City firm RPC has launched an election process for a new managing partner following the recent retirement of longstanding head Jonathan Watmough, who steps down after nearly a decade in the role.
The election for his successor will be held in January 2017 and the firm’s new leader will assume the role in February. Commercial head Tim Anderson and insurance head James Miller will act as de facto joint managing partners in the meantime.
Corporate lawyer Watmough (pictured) joined the firm as a trainee in 1991, and was promoted to partner in 1998. He was elected as chairman of RPC’s management board in 2006, and appointed managing partner in 2008.
One of the most consistent success stories of the UK legal market in recent years, Watmough has seen the firm through substantial investment and growth.
RPC, which is known for its work with the insurance industry, branched out into management consultancy in 2015, targeting its core insurance clients and hired Rory O’Brien, former global head of risk consulting at Towers Watson to lead the venture.
It added to this business with the launch of a consultancy for in-house lawyers. Dubbed RPC Perform, the consultancy is headed by Julia Chain, the former general counsel of T-Mobile.
International expansion saw the firm complete a tie-up with Singapore firm Premier Law, expanding its presence in South East Asia to target claims against major banks, giving the firm with four offices: in London, Bristol, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Financials have been steadily rising, with the firm posting 12% revenue growth in 2014/15, a result muted slightly by this year’s revenue rise of 6%, to £100.5m from £94.4m. The core law firm business’s profits rose by 1%, with Watmough calling the result ‘a stellar year’. Watmough said the 6% increase was a great achievement given the uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum.
On his retirement, Watmough said it was a ‘natural time’ to move on and added: ‘It is time to both try something new and to give someone else their chance. I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve and I am delighted to leave the firm in excellent health.’
Senior partner Rupert Boswall commented that during Watmough’s tenure, the firm has had success ‘both in terms of the modernisation and reshaping of the business, as well as the strong growth and financial performance achieved.’