Legal Business

The future in the instant: Burness completes leadership overhaul of Scottish independents

With Brodies having completed a generational overhaul of its leadership recently, a changing of the guard at rival Scottish independent Burness Paull  will take place this summer for the first time in over a decade.

Burness Paull corporate head Peter Lawson and property and infrastructure head Tamar Tammes will become the firm’s chairman and managing partner respectively from August this year. They replace longstanding figurehead and chairman Philip Rodney and managing partner Ian Wattie, who have held their positions for more than 12 years.

Rodney (pictured) is leaving the firm to pursue personal projects, while Wattie will provide strategic consultancy over the next year on the final stages of key projects. The leadership change follows a year-long shadowing process.

Chairman-elect Lawson said he and Tammes will look to a ‘new generation’ of leaders for the firm’s next chapter, adding: ‘Philip and Ian have led the firm through a transformational process and will leave their roles with the firm in great shape. It is an exciting time for the firm, which has a very clear growth strategy.’

Tammes commented: ‘Over 40% of our work is now international, and we have recently become the sole UK-headquartered member of Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms. That puts us in a unique position to ensure our clients get the best possible advice and support for their businesses, both in the UK and internationally.’

The firm advised on 296 transactions with a total value of £42.8bn in the year to March 2018, and alongside Brodies has been the most successful independent Scottish player over the last five years. However, the past year or so has seen some turbulence following a steady climb: its financials for 2016/17 were flat, with turnover up 1% to £53.8m from £53.3m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) stands at £453,000 compared to £451,000 the previous year. Additionally, overall profit was down 2% from £22.5m to £22m. The firm also drew a line under a £160m dispute relating to its legacy business Paull & Williamsons earlier this year.

Succession at Burness after a long spell of consistent leadership comes following the announcement in January that Brodies managing partner Bill Drummond is stepping down after 20 years as managing partner . Drummond makes way for current real estate head Nick Scott, representing a handover to a younger generation of leadership after a hugely successful run. Drummond steps down this month after driving phenomenal financial growth as managing partner.

hamish.mcnicol@legalease.co.uk