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Slater & Gordon UK chief Kinsella retires amid turbulent period for PI group

Australia-listed Slater & Gordon‘s UK chief, Neil Kinsella, has retired and will be succeeded by the firm’s UK head of general law, Siri Siriwardene.

Announced today (5 February) Kinsella (pictured) served as chief executive of Russell Jones & Walker when the firm was bought by the rapidly-expanding Slater & Gordon in 2012 and has held a number of senior positions, including its first UK chief executive and more recently as interim head of general law UK.

This news follows the firm’s announcement in late January that it plans to axe two of its UK offices, a move that could affect 51 staff in Derby and Manchester.

It has been a turbulent few months for Slater & Gordon, with problems having arisen following its £637m acquisition of the professional services division of Quindell last year, which was followed by an 86% fall in share value on the Australian Stock Exchange. In October, the firm posted revised accounts that showed UK profit after tax of nearly £20m against a revenue of £128m for the 2014/15 financial year, while its Australia operation saw a net profit of £21m on income of £145m. The firm revised the accounts after an audit of its UK business.

There have been further media reports in London and Australia this week that the ASX-listed group is currently in talks over debt restructuring and has brought in FTI Consulting in a bid to address its financial health. On this, the firm refused to comment.

In January it also emerged Slater & Gordon was facing a further inquiry as its lenders appointed their own forensic accountants to examine the books. The firm withdrew its earnings guidance late last year, which prompted rival firm Maurice Blackburn to open registrations to shareholders wanting to pursue a class action.

During his time at S&G Kinsella oversaw a significant extension of the UK business, including the bolt-ons of claimant PI firms Fentons and John Pickering & Partners, as well as a substantial chunk of Manchester stalwart Pannone – all in 2013.

Slater & Gordon’s managing director Andrew Grech said: ‘After working on a succession plan with Neil Kinsella for the last few years he has now decided it is time to retire from the Slater & Gordon business. During his time with the firm, he has steered Slater & Gordon into a new era of working, embracing technological advances to ensure that clients receive outstanding service in ways which suit them best.’