William Fry appoints head of corporate as next managing partner

Leading Irish dealmaker Stephen Keogh will succeed Owen O’Sullivan in November
Photo of Stephen Keogh

Stephen Keogh

William Fry has appointed corporate heavyweight Stephen Keogh to serve as the firm’s next managing partner. 

Keogh, currently head of William Fry’s corporate and M&A department, will succeed Owen O’Sullivan in November at the end of his four-year term.

O’Sullivan, the former head of disputes and litigation, will take on a consultancy role on his retirement from the partnership at the end of 2024.

Stephen, who trained at William Fry and became a partner in 2005, has a wealth of management experience. He spent five years as head of the firm’s London office, following which, in 2020, he assumed leadership of the firm’s corporate department.

Keogh has advised on two of the four largest M&A deals in Ireland this year, a testament to his capabilities, including Starwood’s €793m acquisition of a stake in Irish data centre operator Echelon.

Flagship deals his department has steered through include Amgen’s $27.8bn acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics, which closed last September, and SoftBank’s acquisition of a $514m majority stake in car software firm Cubic Telecom, which was announced in December. 

Thanking O’Sullivan “for his hard work and dedication”, Keogh said: “Under his guidance, we have achieved continued growth and adapted to change with an unwavering commitment to excellence and success.”

The firm announced a nine-partner promotion round in May 2024 across four key departments, including three in asset management and investment funds, two each in disputes and property, and two in technology, having promoted three partners the previous year. Last December it added tax partner Colin Bolger from ByrneWallace.

William Fry’s chairman, Liam McCabe, said: “Stephen is renowned for his commercial approach and strong business acumen. I have every confidence that his leadership will greatly benefit our people as they continue to provide outstanding service to our domestic and international clients across all sectors.”

Data provided by Pirical, puts William Fry as the fourth-largest firm in Ireland by fee earner headcount with 212 legal professionals.

According to the firm’s Irish M&A report, which was published in February, there were 334 qualifying deals last year, a 10% increase on 2022, although deal value fell by 20% to €11.8bn.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]