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Eversheds Sutherland elects Thompson chair in second female C-suite move in City Law this week

Eversheds Sutherland has elected the first-ever female chair of its UK-based international business, with financial services product head Pamela Thompson chosen today (5 December) over ‘a number of very strong candidates’.

Thompson will take the position of chair of the Eversheds Sutherland International LLP for a term of four years from next May, after incumbent Paul Smith did not stand for re-election.  Her main areas of practice include investment fund structuring and establishment and financial services regulatory work. She said: ‘I am honoured to have been elected chair and I would like to thank my partners for the trust they have placed in me.’

The firm’s co-chief executive Lee Ranson said Thompson was a well-respected and experienced leader. The firm would not confirm who else stood for election, but in October it was reported Thompson was up against joint head of energy and infrastructure Robert Pitcher and Manchester senior partner Michael Clavell-Bate. Pitcher was also reported to have contested the previous election when Smith was elected to replace John Heaps in late 2013.

Thompson added: ‘Eversheds Sutherland is on an exciting journey and I am delighted to be part of helping shape its future’.  In February, the international business entered into a tie-up with US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and has this year opened a host of new offices in locations, including Luxembourg, Moscow, St Petersburg and Dusseldorf.

The firm also posted its best growth in revenue terms for some time although profit per equity partner (PEP) dipped slightly. Turnover was up 8% to £438.6m for 2016/17, with PEP at £725,000, down £17,000 from the previous financial year. Overall, Eversheds’ top line has grown 20% in the last five years, from £366m.

The election of a new chair of the international LLP follows the appointment last month of Ian Gray as chairman of Eversheds Sutherland (Europe). Gray, who will also continue in his role as executive partner (client strategy) of Eversheds Sutherland (International), was appointed chair from 1 November following a unanimous vote of the European Board.  His appointment takes effect from 1 November 2017. He succeeded Alan Murphy, who has been appointed deputy chairman as well as continuing in his role as managing partner of Eversheds Sutherland Ireland.

Thompson’s appointment as chair follows yesterday’s announcement Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) would have its first female chair, Australia head Tricia Hobson.

She will take over as global chair at the end of the year from London-based Stephen Parish, who will continue as NRF’s Europe, Middle East and Asia chair until early next year, when he has said he will not stand for re-election.