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Future UK chief Millar lays out expansion plans as CMS becomes first international firm in Iran

CMS Cameron McKenna‘s incoming managing partner Stephen Millar (pictured) has outlined his key priorities as the firm’s next UK chief, a plan which will focus both domestic and international strategic expansion. Millar’s plans for global development come as CMS Hasche Sigle has launched a new office in Iran, the making it the first international firm to do so.

Yesterday (1 February) it was announced energy partner Millar had won a contested election to succeed longstanding chief Duncan Weston.

Set to take effect in May, while Weston will take on the role of executive partner for global development, Millar will be tasked with ‘refreshing’ firm strategy alongside senior partner Penelope Warne as Weston’s current three-year plan comes to an end.

Speaking to Legal Business, Millar says a key priority in his election manifesto was ‘continuing to globalise the business’, with targets for expansion in the Middle East, Asia and North America. The proposal mirrors the ambition voiced by Weston last year when he outlined plans for Asia to constitute 30% of revenues, while a ‘potential combination with a US firm and our public strategy in terms of North America’ has long been an ambition of the firm.

Today’s announcement of CMS Hasche Sigle’s newest outpost in Tehran makes it the first international firm to launch in Iran, and comes just weeks after the lifting of international sanctions on the country, unfreezing billions of dollars of assets and allowing Iran’s oil to be sold internationally.

CMS Hasche Sigle, which had been planning the move since 2013, will be located in the Navak Tower in the Iranian capital and its outpost will include Iranian lawyers led by German-Iranian partners Jürgen Frodermann and Shaghayegh Smousavi.

Domestically, Millar will look to grow the firm’s City offering. He said: ‘Considering its size relative to the rest of the size of the firm it would be good if we were bigger in the City – we want to strengthen our focus.’

Millar added that there are no proposed changes to its partner remuneration model, which in its post-Dundas incarnation, operates as a heavily modified lockstep divided into a four-tier system.