29 Nov 2022

Herbert Smith Freehills names UK ECM lead next joint corporate managing partner

HSF stalwart Mike Flockhart to succeed Stephen Wilkinson on 1 December

MIke Flockhart Image courtesy of Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has appointed Mike Flockhart as the new joint managing partner for its global corporate practice and the UK/US regional head of practice.

Flockhart will begin in his new role 1 December and succeed fellow London-based partner Stephen Wilkinson, who returns to full-time practice after four years in the role. Flockhart will work with fellow corporate managing partner Carolyn Pugsley, who is based in Melbourne, maintaining a UK-Australia axis that reflects the firm's key jurisdictions.

Flockhart, a corporate lawyer specialising in M&A and ECM transactions, joined Herbert Smith Freehills as a trainee in 2003 and has been a partner since 2013. He currently leads HSF’s UK equity capital markets team, specialising in advising listed companies and investment banks on corporate finance transactions across sectors including financial services, industrials, energy and natural resources, telecoms and real estate. 

Flockhart also frequently advises on public takeovers and private M&A transactions and regularly assists listed companies with corporate governance issues. 

His recent headline mandates include EasyJet's £1.2bn rights issue, the largest UK rights issue in the last two years, and Tryg's $4bn rights issue to fund the break-up bid for RSA. He has also advised The Weir Group on a series of significant strategic transactions including its $1.3bn acquisition of ESCO. 

Over the course of his career at HSF he has acted in the takeovers of TSB Banking Group and Polyus Gold and significant capital raises for companies including easyJet, Hammerson and Phoenix Group.

"Mike has shown strong leadership credentials in driving forward a number of people initiatives within the firm and heading up our ECM team in London,” said Ian Cox, HSF’s executive partner, practices. "He will work with Carolyn Pugsley and EMEA and Asia practice heads Alberto Frasquet and Graeme Preston. This leadership team will continue to build on the successes of our global corporate practice and drive forward the firm's Ambition 2025 strategy. I would also like to thank Stephen for his valuable contribution to the leadership of the firm."

Intended to cement HSF as a leading international law firm, the Ambition 2025 strategy includes the aim to grow Asia revenue from around 14% of the firm’s total to at least 20% by 2025. 

The firm will also focus on growing in New York and double down on the private capital, tech and cyber and data risk sectors, among others measures including data transformation and efforts to better understand employees’ views of what the firm should prioritise. 

The firm unveiled the 2025 strategy in February toward the end of a year of healthy revenue growth that saw it up fee income by 6% to hit £1.103bn against a 6% rise in profit per equity partner to £1.16m. 

That performance was anchored by work on more than 250 M&A deals worth more than $310bn in FY21/22 globally and reaching the top ranking in M&A league tables for Australia, Asia Pacific and the UK for the full 2021 calendar year, the firm said when it posted its financial results in July. 

"I am excited to take on this important role and look forward to working with Carolyn and my colleagues around the world to drive forward the business and capitalise on the momentum we have built," said Flockhart. 

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