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‘Taking its time to reflect on the next phase’: Kennedys CEO steps down without a successor in place

Kennedys chief executive officer Guy Stobart has announced he will stand down at the end of 2014 after five years of leading the firm.

At Kennedys, there is not an official term length for leadership roles, but Stobart told Legal Business that now was the right time to make this decision. He will continue in a consultancy role until April 2015 during which he will continue various projects, including a review of the firm’s current tax structure, after which he will leave the firm.

‘One of the many joys of this job is that you are at the centre of things and acquire a lots of wisdom, and this does not disappear overnight. There are many things that I am happy to continue doing,’ added Stobart.

The firm has no current plans to replace him, Stobart added the firm is ‘rightly taking its time to reflect on the next phase and succession’. In the meantime, senior partner Nick Thomas will assume the chief executive duties.

During Stobart’s tenure, the firm’s turnover has almost doubled from £68m in 2009 to £128.5m this year, while headcount has grown from 796 to over 1250. This is alongside the launch of five new offices, in Europe and Latin America, over the same period. 

Stobart joined Kennedys as chief executive in 2009 and has managed nine UK offices as well as ten outside of the UK. He helped develop Kennedys’ business services team, as well as introducing agile working, upgrading the firm’s IT system, implementing a practice management system and outsourcing information services to Integreon.

Before Kennedys, Stobart completed three terms as managing partner at Burges Salmon, where he worked for over 26 years, and was appointed managing partner in 1995 and then again in 2001. He became a partner at Burges Salmon in 1986 after joining as an assistant in 1983. Prior to this, Stobart was an articled clerk and assistant solicitor at Slaughter and May for five years and a half years.

Kennedys senior partner Nick Thomas said: ‘Guy has made a very valuable impact on Kennedys’ business, having been part of taking a great business and making it ever stronger. I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next and thank him for the commitment he has made to Kennedys’ growth agenda. One of his legacies is the team of business services directors in place to continue spearheading our growth.’