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Slater & Gordon names new CEO

National law firm Slater & Gordon, which recently delisted following its acquisition by Allegro Funds, has appointed a new chief executive, who will take over early next year from John Somerville, who is set to retire.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 03 October 2023 Big Law
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Slater & Gordon, one of Australia’s biggest plaintiff firms, has confirmed that current chief executive John Somerville is set to retire on 31 March 2024.

Mr Somerville joined the national firm in 2018 “during a critical restructure period for the company”, it said in a statement, and during his tenure, he has “stabilised the firm” and led its turnaround.

The news follows the acquisition of Slater & Gordon by private equity firm Allegro Funds, first reported on 21 February by The Australian Financial Review.


At the time, Mr Somerville spoke to Lawyers Weekly about the then-proposed takeover of the firm (which at the time was listed on the ASX), noting that the PE firm’s investment not only supports the firm’s growth trajectory but also ensures it can evolve and be relevant in the future.

“This is not about turnaround, this is not about restructure. This is about investment for growth,” he declared.

In early March, Allegro Funds sent a letter to shareholders of Slater & Gordon outlining its intentions for the BigLaw practice. By the start of May, the firm had officially delisted following completion of the acquisition.

The firm also recently promoted 46 professionals to more senior roles.

Mr Somerville said that it has been “wonderful” to serve as the chief executive of the national firm, calling it one that is “grounded in compassion and its commitment to deliver justice for clients from all walks of life”.

“With Slater and Gordon’s renewed strength and the new partnership in place with Allegro providing exciting growth opportunities for the future – I believe that now is the right time to pass the baton on,” he reflected.

Dina Tutungi – who is currently the firm’s chief client officer – is set to replace Mr Somerville, having been appointed to the role of chief executive.

She started with the firm over two decades ago as a paralegal and then an articled clerk, and she is an accredited specialist in personal injury law. Since 2018, she has served as the firm’s chief client officer.

A transitional period will occur over the next six months to facilitate a seamless transition between Mr Somerville’s retirement and Ms Tutungi’s appointment.

Speaking about the appointment, firm chair James Mackenzie said: “Dina brings to the role a deep understanding of Slater and Gordon, its clients, the law, and its people, and has strong financial and operational experience. She has been instrumental in the company’s turnaround, the development of its leading digital marketing capability, and securing the partnership with Allegro.

“What’s more, she embraces Slater and Gordon’s values and our ethos of placing client care at the heart of everything we do, with a genuine passion for fighting for equity, diversity and fairness. She is an established executive leader in our business and has previously managed several complex landmark and group litigation proceedings representing thousands of Australians during her distinguished career.

“John’s leadership throughout Slater and Gordon’s turnaround has been exemplary, and he leaves the business in a strong position. The board and Allegro sincerely thank John for his dedication and achievements throughout a monumental period for Slater and Gordon. We wish him all the best for his well-deserved retirement.

“On behalf of the board and Allegro, I’d like to congratulate Dina on her appointment. We look forward to the exciting opportunities her leadership will bring.”

Ms Tutungi added: “It is a great honour and privilege to be appointed as CEO of such an iconic and purpose-driven organisation. I look forward to leading our talented and passionate team who fight every day for our clients in pursuit of fair outcomes and equal opportunities.

“Thank you to John for his leadership and guidance over the recent years. I am excited to build on the strong foundations he has established and continue on the exciting growth trajectory that he has led.

“I am excited that our new ownership structure brings with it renewed investment in our people, legal processes, and clients. It will provide our people with enhanced career opportunities and allow our most senior lawyers the opportunity to acquire meaningful equity in the organisation.

“I look forward to continuing to reshape the law and legal process to deliver truly client-centred outcomes.”

Mr Somerville also said: “I’d like to thank James MacKenzie and the board for coaxing me out of retirement in 2018 and for their unwavering support throughout the journey. I very much look forward to the continued success of the firm under Dina’s leadership.”

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