Eversheds Sutherland appoints London disputes partner Gray as European chair

Eversheds Sutherland has appointed London partner Ian Gray as chairman of the firm’s network of offices across Europe.

Gray, who will also continue to serve as executive partner for client strategy, was appointed following a unanimous vote by the firm’s European board.

He took up the role on 1 November, succeeding Alan Murphy, who will now become deputy chairman as well as continuing in his role as Ireland managing partner.

As chair of Eversheds Sutherland Europe, Gray will oversee the firm’s operations in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Russia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland,  Scandinavia and the Baltics.

The firm’s European arm is distinct from the UK LLP – which comprises the UK, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Middle East and Asia – and the firm’s US business.

Eversheds Sutherland co-CEO Lee Ranson said: “Ian will play a crucial role in driving forward our strategy in Europe, which is a key area of focus for us in terms of investment and expansion.

“Ian is a natural choice for this role, having been heavily involved in developing our European business in the last two years, sitting on the board as well as chairing our German management committee.”

Gray added: “Building on the momentum of our recent expansion in Germany, Luxembourg and Russia, I look forward to leading our European team in the delivery of our strategy.”

The appointment comes after Murphy’s four-year term was extended by six months after expiring at the end of April, to ensure leadership continuity in the light of the February merger of Eversheds and US firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.

Eversheds partners are also currently voting for a successor to international chairman Paul Smith. The firm kicked off the election process following pitches to the firm’s partners by the three contenders in recent weeks, with the vote set to close on Monday (4 December).