14 Feb 2022

Ashurst CEO elected for third term

Paul Jenkins’ time at the helm has seen five consecutive years of growth and 40% revenue increase

Paul Jenkins with global chair Karen Davies Image courtesy of Ashurst

Paul Jenkins is to serve a third term as global chief executive officer of UK law firm Ashurst.

Jenkins, who led the firm’s global finance division prior to becoming CEO in 2016 and is based in Sydney and its London headquarters, will begin a further four-year term on 1 November.

“On behalf of the board, I am delighted to announce Paul’s reappointment as our global CEO,” Karen Davies, global chair said. “Paul has done an excellent job of leading Ashurst, particularly over the past two years through the pandemic and against a backdrop of growing challenges for our clients and disruption within the legal industry itself.  I am confident that he will continue to steer the business from strength to strength, as we head into the next phase of our growth."

Ashurst posted strong financial results for the 2020/21 financial year, including a 15% rise in profit per equity partner to just over £1m, and over the past five years has had five consecutive years of growth that has seen revenue rise by 40% and PEP by 72%.   

Davies said this had been achieved “through setting a clear vision and direction for the firm and disciplined strategic planning”, including sharpening its sector focus, strengthening its offering in key markets and focusing on clients and people. The firm’s five priority sectors ­– banks and private capital, infrastructure, energy and resources, digital economy and real estate – now account for more than 80% of its revenue.

Speaking about his reappointment, Jenkins said he has “great ambitions for the firm, am excited about the opportunities ahead and confident that Ashurst will continue its growth trajectory.” 

He added that there will be a number of challenges to address as he heads into his new term.

"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,” he said.

Jenkins said the firm sees opportunities for growth across its 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."

Jenkins’ tenure as CEO has seen the firm invest heavily in its NewLaw arm Ashurst Advance, which it said has almost doubled in size each year since its launch in 2016 and in late 2020 added leading Australian alternative legal services expert Hilary Goodier as a partner and COO from Herbert Smith Freehills, where she had led the tech arm of its ALS group.

The firm also set up Ashurst Consulting in 2020, which has grown to more than 60 consultants and more than £10m in revenue this financial year.  

Other prominent UK firms to announce leadership changes recently include HFW, which at the end of last month said that the head of its aviation practice, Giles Kavanagh, was to succeed Richard Crump as senior partner.  

Last December Clifford Chance also elected banking and finance lawyer Charles Adams to succeed Matthew Layton as its next global managing partner.

And last September Slaughter and May named Deborah Finkler as its first-ever managing partner as part of a broader effort to modernise its executive function that has also seen Jill Hoseason join the firm from rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for the newly-created role of COO. 

 

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