AFTER SIX years as the most powerful person at international law firm Baker & McKenzie, Christine Lagarde has stepped down and handed her reins as chairman of the firm’s executive committee to US national John Conroy.
The changeover took place at the firm’s annual meeting in Barcelona this month, when it was also revealed what excellent shape the firm was in.
Baker & McKenzie’s global fee income for the fiscal year to 30 June was US$1.23 ($1.7) billion, an increase of 8 per cent on last year. With 69 offices in 38 locations, 620 partners and 3,100 lawyers, such high figures could be expected.
Lagarde, who was elected chairman of the executive committee in 1999, was recently named the 76th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.
She has been a partner in the Paris office of Baker & McKenzie since 1987. In 1991, she was promoted to managing partner of that office before joining the executive committee in 1995. She led the firm to an aggregate 50 per cent increase in global fee income during her term as chairman.
Conroy, who has served on the executive committee for six years, said he is pleased to take up the position with the firm in such excellent shape.
“I am confident we can use this solid foundation as a springboard for the growth and success I know we are capable of achieving.”
Conroy is a banking and finance attorney and, as North American managing partner, has been recognised for his program to fully integrate the firm’s North American offices as well as introducing a discretionary based partner compensation system.
Lagarde said she knew of no individual more deserving or better equipped to take the reins from her. She will continue to work with the executive as chairman of the policy committee.