National law firm Irwin Mitchell has named the former vice-chairman UK of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) its chairman-designate as it continues preparations to become an alternative business structure (ABS).
The timing of Glyn Barker’s appointment as chairman – the first non-executive to join the board of Irwin Mitchell Holdings Ltd – is dependent on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s approval of both the ABS application and Mr Barker.
Current chairman Michael Napier retires in April  after 40 years with the firm.
Irwin Mitchell has already begun the ABS application process, having last year become the first law firm to express its intention to seek external capital . John Pickering, Irwin Mitchell’s group chief executive, said the appointment was the latest step in the firm’s planning to become an ABS and to seek external investment to help further its growth strategy.
“This is an important appointment which again signals our intention to take advantage of the opportunities we think the Legal Services Act and moving to ABS status will offer us. We are delighted that Glyn will be working with us on moving forward our plans for growing the firm,” he said.
Mr Barker said: “There is a strong senior team in place at Irwin Mitchell and I am looking forward to working with them as they advance their strategic growth plans. I share the view of Irwin Mitchell’s management with regards to the scale of the opportunities that will arise through a move to ABS and potential external investment.”
Vice-chairman of PwC from 2008 until the end of last year, Mr Barker was previously on the accountants’ management board, as managing partner responsible for clients and markets from 2006 to 2008, and between 2002-2006 he was head of PwC’s assurance practice. Prior to that he established and ran the transactions services business.
He is a director of the Commission on Ownership and of the English National Opera.