Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling Merger Leadership Announced
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Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling Merge Leadership

In a significant development, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Shearman & Sterling have revealed the senior leadership team that will steer the combined entity, A&O Shearman & Sterling, should the merger gain approval. This merger is poised to create a global powerhouse with over 3,900 lawyers and a combined revenue of $3.4 billion.

Leadership Roles Defined


Senior partner Wim Dejonghe and managing partner Khalid Garousha, both from Allen & Overy, are set to maintain their current positions as leaders of the merged firm, according to insider sources. Additionally, Shearman’s current senior partner, Adam Hakki, is expected to play a pivotal role in the new firm’s leadership, including a seat on its executive committee. Hakki has played a key role in discussions with Dejonghe to bring about this merger.

Shared Governance Principles Agreed Upon

A joint statement issued by both firms indicates that while the principles for shared governance of the combined firm have been agreed upon, the finer details will be further developed during the integration process after the merger’s approval.

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Formalization of Other Leadership Roles

Further leadership roles within the merged entity are anticipated to be formalized before the merger’s completion, according to sources familiar with ongoing discussions. The two firms are diligently working toward completing the merger no later than May 2024.

Partners’ Vote in Progress

Partners from both Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling have commenced voting on whether to approve the merger, with the voting process scheduled to conclude on October 13.

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Uncertainty Surrounding Leadership Tenure

However, there is uncertainty regarding the tenure of Dejonghe and Garousha in their roles overseeing the newly combined firm. Currently, the senior and managing partner positions at A&O are set to conclude by May 1. While Garousha assumed the managing partner role on a temporary basis following his predecessor’s sudden departure, it is unlikely that he will seek the role again, as per sources. Dejonghe, on the other hand, is in his second term as senior partner and has served two terms as managing partner previously. The partnership deed at A&O currently prohibits someone from running for a third term in either role, and Dejonghe has yet to disclose whether he will pursue another leadership role within the merged entity.

Extensive Efforts to Garner Support

Dejonghe and Hakki have dedicated months to visiting offices worldwide, aiming to generate enthusiasm for the merger. Alongside official management discussions, both firms have organized gatherings for their partners ahead of the crucial vote. These gatherings have seen numerous meetings held across the US, UK, and Europe since the summer, providing partners with opportunities to engage socially. Nevertheless, topics such as compensation and sensitive matters have been discouraged during these interactions, as noted by individuals within A&O.

As the merger proposal advances, the legal world will closely watch the developments surrounding the leadership of A&O Shearman & Sterling, which has the potential to reshape the legal landscape on a global scale.

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