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Presidential appointment: ICC picks Alexis Mourre to head International Court of Arbitration

Alexis Mourre, a founding partner of French disputes boutique Castaldi Mourre & Partners, is set to replace John Beechey as president of the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration.

The ICC’s executive board has unanimously recommended Mourre to succeed Beechey, who headed Clifford Chance’s international arbitration practice until his appointment at the ICC in 2009, on 1 July 2015. The recommendation will be submitted to the 130-strong ICC World Council for approval at its meeting in Turin, Italy, in June 2015.

Mourre, who is a serving vice-president of the ICC Court and past vice chair of the IBA arbitration committee, has been a member of the Paris Bar since 1998. He has also been appointed as an arbitrator to three panels at the World Bank’s arbitration court ICSID, including a $120m claim by drinks maker Société Industrielle des Boissons de Guinée against West African state Guinea.

He also heads the international arbitration and litigation department of Castaldi Mourre & Partners, a 30-lawyer firm with offices in Paris and Milan. As of September 2013, he has acted in more than 170 ad hoc or institutional commercial arbitration proceedings as counsel, expert witness, co-arbitrator, chairman or sole arbitrator. Mourre said: ‘I look forward to building on the successes of the outgoing presidency to continue improving the quality and efficiency of the services provided by the ICC International Court of Arbitration.’

Joe Tirado, co-head of international arbitration at Winston & Strawn, told Legal Business: ‘His appointment is no surprise. Alexis is intimate with the workings of the ICC and is well regarded by his peers.  An Anglo-Saxon replacement was perhaps unlikely, given that both John Beechey and former secretary general Jason Fry [now co-head of international arbitration at Clifford Chance] are both common law lawyers.’ 

A leading arbitration partner, who did not want to be named, added: ‘He lacks 10 years’ worth of experience that would have given him the gravitas and the weight for the role. John has been a breath of fresh air and gave the institution the shake-up it needed. Alexis is more international than John, whose abrupt manner didn’t always translate well, but John had the proven track record.’

The ICC is the most commonly used arbitration centre in the world, registering 767 requests for arbitration in 2013 and handing out over 471 awards. However, competition is mounting, with London Court of International Arbitration receiving a record 301 claims in 2013, up 10% on the previous year, and centres in Hong Kong and Singapore attracting increasing volumes of work.