'An incomprehensible loss' - Skadden mourns death of M&A trailblazer Scott Simpson

Simpson, who passed away suddenly at 65, was one of Europe's most influential M&A lawyers

Scott Simpson Image courtesy of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Skadden is mourning the loss of renowned partner Scott Simpson, who has died suddenly at the age of 65. 

Simpson, who spent his entire career with Skadden, most recently served as head of the firm’s global transactions practices. 

‘Scott’s talent, collegiality and sense of fun will be sorely missed by colleagues globally,’ the firm said.  

‘As we grapple with this incomprehensible loss, our most heartfelt thoughts go out to Scott's wife, Kathleen, and his children Caitlin, Victor and Mairead, as well as to our colleagues around the globe who were touched by him.’

Simpson was widely regarded as one of the Europe’s most influential M&A lawyers, having worked on a number of the most famous contested deals of the last two decades. Among them was Arcelor’s $33bn merger with Mittal Steel and Gucci’s defence against a hostile takeover attempt by LVMH, a deal which led to a lengthy relationship with the luxury brand. 

He also represented Mannesmann AG in its $199bn merger with Vodafone AirTouch in 1999 and 2000, a deal which is billed as the largest corporate acquisition to date.  

The firm said Simpson always approached such monster deals with ‘intelligence, creativity and an unflinching dedication to both our firm and our clients’.

Simpson is credited with the success of Skadden’s European platform, which he helped kick start in 1990 when he joined then office leader Bruce Buck in London for what was supposed to be a two-year stint in the City. He didn’t leave and in the event spent the next 32 years there. 

His status as one of the most influential lawyers in Europe was recognised by among others the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the American Lawyer. 

In a tribute posted on LinkedIn, Skadden CFIUS and national security practice head Michael Leiter said: "Scott was a legal trailblazer, the truest of friends and mentors, an absolute gentleman and an adored husband and father. Scott more than anyone welcomed and supported me upon my arrival at Skadden and he was taken from all of his friends and family far, far too soon. All of us are better for having known him and we are holding the entire Simpson family in our hearts through this terrible time.”

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