Paul Rawlinson (pictured) has stepped back from his responsibilities as Baker McKenzie global chair due to a personal medical issue.
The firm’s executive committee announced to the partnership today (22 October) that Rawlinson will be taking a leave of absence based on the advice of his doctor and in response to exhaustion.
There is no set date for Rawlinson’s return although the firm expects he will do so soon. Latin America chair Jaime Trujillo will serve as acting global chair in the interim.
A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘Paul has decided to take a step back from firm leadership and client responsibilities to make his health and recovery his immediate priority.’
They added the firm looked ‘forward to welcoming him back soon. Out of respect for Paul and his family, we are unable to provide any additional details at this time.’
The news comes a few days before the firm’s global partnership conference in Washington DC and a few days after Rawlinson’s second anniversary at the helm of the firm. The conference will go ahead as planned.
The firm’s first British chair was in the middle of the implementation of his 2020 strategy, which has a focus on integrating Bakers across three profit pools, increasing its profitability and growing the firm’s transactional practices in London, New York and China.
The firm’s former London head, Rawlinson took over as chair from Eduardo Leite in October 2016.
Under his watch, Bakers this year posted one of its best financial performances in recent history as revenue grew 10% to $2.9bn and partner profits surged 13% to $1.44m.
Bakers has also been dealing with criticism in the last few months for allowing one of its partners to take on senior roles amid accusations the partner in question sexually assaulted an associate in 2012.
For more on Rawlinson’s strategy see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)