Goodwin swoops on Travers for London private equity partner duo

Ian Keefe and George Weevil latest partners to switch firms as lateral hiring spree across City continues

Goodwin Procter has hired a pair of private equity M&A partners in London from Travers Smith as firms continue to compete for senior private equity talent.

Ian Keefe and George Weavil, both Travers lifers who made partner in 2018, bring extensive experience in pan-European and international private equity and M&A transactions to Goodwin’s London office.  

Their hire follows Goodwin private equity partners Christian Iwasko, Michelle Tong and Priya Rupal moving to Fried Frank earlier this year while for Travers it is an unwelcome reminder of a period in the first half of last year when it lost a raft of partners to rivals.

Keefe and Weavil have worked with the likes of Bridgepoint, TA Associates and The Carlyle Group as well as smaller mid-market PE firms such as Phoenix Equity Partners and CGE Partners. They advise on a full range of transactions including leveraged buyouts, consortium deals, carve-outs, recapitalisations and distressed M&A as well as public-to-privates, joint ventures and restructurings, among other matters.

At Goodwin, the pair will work as part of a top-ranked private equity team noted by Chambers for its strength in mid-market investments and exit transactions. The team includes Band 1 practitioners David Mardle and Richard Lever, who like the incoming Travers partners, have acted for TA Associates and Graphite Capital on investments and sales.  

A Travers spokesperson commented: “We would like to thank Ian and George for their contribution to our firm and wish them the best in their new roles.”

Their move to Goodwin follows a string of partner defections from Travers early last year that began in January with news the firm’s former private equity and financial sponsors head, Ian Shawyer, was moving to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.  

Over the next few months M&A tax lead Jessica Kemp signed up with White & Case, private equity rising star Genna Marten moved over to Linklaters and veteran funds formation partner Sam Kay joined Dechert.

Travers also lost a trio of funds partners to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, with the firm restocking its funds bench in the summer with Tosin Adeyeri, who joined as a partner from Proskauer Rose.

The market for top private equity talent has become even more competitive with Paul Weiss’s arrival as a major force in London. Since last September it has hired 21 partners from rival firms in private equity or related fields. 

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