30 Sep 2021

Bowmans picks leading M&A lawyer as new chair and senior partner

Ezra Davids takes over the leadership role from Robert Legh, who passed away earlier this year

Ezra Davids Image courtesy of Bowmans

South African law firm Bowmans has elected M&A lawyer Ezra Davids as its new chairman and senior partner, succeeding Robert Legh who passed away unexpectedly in July.

Davids steps up from deputy chair, having assumed that role in March, adding to his long-term position as chair of the firm’s corporate and M&A practice. Davids’ five-year term as chair and senior partner begins on October 1.

Alan Keep, Bowmans managing partner, said: “The partnership was unanimous in our selection of Ezra as leader. I can think of no one better to take us forward in our quest to build the pre-eminent African law firm, supporting our clients and our people as they seek to unlock opportunities, overcome challenges and realise the potential on the continent.”

Davids has worked on some of the continent’s biggest M&A deals in recent years, including advising PepsiCo on its $1.7bn acquisition of Pioneer Foods and SAB Miller on the local aspects of its mega-merger with international drinks giant AB InBev.

David Mpanga, Kampala-based deputy chairman, said: “Ezra is a superb M&A lawyer who understands the complexity of our clients’ businesses and the increasingly sophisticated regulatory environment across Africa. Within the firm, he is seen as an inclusive, inspirational leader with a strong commitment to fairness and social justice.”

That commitment to fairness and social justice also extends beyond his responsibilities at Bowmans, serving on the boards of the Social Justice Initiative and Freedom of Law and advising the Legal Resources Centre on fundraising.

He said: “Success to me means ensuring that Bowmans is the undoubted leader in the provision of world-class legal services to our clients across the African continent. To do this we need to attract, develop and retain the best and most diverse talent, and create an environment in which they flourish. We also need to do what we can for the betterment of the societies in which we operate so that the continent as a whole develops and prospers.”

Moray McLaren, co-founder of Lexington Consultants, added: “Ezra was always a star of the next generation of South African lawyers. Across Africa he’s highly respected for his capital markets and M&A work, while at home he’s been a champion for economic empowerment and social justice.”

Following Legh’s death in July, the firm said it had lost a leader, a partner, a colleague and a friend. He had been at Bowmans since joining as an associate in 1986, founding the firm’s competition practice in 1998 and becoming chairman and senior partner in 2014.

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