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Management overhaul for KWM SJ Berwin as dual corporate heads replace Davis

As King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin beds down its $1bn merger the Sino-Australian and UK giant has announced further changes to its management line up, with the news that Steven Davis will step down as City head of corporate to be replaced by dual heads Michael Goldberg (pictured) and Richard Lever.

With indications that further leadership changes are yet to come, the firm also announced yesterday (11 December) that Paris-based global partnership board member Maxence Bloch has been appointed as international head of corporate for the UK, continental Europe and the Middle East and will support both Goldberg and Lever in London.

Rob Day, managing partner of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin and a member of the international management committee, told Legal Business: ‘We are aiming to align ourselves to our new global position and capabilities.’

Day added in a statement: ‘Our corporate practice is the engine room of our firm and a key pillar for its future success. Michael, Richard and Max demonstrate great values and I am confident they will continue to develop our corporate practice in London and internationally, leveraging the opportunities for our clients presented by our combination with King & Wood Mallesons.’

Goldberg focuses on corporate real estate and M&A and is said by the firm to have a track record of institutionalizing and developing clients within the business while Lever specialises in private equity, a core strength for legacy SJ Berwin. International head of corporate Rupert Li, one of the key practice leaders announced shortly before the merger went live on 1 November, will remain in that role.

The news comes after the firm announced changes to its real estate management line up in October, with William Boss becoming co-head of the London real estate group alongside incumbent head Simon Ricketts. Bryan Pickup remains as international head of real estate, while London-based Ed Page and Madrid-based Enrique Isla took on the role of joint head of the international real estate sector group.

Further announcements can be expected as Day said that the firm regularly looks at the leadership of its groups and plans further changes as soon as the New Year arrives.

Since the merger went live, the firm has lost real estate heavyweight David Ryland to Paul Hastings, as he retired from the partnership after 25 years with the firm. Just before the merger, private equity partner Ed Harris left for Hogan Lovells.

For further recent commentary on KWM’s tie up with SJ Berwin see It’s big, it’s here – King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin launches and unveils global management team