Legal Business Blogs

Stewart steps out of Goldstein shadow as Olswang hands popular head another term

TMT specialist Olswang has re-elected long-time head David Stewart as chief executive for another three years.

Before being elected chief executive, Stewart was the firm’s managing partner since 2007. He has been a driving force behind the corporate media specialist’s attempt to refashion itself as a credible international player. As important, Stewart was charged with becoming the public face of Olswang when thrusting and high profile chief executive Jonathan Goldstein announced his departure six years ago.

Stewart – who has been a popular leader internally – has overseen the London firm opening offices in Singapore last year, Paris and Munich in 2011 and Madrid in 2010.

‘The firm’s been behind us all the way, it’s a key part of the strategy,’ said Rob Bratby, managing partner of Olswang in Singapore. Despite missing out on a qualifying foreign law practice licence earlier this year, the firm is well established for TMT work in Singapore.

‘David’s re-election is a direct consequence of the clarity of his vision for Olswang and the results he has brought in his first term as CEO. The overwhelming vote in a high turnout poll demonstrates the partners’ confidence in David’s abilities,’ said Mark Devereux, senior partner of Olswang.

The 400-lawyer firm’s revenues grew by 17% in 2011/12 to £108.1m although its profits edged down by 3% to £23.2m. The firm has announced that its profit per equity partner has increased by 26% (though Olswang’s full equity ranks have been trimmed considerably in recent years).

‘The next three years will provide us with increased opportunities to grow and transform the firm in an ever-changing global market place that demands increased specialisation,’ said Stewart.

Olswang has faced mixed fortunes in recent years. The firm was hard hit by the 2008/09 recession, contributing to a stalling of growth between 2006 and 2011. However, the firm has appeared in more bullish mood over the last 18 months and is widely regarded as having built one of the strongest brands in the UK mid-tier.