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Brettle bows out as White & Case London head to focus on going toe-to-toe with the Magic Circle

Oliver Brettle has stepped down as White & Case’s London executive partner after a decade, with US securities partner Melissa Butler named his successor.

The move comes on the instruction of New York-based chair Hugh Verrier, who asked White & Case stalwart Brettle to concentrate on the firm’s 2020 strategy, which includes competing ‘toe-to-toe’ with the Magic Circle in the City.

An employment lawyer by trade, Brettle joined the firm as a partner from Ashurst in 2001, has headed the US firm’s London office since November 2008 and joined its executive committee in September 2009. He will stay on the executive committee in his strategy-focused role.

US capital markets guru Butler – who took up the role on Tuesday (8 May) – joined White & Case in September 2006 as an associate in London from the now defunct New York firm Thacher, Proffitt & Wood. She was made up to partner in January 2012.

Commenting on the move, Verrier said: ‘I have asked Oliver Brettle in his ongoing role on the executive committee to focus on delivering our 2020 strategy, including global initiatives that support its execution and strengthen the firm’s competitive position vis-à-vis the Magic Circle.’

‘To allow him to dedicate the time needed to drive these important activities, Oliver has stepped down as London office executive partner after nearly ten years in the role, during which time our London office has become an acknowledged market leader. I am proud of our success in London,’ Verrier added.

Brettle said: ‘As a member of the executive committee I look forward to continuing to drive our 2020 strategy globally. In London, that includes cementing our status at the top of the legal market and competing toe-to-toe with the Magic Circle and other elite global firms.

‘Holding the role of London office executive partner has been a wonderful experience and a privilege, working with exceptional lawyers and business services teams who together deliver the highest standard of service to our clients. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Melissa Butler and wish her every success in her role.’

Butler concluded: ‘I’m excited by the opportunity to take on the role of London office executive partner at a time when White & Case’s position in London has never been stronger, with a full service offering and a dedicated team that is trusted by clients to advise on their most significant, complex, cross-border deals and disputes. I look forward to working with Oliver as we continue to drive the London office forward.’

More on White & Case’s unlikely revolution in London can be found here.