Irwin Mitchell appoints new chief executive

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LAW firm Irwin Mitchell has appointed a new group chief executive after John Pickering announced he was to stand down from the position.

Mr Pickering, who will leave the business after a transitional period, has been replaced by Andrew Tucker, previously chief executive of the firm’s personal legal services division.

Mr Pickering, who has been group chief executive since 2011, joined the firm 37 years ago.

He said his decision to step down was based on the changing legal sector and his desire for Irwin Mitchell to have a settled senior management in place longer term to drive forward its strategic growth and corporate development plans. He added that he now plans to pursue long-held ambitions for holding non-executive director positions within other businesses.

The news comes after a busy 18-month period for Irwin Mitchell, which has offices in Leeds and Sheffield. It exceeded £200m in income for the first time, completed five acquisitions, announced it would open its ninth regional office in Southampton this month and recruited more than 30 experts into partner-level positions across its business.

Chairman Glyn Barker said: “Having put in place a top class executive team, John believes that the firm should now be led by a chief executive who will lead the organisation over the medium term. Although I personally will miss John a great deal, this is an honourable decision, taken in the long term interests of Irwin Mitchell, and John has my full support.

“John’s contribution to Irwin Mitchell has been very significant and covered a wide spectrum, from being a top flight personal injury litigator to acting as mentor and coach to many of our partners working at IM today. He has been a key strategic thinker and a driver, and a leader and inspiration to the firm as a whole.”

Last week, the firm announced it had secured £60m with three major UK banks to fund its strategic growth plan.

The four-year finance package, which also includes a £30m ‘accordion’ facility for further finance if required, was agreed with HSBC’s Yorkshire corporate team along with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Irwin Mitchell was reported to have shelved plans for a stock market flotation last year despite previously indicating that an IPO could be a part of its future.

The firm said it would consider external investment in due course but would not put a timetable on the decision.