King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has elected Frankfurt partner Michael Cziesla as EUME senior partner, defeating Dubai-based disputes partner Tim Taylor QC in the race between two legacy SJ Berwin veterans. The election was triggered after Stephen Kon’s early resignation last month.
Cziesla (pictured) is appointed with immediate effect for a term of three years. He joined legacy SJ Berwin in 2002 and specialises on multi-jurisdictional and cross border M&A, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures and restructurings.
Kon joined legacy firm SJ Berwin in 1982 and became senior partner in 2012 leading the firm through its 2013 merger with Hong-Kong based KWM. He will return to fee earning.
The results of KWM’s EUME managing partner elections were also announced earlier this month, when corporate partner Tim Bednall took on the position following William Boss’s premature resignation after less than one year in the post.
Both leadership changes are hoped to bring internal stability in the firm which has had a bruising 18 months. The leadership changes come as the legacy SJ Berwin practice recently re-organised its structure, moving from 17 to three divisions, asked 24 partners to leave in March and increased its loan facility with Barclays earlier this year.
Cziesla said: ‘I care deeply about KWM and am honoured to have been elected EUME senior partner. The opportunity to help drive our firm forward as a challenger, top-tier law firm is one that I relish, and I am grateful for the trust my partners have shown in me.’
Kon added: ‘On a personal note, passing the senior partner baton for the first time to a non-London based partner is further testament to our continental European and Middle East practice being at the core of so much of what we are about as a region.’