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The votes are in, and Pillsbury Winthrop’s partnership has once again signed on to the Cranston-Park ticket. Partners at the firm voted to retain the firm’s two top leaders, handing Mary Cranston and Marina Park another three years as Pillsbury’s respective chair and managing partner. At the same time, partners elected David Snyder to the newly created post of executive vice chair, and voted to introduce seven new members to the firm’s 12-partner managing board. Pillsbury announced the results of its managing board election Monday, capping a four-month electoral process. Rather than choosing between competing candidates, partners voted to approve or disapprove a slate of candidates advanced by a special nominating committee. Since the committee opted to reappoint Cranston and Park to the slate’s top two spots, the vote was in many ways a referendum on the current regime. “I see it as a voice from our partners that they are happy with the direction that we are taking with the firm and that they want to stay the course,” Park said. Cranston and Park have presided over the firm during a period of great change, overseeing the 2000 cross-country merger between Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro and Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts, and steering the firm through the recent economic downturn. Pillsbury has posted steadily increasing profits on Park and Cranston’s watch, but it has also lost some important rainmakers, including Robert Mittelstaedt, Stephen Stublarec and Kenneth Chiate. A controversial press release lambasting departing partner Frode Jensen in 2002 rocked the legal industry and raised questions about Cranston’s management style. “Frode Jensen turns out to have been a blip on the radar screen,” says legal consultant Peter Zeughauser, who says he doesn’t do any work for the firm. Cranston and Park “have really turned that firm around, and I think people are focused on the big picture.” The firm would not disclose what the tally of votes was in favor of the slate. Pillsbury’s 288 full-time partners submitted ballots between Nov. 1 and Saturday, with each partner getting one vote. Perhaps the biggest change brought by the election is the creation of the new executive vice-chair position. The vice-chair position has until now been occupied by former Winthrop, Stimson Chairman John Pritchard. For the past 18 months, however, the role has been largely ceremonial, with Pritchard having almost entirely transitioned back to active practice. The new executive vice-chair post will have a more active, hands-on role, Snyder said. “I think it’s a recognition that the additional complexity of a firm this size, with the number of offices that we have, can benefit from another set of hands actively involved with the chair and managing partner,” he said. Snyder, who has headed up Pillsbury’s London office, will return to the United States full-time to carry out his job as executive vice chair. Cranston, Park and Snyder have yet to figure out how the various managerial duties will be divided among them. Cranston noted that her role will likely continue to be externally focused, on things like strategic growth and client relations. “I think we’ve got an incredible team,” said Cranston, calling it a “nice endorsement for where we’ve been and where we’re going.” While the managing board is currently composed of 11 members, the new board, which takes office Jan. 1, will feature 12 members. In all, seven new members will join the managing board: William Atkins, Philip Douglas, David Falck, Michael Finnegan, Kirke Hasson, Andrea Wirum and Terry Kee. Wirum, a bankruptcy partner, took over as managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office in January. Kee, a San Francisco partner who chairs the firm’s corporate and securities practice, is one of the main partners in charge of the ChevronTexaco account, one of Pillsbury’s oldest and most important clients. Among the departing board members is corporate partner Rodney Peck, a managing board member since 1988. Peck helped engineer Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro’s 1991 merger with Los Angeles’ Lillick & McHose, and is the co-head of the firm’s financial institutions practice. Peck did not return a call for comment. One former Pillsbury partner interpreted Peck’s exit as a consolidation of power within the managing board. Peck “didn’t always agree with Mary,” said the former partner. “I think there were some who thought maybe he was too old-fashioned and too conservative.”

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