In an emphatic endorsement of five years’ sustained revenue growth, Ashurst global chief executive Paul Jenkins has been reinstated for a further four-year term from 1 November 2022.
Having originally been elected CEO in 2016, Jenkins has successfully guided Ashurst through a tricky post-merger period, with revenues far exceeding expectations. Turnover stuttered in the years immediately following Ashurst’s 2013 merger with Australian firm Blake Dawson, but over the course of Jenkins’ tenure the firm’s revenue has jumped by 40% with an average annual growth rate of over 7%.
In the latest round of financial results in July 2021, Ashurst breached the £1m-profit-per-equity-partner barrier for the first time since the global financial crisis, while revenues received a double-digit boost to reach £711m.
Just like in 2019, Jenkins’ appointment was based on extensive consultations with the firm’s partnership and staff as conducted by Ashurst’s board – underlining his popular internal support.
Ashurst’s global chair Karen Davies, who was elected in 2021 as successor to Ben Tidswell , said of Jenkins: ‘This significant growth has been achieved through setting a clear vision and direction for the firm and disciplined strategic planning. It has included sharpening the firm’s sector focus, strengthening our capabilities in key markets and focusing on our clients and people. Inclusion, diversity and belonging has been a particular priority, as has advancing our responsible business and sustainability agenda.’
Jenkins said he relished that his appointment will coincide with Ashurst’s 200th anniversary in 2022, before setting out his key priorities: ‘Ashurst, like any other business, will be managing the lasting effects of the pandemic during 2022 and beyond. Continuing to adjust to the societal and economic impact of the pandemic will be key, including prioritising the ongoing health and well-being of our people, and encouraging new ways of working.
‘We are focused on unlocking growth for our clients, and see opportunities across our five priority sectors arising from the significant investment by our clients in sustainability, energy transition, digital transformation and new digital assets. The opportunities for growth point to a future that is very different to the past.’
In terms of strategic highlights from his current term, the firm points to ‘significant investments’ in its new law business Ashurst Advance as well as its consulting arm, Ashurst Consulting. Ashurst claims that the Advance platform has nearly doubled in size each year of Jenkins’ tenure, while Ashurst Consulting has turned over more than £10m in revenue since its 2020 launch.
Since the 2020 financial year, Ashurst has achieved 30% revenue growth in Continental Europe. And in more people-focused achievements, the firm has reached a 30% target of women in senior leadership roles, with 50% on Ashurst’s global executive team and 61% in senior business services roles.
Looking ahead, Jenkins told Legal Business: ‘Generally law firms have had a solid 12 months. I don’t want to speak too soon but common with the market, we are seeing very strong activity over the last nine months. All the signs are positive.’