Hogan Lovells' new CEO announces major overhaul of structure and leadership

UK merged into new EMEA grouping as firm's centre of gravity shifts away from London ten years after transatlantic merger

Miguel Zaldivar Image courtesy of Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells’ incoming chief executive, Miguel Zaldivar, has announced a radical shake up of the firm’s structure and leadership in a bid to speed up decision making.

Ten years after the merger between US firm Hogan & Hartson and London’s Lovells that created the firm, the UK and Africa region is being folded into a wider EMEA division in a move that will be interpreted as diminution of the London arm’s influence over the firm’s direction.

The Americas and Washington DC arms are also being merged as are the corporate and finance groups and the regulatory and IPTM groups.

Under the simplified structure the firm will be divided into three regions — Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific — and three practice areas: corporate and finance; litigation, arbitration and employment; and global regulatory and IPMT.

The changes will take effect on 1 July when Zaldivar succeeds Steve Immelt as chief executive.

“I set out my priorities in December as being: client service; investment in our key markets; incentivising even more collaboration across the partnership; managing our profitability; and supporting citizenship, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability,” he said. 

“The changes to our structures help achieve those priorities by bringing increased speed and efficiency to our management decision-making, continuing the work which Steve Immelt started in 2014 in moving from co-leaders to single leaders.”

UK and Africa managing partner and London office head Susan Bright, who has been appointed to the new role of global managing partner for diversity and inclusion and responsible business, is among a number of senior figures stepping down from frontline management roles 

Europe managing partner Paris-based Marie-Aimée de Dampierre will head up the new EMEA group while global banking head Penny Angell will take over from Bright as UK managing partner.

Other leadership changes will see Michele Farquhar succeed Eve Howard as Washington DC managing partner and Americas managing partner Cole Finegan make way for disputes partner Richard Lorenzo, who will head up the combined Americas group.

Current corporate head, Washington DC-based David Gibbons, will head up the new 400-partner strong corporate and finance division, while Alice Valder Curran will lead the global regulatory and IPMT group.

There has been a corresponding slimming down of the firm’s international management committee, from 13 to 9 permanent members.

It will comprise: Zaldivar; deputy CEO Michael Davison; Ina Brock (head of clients and industries); regional heads De Dampierre, Lorenzo and Lloyd Parker (Asia Pacific); and practice heads Gibbons, Valder Curran and Desmond Hogan (litigation arbitration and employment).

The heads of finance (Matthew Cottis) and IPMT (Burkhart Goebel) lose their automatic places on the committee and will be invited to attend when relevant matters arise. 

The same will apply to Angell, Farquhar and Stefan Schuppert as representatives of the key London, Washington DC and Germany practices.

Zaldivar said he had “tried to ensure continuity of leadership while prioritizing bringing on a new and diverse generation of leaders”.

Commenting on the merging of the corporate and finance groups, he said: “There is already a significant amount of overlap between corporate and finance, particularly in the capital markets space as well as in areas such as joint ventures, M&A, and commercial work. Bringing them together creates a powerful force for our clients.”

During Immelt’s tenure, the firm saw a 23% increase in revenue from US$1,717m in 2013 to US$2,119m in 2018 against a 15% rise in profits per equity partner.

Zaldivar’s reforms will be interpreted as a bid to accelerate the firm’s growth and profitability.

Currently head of the firm’s Asia, Pacific and Middle East arm, Zaldivar was elected to be the next chief executive in December.

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