Hogan Lovells‘ Hamburg office managing partner Eckard Schwarz has resigned over claims of illegal surveillance by an employee of former client EWE Group.
Schwarz has been replaced by intellectual property partner Susanne Karow as the office head, but remains a partner at the firm.
German media site NDR reported energy company EWE spied on a former employee working closely with Hogan Lovells’ Hamburg office. The company’s HR director Nikolaus Behr resigned in September over the allegations.
Employment specialist Schwarz joined Hogan Lovells in 1997 and has been managing partner in Hamburg since 2007. The Hamburg district attorney’s office conducted an investigation into the claims, but no further is set to be taken.
Hogan Lovells confirmed Schwarz had stepped down and Karow would take on the managing partner role on 1 November. Karow has 20 years’ experience with the firm in its Hamburg office and is a senior patents and trademark lawyer at the firm.
Hogan Lovells refused to comment on the investigation citing client confidentiality.
The firm has four offices in Germany with a presence in Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. In 2013, a nine-partner team from the firm’s Berlin office quit to join Morrison & Foerster, leading to the closure of the branch.