Legal Business Blogs

Martyr bows out after two-decade reign as NRF chooses new chief executive

The reign of one of global law’s longest-serving leaders will come to an end shortly with Peter Martyr completing his final term for Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) at the end of this year, the firm announced today (17 August).

Replacing Martyr will be global head of disputes Gerry Pecht, meaning the firm will be led by a partner from its legacy Fulbright & Jaworski hub in Texas after almost two decades of leadership out of London. Pecht specialises in commercial litigation involving securities and investigations in the energy sector, and has headed up the practice since 2014. 

Martyr (pictured) was first appointed at the head of legacy Norton Rose in 2002, becoming the architect behind the transformation of the City firm from ailing Magic Circle challenger into global giant via a series of mergers in the US, Australia, Canada and South Africa. His sixth and final term began in October 2017.

Pecht commented: ‘Over the past ten years, we have built a global platform with exceptional lawyers serving valued clients in virtually every major business centre. The quality of our people around the world enables us to collaborate on a truly global level. I look forward to building on our platform and taking our firm to the next phase of its evolution.’

Attention will now turn to see if the election of Pecht ushers in a new style of leadership at NRF, with Martyr’s long tenure attracting some criticism from partners regarding a lack of consultation and transparency, despite his re-invention of NRF into a global competitor. 

Commented Martyr: ‘Gerry is a highly experienced business leader, with whom I have worked closely over the past eight years. Gerry is a US lawyer with a global personal and professional background, making him well equipped to drive the firm’s global business transformation strategy. The firm is in good hands, and I am certain it will flourish under his leadership.’

In February of this year the firm announced other changes in its leadership, EMEA managing partner Martin Scott being replaced by antitrust head Peter Scott. 

For more analysis of Martyr’s leadership, see our 2016 piece ‘On the bus – Inside the Norton Rose Fulbright masterplan’ (£)