Legal Business Blogs

Leadership changes: Dentons’ UKMEA chief and HFW managing partner to stand down

Just weeks after announcing its audacious entry into the Chinese legal market with local firm Dacheng, Dentons has confirmed that longstanding UKMEA chief executive Matthew Jones will not seek re-appointment in his managerial role when his term ends in March. Insurance-focused Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) also announced a leadership change today (9 February), appointing a new managing partner to take over from George Eddings.

Dentons has now started the process to appoint Jones’ successor which, instead of an election process for the fixed four-year position, will involve the board carrying out a soundings process and then making a decision which is ratified by the partnership.

The firm stated that considering its recently announced tie-up with Dacheng and recent results, ‘the time is right for a new UKMEA chief executive to take the helm and for [Jones] to take on a new, different role.’ He will continue to serve on the Dentons global board and remains a partner.

Having taken over the reins in 2011, energy specialist Jones has seen the firm through substantial change in recent years, including the $1bn tripartite union between legacy SNR Denton, Salans and Canadian firm Fraser Milner Casgrain in 2013 using a Swiss verein.

In recently released UKMEA LLP accounts, the firm saw a substantial rise in profits as it lowered operating costs and improved turnover.

Jones said: ‘It’s been an immense privilege to serve Dentons as UKMEA CEO during a period of transformative growth and success. No other law firm is shaping the global legal industry with such impact or at such speed. As my term as UKMEA CEO comes to an end, and with the firm on the cusp of even more success, now is the time to pass on the baton.’

Meanwhile, HFW announced that at the end of his two year term as managing partner, George Eddings will also return to full time fee earning and be succeeded by Marcus Bowman with effect from 1 April. Eddings was formerly head of the firm’s global shipping and transport group, and mainly worked in disputes. Bowman also specialises in disputes with a particular focus on shipping, energy and mining, and logistics.