Former DLA Piper head takes reins at DWF

Former DLA Piper head takes reins at DWF

Sir Nigel Knowles

Sir Nigel Knowles, the former head of DLA Piper, has taken over the reins of global legal business DWF from Andrew Leaitherland.

Mr Leaitherland has led DWF since 2006, overseeing its expansion from two offices in the UK to 33 offices across four continents, including in Belfast and Dublin, as well as achieving the successful IPO of the group last March.

Sir Nigel served as global co-chairman and senior partner of DLA Piper and, previously, global co-CEO and managing partner from 1996 to 2015. He is often credited with DLA Piper’s remarkable growth over the period, with revenue growing from £52 million to over £1.5 billion.

He has been appointed as DWF’s group CEO with immediate effect, while senior independent non-executive director Chris Sullivan has been appointed as interim chairman.

Mr Sullivan said: “On behalf of the Board and all our colleagues I would like to thank Andrew for his hard work and commitment over many years; we owe him a great deal and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

“In these unprecedented times the Board believes that Sir Nigel’s extensive experience in building and leading a global legal business will be invaluable as group chief executive officer in ensuring that our strategy delivers sustainable growth and attractive returns for all our stakeholders.”

Mr Leaitherland added: “It has been a privilege to be group CEO of DWF for nearly 14 years and I am incredibly proud of the progress we have made in that time. It is a fantastic business with great people committed to delivering the best possible service to our clients. I wish Sir Nigel every success in taking the business forward.”

Sir Nigel said: “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the group’s chairman and even more honoured to have been asked now to lead the company as its group chief executive officer. Andrew helped build a great business for which we are very grateful and we wish him the very best.

“Whilst today’s trading update shows there are near term challenges to be overcome, there is a significant opportunity to deliver attractive returns for our shareholders by consolidating the growth achieved to date and building an even stronger global platform centred around DWF’s Complex, Managed and Connected delivery model.

“I look forward to working with the existing strong management team to both navigate through the near term challenges presented by the external environment and on executing on our stated longer term strategy.”

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