Herbert Smith Freehills' Rigotti to become sole CEO as firm drops joint leadership structure

Mark Rigotti HSF-Article-201610070831

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) will phase out its joint CEO management system by 1 May 2017, with current joint CEO Mark Rigotti set to take up the sole leadership role.

Australian Rigotti has been proposed by the firm’s  global partnership council to take on the post alone, having been leading the firm alongside dispute resolution veteran Sonya Leydecker.

The partnership will now hold a ratifying vote on the decision of the partnership council, which is chaired by senior partner James Palmer, by the end of this year.

The firm said in a statement: “We will be moving to a sole CEO from 1 May 2017. This underlines the strength of the firm following our merger and the move from the integration phase to the confirmed implementation of our strategy. The process for approving the sole CEO is now underway.”

Rigotti has led the firm with Leydecker since 1 May 2014, after former joint CEOs David Willis and Gavin Bell stepped down, having held the role since legacy firms Herbert Smith and Freehills merged in October 2012.

Leydecker joined legacy Herbert Smith in 1984 and was promoted to partner in 1991. She was head of disputes at Herbert Smith from April 2005 to October 2012 and became global head of disputes at HSF following the merger on 1 October 2012.

Rigotti was head of banking and finance at Australia’s Freehills from January 2004 until November 2005, and head of corporate at the legacy firm from November 2005 until February 2008. He was the Australian managing partner for clients until the merger in 2012, when he became managing partner for clients and industries.