LPO provider Integreon has lost its business development chief John Croft to legal services provider Elevate, just weeks after CMS Cameron McKenna and Osborne Clarke scaled back their agreements with the outsourcing giant.
Elevate, whose founder is former Integreon CEO Liam Brown, announced Croft’s London-based appointment on 19 April, as the company seeks to launch a ‘new alternative legal services provider’ in the UK. Croft will establish Elevate’s technology and services in the UK and European markets.
Elevate, which currently operates a 100-strong team out of the US and India, also announced the arrival of Integreon’s COO and head of corporate strategy Lokendra Tomar to its ranks in India yesterday, where he has been appointed CEO.
Croft has over 25 years experience working with law firms and corporates. He pioneered high-profile deals for Integreon, including with Osborne Clarke, CMS Cameron McKenna, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, and Simmons & Simmons.
Integreon confirmed the departure of Croft, noting that it would be making additional hires within its global 30-strong sales team in 2013 ‘to continue [its] strong focus on growth.’
On his arrival at Elevate, Croft said: ‘Elevate brings legal efficiency to corporate legal departments and law firms, helping them do more for less by offering high quality alternative legal services, plus proprietary legal project management cloud technology, with legal operations and legal spend analytics consulting.’
Osborne Clarke and CMS Cameron McKenna both reduced the scale of their outsourcing agreements with Integreon in late March.
CMS Cameron McKenna is currently engaging in ongoing consultations over its 10-year £600m contract with Integreon, while Osborne Clarke’s spokesperson confirmed it has moved some services back in-house while its hospitality and reception staff were directed to outsource provider MITIE. OC’s consultation with Integreon ends on 1 May.
However, Croft feels that there is still plenty of life in the LPO market. He said: ‘If you look at law firms and speak to managing partners, they are still under pressure to manage their businesses more efficiently. If you speak to general counsel they will tell you that the pressure to spend less, or to buy more for less, isn’t going to go away either. But with LPO, as in any market place, there are examples of things that have been done well and things that have been done not so well. If the question is whether outsourcing has had its day in the legal sector, I would say no.’