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Election fever: Clifford Chance corporate head Tinkler steps down as Nabarro prepares for first MP elections in 15 years

Clifford Chance (CC) private equity partner Simon Tinkler has stepped down from his role as London head of corporate after a four-year term, as top 30 LB 100 firm Nabarro gears up for its first managing partner elections in 15 years this summer, with current head Andrew Inkester expected to stand again.

CC is expecting to start the soundings process for Tinkler’s replacement in the next two months, with the successful candidate due to take over in August. However, it is understood that no one has yet put themselves forward for the job.

Tinkler took the reins following an uncontested election in 2010 after David Pearson had completed two terms.

The news follows this morning’s announcement (13 May) that the firm’s Munich finance partner Barbara Mayer-Trautmann will join its partnership council, replacing Robin Abraham who relinquished his role following his election as regional managing partner for the firm’s Middle East offices.

Meanwhile, Nabarro will hold its first voting process for managing partner in either July or August, having changed the process last year, when senior partner Graham Stedman proposed that his term be reduced and run parallel to the term of the managing partner. Both positions now run for a four-year period.

Once the election process gets underway, the 424-lawyer firm will set a date for nominations to be made followed by hustings and a final vote.

While Inkester has not formally made an announcement, many of the partnership expect him to run again. The election comes three years after he was nominated by former senior partner Simon Johnston, when longstanding head Nicky Paradise stood down in 2011 after 12 years in management.

Under Inkester’s leadership, the firm enjoyed a considerable uptick in profitability in the 2012/13 financial year, with operating profit rising 22% to £42.5m from £34.7m the previous year.

Fee income rose more modestly by 4% to £117m from £112.4m in 2011/12. The firm also unveiled a 31% pay increase for its top fee earners against a 13% drop in partner numbers.

The firm’s LLP accounts filed at Companies House further showed that the highest pay taken home by a member for the year was £635,000; up from £486,000 in the 2011/12 financial year.

The elections come as the firm prepares to move to new City offices at 125 London Wall in November, when its current lease at Lacon House in Holborn expires.

See here for an interview with Simon Tinkler on CC’s private equity practice