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Seward misses out as A&O names its Price for managing partner successor

After a hard-fought election which saw four vie for leadership, the Allen & Overy (A&O) partnership has thrown its weight behind Gareth Price as its new managing partner.

The global head of both the projects and energy group, Price joins Wim Dejonghe, who was earlier this week re-elected to a second stint as senior partner, to complete the City giant’s leadership.

He will take over from the venerable Andrew Ballheimer on 1 May 2020, following his retirement after 35 years at the firm.

While the senior partner contest was a two-horse race, with incumbent Dejonghe going head-to-head with the popular banking co-head Philip Bowden, the managing partner spot saw a more diverse pool throwing in for the role.

The hotly-tipped and high-profile litigation head Karen Seward was the other London candidate, while Vicki Liu, the managing partner of Hong Kong and APAC and regional head of banking, and Dirk Meeus, the Belgium managing partner and co-head of global corporate in Brussels, were also in the running.

Price trained at A&O and made partner in the projects practice in 2003. He has been global head of the projects and energy group for the last eight years.

He commented: ‘I am very grateful for the support of the partnership in being elected to this role. A&O has always been a place of innovation and entrepreneurship and I look forward to working closely with Wim as senior partner to ensure the firm continues to flourish and push the boundaries in legal service delivery as a global elite law firm.’

Price and Dejonghe will have a challenging four years ahead if they are to fulfil the US ambitions dashed by Ballheimer and Dejonghe’s forced abandonment of a merger with West Coast firm O’Melveny & Myers last autumn. The plan will have to include sustained investment in the US business, along the lines of Ballheimer’s promise last September for ‘more focus and speed of execution’ in its Stateside recruitment push.

Ballheimer announced his intention to retire in December, having been managing partner since May 2016 and, before that, global co-head of corporate.