The UK has its first law firm owned by a hedge fund after Slater & Gordon’s UK operation completed its separation from the Australian parent.
The newly independent business has appointed a chief executive in the shape of David Whitmore, who was formerly vice-chairman and president of the Americas division of NASDAQ-listed firm Information Services Group.
He will also take a seat on the board of directors of Slater & Gordon UK, chaired by Nils Stoesser from American hedge fund Anchorage Capital – the firm’s lead shareholder company.
Earlier this month, Slater & Gordon’s shareholders approved a recapitalisation plan which has seen its senior lenders – led by Anchorage – take control in a debt-for-equity deal. They were told the alternative was insolvency.
The deal also set the UK arm free to pursue its own path.
Mr Whitmore said: “The legal industry is going through a period of change, with firms getting to grips with regulatory reforms, technological advancements and clients’ evolving needs.
“I’m confident that, in this challenging environment, and with the clear support shown by its new owners, Slater & Gordon is very well equipped to become the leading provider of consumer legal services in the UK.”
Ken Fowlie, who will also sit on the UK board, moves to the role of ‘Managing Director – Legal Services’, and will oversee the delivery and innovation of legal services.
He said: “We will be adding further high-calibre people to our business so we can continue delivering on our promise to give people greater access to world class legal services for years to come.
“We’re delighted to have David on board. He has a huge amount of experience, skills and knowledge and I’m sure will add great value to the firm.
“He clearly understands the challenges but, importantly, also sees the many opportunities ahead. The future success of Slater & Gordon in the UK is now firmly in our hands following the recapitalisation and separation and we’re ready to face the future.”
Slater & Gordon UK has been going through a lengthy period of restructuring that has seen several regional offices close.