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Tidswell goes unchallenged in securing second term as Ashurst chair

Ben Tidswell has been handed another term as chair of Ashurst following an election which last week culminated in his leadership going unchallenged.

The City firm launched an election process at the start of May, giving opponents until the end of that month to put themselves forward for the role. But it is understood no other partners stood in the election.

Tidswell’s new term will run from 1 November 2018 for four years, building on an initial five-year stint in the role which started in 2013. The initial five-year run was one of the conditions of Ashurst’s merger with Australian firm Blake Dawson in 2013.

Tidswell has been at the helm through a rocky time, which saw turnover hit by two consecutive years of decline following the controversial merger, as well as a string of partner exits.

Earlier this year, however, Ashurst’s LLP accounts indicated a hit of recovery with a 12% turnover boost to £541m from £505m the previous year. The 2016/17 LLP accounts also showed show PEP rose 12% to £672,000 in 2016/17 after a 19% drop in 2015/16, when numbers plummeted from £747,000 to £603,000.

Paul Jenkins, managing partner of Ashurst, commented: ‘Over the last five years, [Tidswell] has demonstrated exceptional leadership and client skills which have played a critical role in allowing us to capitalise on the many opportunities we have as a firm. We had a very strong year and I am confident that we will achieve some outstanding results in the year ahead.’

Tidswell commented: ‘I am excited about the prospects that lie ahead for us and what we can collectively achieve and I look forward to working with Paul, the executive team, the board and all of my colleagues globally to build on our achievements as a high performance and collaborative firm.’

Tidswell joined Ashurst in 1993 and has been a partner in the City-based dispute resolution team since 2000. He was a member and chair of the new partners committee from 2004 to 2007 and was appointed to the board of Ashurst LLP in 2007.

Apart from London-based Tidswell and Jenkins, who splits his time between London and Sydney, the Ashurst board includes partners Karen Davies (London), Bernd Egbers (Munich), James Marshall (Sydney), Barbara Phair (Sydney), Jason Radford (London) and chief financial and operating officer Jan Gooze-Zijl (London) and independent board members Robert Gillespie and David Turner.

Ashurst has recently been replenishing its benches in London and internationally after a series of departures over the last few months.

Last week, the firm hired Baker McKenzie’s global co-head of securitisation Jonathan Walsh, in a move to counteract three big City losses last year. This included corporate partners James Wood and Dominic Ross leaving for Sidley Austin and White & Case respectively, while disputes stalwart Ben Giaretta joined Mishcon de Reya.

The firm did begin 2018 with some City appointments, however, including litigator Alison Hardy from Squire Patton Boggs.