner rebellion against Geffen, who spearheaded the merger with Big Six Australia firm Blake Dawson.
Further changes at the top 15 firm have seen a new management board and executive committee elected, which came into effect November 1.
But while one source close to the situation indicated that Cole and others had “had enough”, the corporate lawyer strongly rejected the assertion that her departure had anything to with the change in management or the merger.
Cole, who joined Ashurst in 2000 from Dublin firm McCann Fitzgerald, told Legal Business: ‘Charlie Geffen and I were looking at different roles and the option of working from Dublin, but in the end I decided I would go on maternity leave and not return.’