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Ranson eyes Eversheds’ chief exec role as he leads growth drive

In a move which sets him in a strong position to run for chief executive when incumbent Bryan Hughes steps down in 2017, Eversheds managing partner Lee Ranson (pictured) has been tasked with leading a ‘Growth Agenda’ following the firm’s subdued performance in this year’s Legal Business 100, which saw growth flatline, and profit per equity partner (PEP) edge up by 2%.

The strategy revamp was announced during a practice group conference this summer as the firm’s three-year plan came to an end. Ranson told Legal Business the agenda was about making sure junior lawyers coming through the business have the skillsets and opportunities to sell.

‘Quite often in this profession it is thought that only a select number of partners sell. We want to change that so all our people are looking at how they can grow the client relationship.’

Hughes, who is limited to serving two terms, is stepping down from his role as chief executive in May 2017, with the election for his successor expected to take place by the end of next year. Ranson added that he was keen to build on the platform he and Hughes had created: ‘I’m sure there will be a number of people who have a vision for the firm. Where I am at the moment, the next logical step for me would be to seek election as chief executive. All things being equal in 18 months’ time.’

In the meantime, the new growth drive that Ranson is leading will see senior partners spend more time mentoring associates and junior partners to be more commercial, as well as sales training and investment into budgeting and available resources. Hughes said: ‘We would like revenue to be a little more aggressive on the top line. Our three-year plan came to an end, we have tweaked the measures but will continue to drive our 2020 game plan along the same lines – the same channels of our client strategy, our people strategy.’

The 2014/15 financial year saw Eversheds post flat results, with revenue at £380.7m compared with £379.1m last year, while PEP increased from £731,000 to £749,000.