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Six frontrunners emerge from pack in A&O management race

With next year set to be senior partner David Morley’s and global managing partner Wim Dejonghe’s final terms at Allen & Overy (A&O), three names have emerged as primary candidates to take over each role one month ahead of formal nominations.

Indications from within the firm are that the frontrunners for the senior partner role include global disputes head Tim House and global banking co-head Stephen Kensell, alongside Dejonghe, who has the option to seek election to succeed Morley as senior partner having completed two terms as global managing partner.

Replacing Dejonghe will likely be either co-head of global corporate Andrew Ballheimer, or the other global banking co-head, Andrew Trahair. Finance partner Michael Castle is the other key name to emerge, having also been cited as a strong potential candidate. He has experience of secured and unsecured, domestic and cross-border banking transactions including general lending, structured finance, margin lending, real estate finance, emerging markets and restructuring.

While these six names are the most likely candidates, other names may emerge when nominations formally open.

Both Morley and Dejonghe will step down from their current leadership roles next year, with Morley retiring from the firm after 36 years.

The firm’s small, partner-driven organising committee will oversee the election process and call for partners to put themselves forward next month, after which the nominees will be officially announced and the campaigning process will begin. The vote is not scheduled until early next year, followed by the handover period. The new leadership roles will take effect in May 2016.