Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson‘s London managing partner Graham White is to retire later this year with asset management partner Mark Mifsud taking up the role of London head.
Private equity veteran White will leave private practice on 31 May. He joined Fried Frank in 2014 from Kirkland & Ellis where he was the US firm’s de facto head in the City – the firm does not maintain an official London managing partner title.
He unofficially took the role at Kirkland in 2012 after joining the firm in 2006 from Magic Circle firm Linklaters where he had been a partner since 2001. Before this, White was a partner at legacy firm SJ Berwin from 1991.
The firm announced White had hired Mifsud from Kirkland in 2015 where he later became a member of Fried Frank’s governance committee. He was also previously at SJ Berwin and Slaughter and May.
In an internal statement sent to partners, chairman David Greenwald said: ‘[White] has provided tremendous leadership as a member of our firm-wide governance committee and to the London office. Under Graham’s leadership, we have made substantial progress in the execution of our strategy to align the practice mix in London with our core US practices.’
‘As you know, we have recently announced record results for FY17, and the London office made a considerable contribution to our overall performance.’
Under White’s watch the London office has brought on seven partners and 31 associates to the office, including in asset management, M&A and private equity, and finance.
The investment was in line with the firm’s overall strategy, which began in early 2015 with its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices winding down, leaving the US firm without an outpost in Asia. This meant the firm could re-focus operations in its core offices, namely London, even if many would argue that a lack of a functional Asian network makes for an awkward narrative in the increasingly globalised City market.
The London revamp saw Mayer Brown co-head of restructuring Ashley Katz join in February 2016, which followed the launch into asset management last year after the firm hired Kirkland’s high-profile funds trio Mifsud, Kate Downey and Alexandra Conroy. The funds move was followed up with the hire of Gregg Beechey from King & Wood Mallesons.
Other recruits included O’Melveny & Myers PE partner Daniel Oates and Hogan Lovells finance partner Stuart Brinkworth, who joined the firm in September 2015.