Legal Business Blogs

SJ Berwin creates new COO role with hire of McKinsey’s Baumgartner

Top 25 City firm SJ Berwin has announced the hire of Rick Baumgartner as the firm’s first-ever chief operating officer (COO). Baumgartner will join on September 9 from leading management consultancy group McKinsey & Company.

Baumgartner has over ten years’ experience with McKinsey, prior to which he worked at the Australian stock exchange and has held senior roles at accountancy giants Ernst & Young and Deloitte.

The move comes as the top 25 City firm focuses on adapting to the pressures and wholesale changes facing the legal profession.

Stephen Kon, senior partner at SJ Berwin, said: ‘As the legal market continues to experience unprecedented change we believe Rick will add tremendous insight to how we not only adapt to those pressures but how we create an infrastructure that is market leading in the legal profession.’

Managing partner Rob Day (pictured) added: ‘I have been reviewing our support structure for some time and felt that with the level of operational change currently being experienced within the profession, a heavy-weight COO would give us a tremendous advantage in adapting to a fast moving market. Rick is without doubt a class act and proves that we are serious about constantly improving our business for the good of our clients and our people.’

The review of the support structure that Day refers to includes the firm’s appointment of Simon Gill as permanent financial director earlier this year after former FD Mike Giles resigned. It also hired William Stancer as head of business development from Chinese outsourcing provider Bleum last year and brought in Rachel Reid as strategy director from Mayer Brown’s London office.

Other firms to have created a COO role include Olswang in 2011 with the hire of Simon Glynn and in the same year Field Fisher Waterhouse promoted HR director Charlie Keeling to the COO role.