Olswang has concluded an extensive governance review that has seen the creation of an executive committee responsible for the firm’s management and strategy.
The review, led by general counsel Simon Callander, has also resulted in a complete overhaul of the firm’s board, which will now reflect the voice of the partnership and act as a check and balance to the committee’s primary decision-making role.
The new committee was selected by Olswang’s chief executive officer David Stewart – who was re-elected for a further term on 8 April – and will come into effect on 1 May.
Aside from Stewart and Callander, the committee consists of corporate head Fabrizio Carpanini and litigation group head Richard Bamforth in the UK as well as Spanish managing partner Javier Vasserot in Madrid and German managing partner Christian Schede. Non-lawyer committee members include chief operating officer Simon Glynn and Ffion Griffith, the global director of HR at the firm.
Over the past few years Olswang has enjoyed rapid growth, which has seen it open offices in Singapore, Paris, Munich and Madrid.
Callander – who before joining Olswang in 2011 was general counsel at global consulting firm Watson Wyatt and assisted with its transition from partnership to LLP and then New York Stock Exchange listing, told Legal Business:’The international growth played some part to the review. There was no critical point where we thought this had to be done. One of the drivers was streamlining and efficiency and the other was improving clarity around decision making, moving to a structure with checks and balances.’
Meanwhile, Olswang has also replaced its practice heads, with Rob Bratby, recently appointed as managing partner of the firm’s Asian office, being replaced by
Iain Stansfield as head of commercial. Bratby said: ‘I’m very happy about recent changes – this really sets us up to take things forward and I get to focus all my attention here.’
Head of finance Moni Mannings has been replaced by Charles Kerrigan, while Paul Stevens has taken over as head of IP from Mike Burdon. Both Burdon and Mannings are returning to full-time fee earning. Elsewhere, real estate head Gary Watson will retire and Jonathan Lewis will replace him. Both Bamforth and Carpanini remain in their roles as heads of litigation and corporate respectively.
Callander said: ‘Everyone felt they had a stake in the debate and voiced their feelings. It was seen as truly independent by the partnership as a whole.’