The governance body, headed by senior partner Robert Elliot, will pick from global banking chief Gideon Moore, finance and projects head Michael Kent, Asia managing partner Marc Harvey, disputes chief Michael Bennett, Western Europe managing partner Pieter Riemer and co-head of operational intelligence Tom Shropshire.
The 12-person board will select a candidate from the line-up and put them to a partnership vote to ratify the appointment this autumn.
Kent, who has long made clear his intention to become the next managing partner, and high profile Moore had emerged as the early frontrunners for the top job before Bennett came forward as a contender. Shropshire’s surprise inclusion sees the New York-qualified corporate and capital markets partner register as an outside chance for the role, having only made partner in 2006. He counts National Grid, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Rio Tinto as clients and has been named as one of the UK’s most influential black people for the past three years by Powerlist.
The firm will have a new managing partner in place by its partner conference on 17 November to ensure a handover period before Davies steps away a year early to join Lloyds Bank. The firm’s two-term leader will take up a post on 1 January as the banking giant’s chief legal, people and strategy officer.
Moore, who has a more international practice than Kent, is deemed to have had a successful four years in charge of the firm’s banking group, which accounts for about 25% of the firm’s global revenue. Having had a strong run on the back of a buoyant restructuring market following the financial crisis, many inside Linklaters feel Moore has outperformed his peers at other Magic Circle firms in guiding the group through a more difficult period recently amid a shift from traditional bank lending to other financing models. Kent, however, has a wider support base.
The senior partner race, which is traditionally concluded six months before the managing partner election, has taken a backseat following the surprise resignation of Davies. That position will be confirmed in September 2016, with corporate heavyweight Charlie Jacobs and co-head of global M&A Jean-Pierre Blumberg in the running.
Elliott, who is overseeing the managing partner election and attending executive committee meetings in light of Davies’ earlier than expected departure, is widely expected to stay on at the firm in a consultant capacity once his term ends on 30 September 2016. David Cheyne, who Elliott succeeded as managing partner in 2011, was similarly asked to stay at the firm and kept on as a consultant.