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Herbert Smith Freehills trims regional management as Cox and Cochrane take on more global roles

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has rejigged its global executive for the first time since its Anglo-Australian merger in 2012, trimming back regional management in a bid to boost its integration effort.

As a number of influential figures at HSF have had their terms come to an end, the firm has refreshed its leadership and slashed the number of regional managing partners in half.

A string of UK management figures have had their roles expanded, with UK corporate chief Scott Cochrane promoted to global head of corporate and UK and US managing partner Ian Cox also handed control of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Investment funds specialist Cochrane, who was made a partner 13 years ago, replaces Melbourne-based Mike Ferraro in leading HSF’s global corporate push.

Cox, meanwhile, has assumed a greater global platform after the US and UK managing partner roles were combined with the EMEA regional role. Allen Hanen, who is regarded as one of the firm’s most strategic thinkers, has relinquished his EMEA responsibilities as a result. The firm hopes that London, no longer separated from EMEA, will now be able to strengthen its referral links across the region and feed more of the firm’s European and Middle Eastern foreign offices.

The managing partner role for Australia has also been scrapped, with that post rolled into the Asia regional role. Justin D’Agostino, who already heads up the Asia practice and is global head of disputes, continues in the expanded role which he will now share with Australian litigator Sue Gilchrist. 

Just four of the 11-person global executive continue in their roles, with co-chief executives Sonya Leydecker and Mark Rigotti, as well as global head of business services Nicole Bamforth and chief financial officer Nick Willmott retaining their posts.

Jason Ricketts, who lost his Australia managing partner post after the regional roles were consolidated, stays on the global executive after being given control of the firm’s finance, real estate and projects practice.

Rigotti said: ‘The firm is moving to a new exciting phase in a sector which is rapidly changing. This is the right time to make some changes to the general structure of the executive to ensure that it correctly reflects the needs of the business for our future development as a leading international law firm.’

Leydecker added: ‘A major change will see us combining our regional management. We are doing this to foster even closer collaboration and connectivity in practices, client relationships and business operations.’