Freshfields switches up corporate leadership with 30-year veteran Marchant set to step down

Simon Marchant of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has shaken up its corporate management structure as veteran practice chief Simon Marchant prepares to retire after almost 30 years at the firm.

Marchant, who co-leads the magic circle firm’s global transactions practice in London, is stepping down from the partnership in July.

He will be replaced by M&A partner Julian Pritchard, who will take on the new role of London head of transactions.

Pritchard, a former managing partner of the firm’s US practice, recently worked alongside Marchant on the Freshfields team advising energy giant SSE on the merger of its retail business with rival Npower last year.

Pritchard’s appointment follows the firm’s move last year to bring its corporate, finance and real estate practices under the banner of a global transactions team, led by London finance partner Simon Johnson and Frankfurt M&A partner Rick van Aerssen.

Marchant joined Freshfields in 1989 and was made up to partner in 1997. He previously led the firm’s Asia business and co-headed its London M&A practice before being appointed head of corporate in 2014.

He has led the firm’s team on a number of major transactions in recent years, including advising Anheuser-Busch InBev on its $275bn (£177bn) merger with rival brewer SAB Miller in 2016, which saw Freshfields take a large cut of the $261m (£197m) legal fees generated.

The firm is also currently advising US cable giant Liberty Global on its €18.4bn (£16.1bn) sale of European assets to Vodafone, a deal that was announced earlier this week..