Editor's Comment: If it's broke...
Firms rarely tinker with management structures from a position of strength. Unless you have just merged and need to implement a system that puts the fewest noses out of joint - see Freshfields or more recently Dewey & LeBoeuf - you're most likely losing ground against your peers and action needs to be taken; for the latest example of this see Shearman & Sterling. Last week in an internal memo, Shearman senior partner Rohan Weerasinghe announced the firm is revamping its management. The executive group will be reduced from six members to three, comprising Weerasinghe, executive director Kim Gardner and partner Fred Sosnick. Previous group members John Madden, Georg Thoma, Kenneth MacRitchie and Linda Rappaport will focus their efforts on client work, as well as being called upon in various management roles. Below the executive group five teams take control of areas such as client development and risk management and a further, four-partner group, including Thoma from Europe and Matthew Bersani in Asia, will focus on strategy. There is logic in this, not least in creating a formal strategy team. In addition, centralising day-to-day power in a smaller executive group should streamline decision-making while further management responsibilities will be better spread around the firm.
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