NautaDutilh appoints second woman to three-strong leadership team

Marike Bakker replaces Chris Warner as co-managing partner alongside Sjoerd Meijer and Lieke van der Velden

Marike Bakker Photo courtesy of NautaDutilh

Dutch firm NautaDutilh has named investigations lawyer Marike Bakker as its new managing partner, replacing Chris Warner who has stepped down after six years in the role.

The move means that for the first time two of the three co-managing partners at the top 20 European independent firm are now women.

Bakker will serve on the management board alongside co-managing partners Sjoerd Meijer and Lieke van der Velden, who were appointed last year. She will continue to co-head the firm’s corporate crime and investigations team

The firm has set itself the target of having a balanced gender ratio at all levels by 2025 and reports that at the end of 2022 the ratio was 40% female compared to 31% in 2021.

Meijer said: “[Bakker] is a leader in her field, she brings tons of energy to everything she does and is great to work with. Lieke and I look forward to lead NautaDutilh towards its 300th anniversary in 2024 together with Marike.”

Bakker has been with NautaDutilh for just over seven years, having joined from Ploum Lodder Princen. She also had a spell at Simmons & Simmons, in total clocking up almost three decades of experience in white collar and business defence, including anti-money laundering, anti-corruption and on-site dawn raid assistance. She advises on both criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, particularly in the finance and professional services industries.

Bakker said: “I look forward to taking up this new role together with Sjoerd and Lieke and combining the responsibilities as board member with my legal practice.”

Warner will return to his tax law practice full time. Meijer praised Warner for his commitment, cooperation and “excellent work” as managing partner since 2017.

Meijer said: “Developments such as the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant this was an unprecedented and eventful time, throughout which Chris has been a steady hand in steering strategy.”

NautaDutilh was founded in the Netherlands in 1724. It has offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Luxembourg, New York and Rotterdam, employing more than 400 lawyers.

In other recent leadership changes, US firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith appointed a new managing partner in May – Gregory Katz – following a mass exodus of more than 100 lawyers who left to launch a new boutique firm. Also in May, Travers Smith announced that its senior partner Kathleen Russ is stepping down after a period of leave, with Sian Keall continuing to stand in until the autumn when a new senior partner will be elected.

In March, Shearman & Sterling said it was starting its transition to its next senior partner early following the collapse of its merger talks with Hogan Lovells. Adam Hakki took up the reins in April, with the firm then announcing fresh merger talks with Allen & Overy last month.

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