Ashurst to keep banking heavyweight Nigel Ward despite announced move to Paul Hastings

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Ashurst banking partner Nigel Ward is to stay with the embattled UK firm, despite previously handing in his notice to join Paul Hastings in the City.

The US firm announced only earlier this month (September 15) that it had hired Ward for its London leveraged finance practice.

But Ashurst chairman Ben Tidswell said: “I am delighted that Nigel remains committed to the firm, which reflects on Nigel’s deep relationships across our strong international platform and the confidence we all have about the opportunities for the firm going forward.”

Had he gone ahead with his move, Ward would have joined a trio of Ashurst finance partners recruited by Paul Hastings earlier this month.

Partners Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor are still set to joining Paul Hastings from Ashurst, which has seen a flood of exits since reporting earlier this year that average profit per equity partner had plunged to its lowest level since 2004-05.

Ward has been an Ashurst partner since 1992 and has taken roles on major deals, including the £2bn sale of Abbey’s train leasing arm Porterbrook by a Deutsche Bank-led consortium in 2008. He also advised on the £300m sale of Dr Martens to Permira in 2013, leading the firm’s team acting for the lending banks.

A Paul Hastings spokesperson said:  ”For reasons that must remain confidential, regrettably Nigel Ward’s move to Paul Hastings could not proceed. We wish him well.”