In an appointment which will take effect on 1 May this year, Turnill will succeed Cooke who was M&A head at the UK’s most profitable law firm for more than 15 years. In January Cooke was given a five year term as senior partner, to replace the retiring Chris Saul.
Turnill trained at Slaughter and May and became a partner in 2004. He has a broad commercial and corporate finance practice spanning public takeovers, private acquisitions and disposals and public equity offerings. Recent transactions include advising Vodafone on the merger of its Dutch operations with those of Liberty Global and Royal Dutch Shell on its £47bn combination with BG Group.
Turnill said: ‘My focus will be to ensure that we continue to earn the trust that clients place in us and develop the exceptional talent and commitment that exists within our team.’
Saul said: ‘I am delighted that Roland has been elected as head of our M&A practice. He is an outstanding corporate lawyer, respected by clients and colleagues alike.’
Incoming senior partner Cooke has told Legal Business he will retain the firm’s City focus when he takes up the role later this year.
Cooke said: ‘There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think: “Why can’t we get more clients?” We will always try to do better. There’s no glass ceiling where we can’t do any better.’
He added: ‘Our culture is one of our great strengths. Being a real partnership, and maintaining the engagement and enthusiasm of partners, is critical to who and what we are. I wouldn’t want to mess with that.’
For more on Slaughter and May see: ‘The new boy – can Ryde & co keep Slaughters’ deal team on top? ‘