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Sullivan & Cromwell: For months, banking expert H. Rodgin Cohen has been slated to succeed Ricardo Mestres Jr. as chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell on Jan. 1. But the move wasn’t announced until Nov. 15. Why the wait? One insider says that the firm wanted Cohen’s appointment to coincide with the passage of congressional repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1930s law that separated banks from other financial services companies. Many of Cohen’s clients — corporations involved in the banking industry’s consolidation — pushed for the repeal, which will make it possible for Sullivan & Cromwell to expand its banking practice, says the incoming chairman. “The appointment is coincidental,” says Cohen. “But the new law will certainly lead to acceleration of the consolidation already taking place…and we’ll be expanding our practice.”

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