Legal Business Blogs

Leadership: Norman enters the fray as CC takes soundings for new global corporate chief

Clifford Chance (CC) has begun its nominations process for a potential successor to the role of global corporate chief following the promotion of incumbent Matthew Layton to global managing partner.

Layton will succeed the firm’s current global chief David Childs on 1 May and with the Magic Circle firm currently canvassing names for his replacement as head of the practice group, it is understood that corporate partner Guy Norman is set to enter the race.

A specialist in corporate finance, M&A and takeovers, Norman is expected to stand against London corporate head Simon Tinkler in the elections, with the full list of candidates is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks. The election for Tinkler’s current management role is expected to occur in April.

Norman returned to London last summer after a three-year stint in Dubai as part of a strategic expansion plan undertaken by the firm to enhance its Middle East capabilities.

A longstanding advisor to Barclays, he has been primarily been working with regional clients in recent years including representing Mannai Corporation and EFG Capital Partners in their $445m consortium bid for Nasdaq Dubai-listed jewellery and watch retailer Damas.

With CC’s relatively static financial performance last year revealing a 2% drop in revenue to £1.271m alongside a 9% drop in profit per equity partner to £983,000, a former partner says any successor to Layton may not have an easy job ahead of them: ‘They were always swinging through the trees in terms of one job to the next rather than really digging in and forming relationships. In many ways, it was a frustration – corporate didn’t feed work into certain practices because it didn’t have that trusted legal advisor status. There’s a question mark as to whether they will ever make that break.’

In October, high-profile litigator Jeremy Sandelson – who early in the global managing partner election process was tipped as a possible contender for the role – was re-appointed as global head of the litigation and dispute resolution practice.

Clifford Chance declined to comment.