US LAW firm Baker & McKenzie has appointed Brazilian Eduardo Leite as chairman, marking the first time a large legal practice has turned to the emerging markets for a leader.
Leite, who currently practises in the firm’s Sao Paolo office and serves as executive vice president of the China-Brazil Business Council, will replace outgoing chairman John Conroy when he steps down later this year.
Chicago-based Conroy served two years at the helm and during his tenure saw the firm’s revenue grow by more than 70 per cent over five years to $2.11bn (£1.44bn), while profits have grown to $992,000.
Leite was voted in by the firm’s global partnership last week and will take over the post at the end of October.
The recent appointment is a landmark for the legal sector, which traditionally elects heads in either the UK or the US.
“Change is transforming the business world and, with it, the legal profession. We will continue to lead and embrace that change, to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve in meeting our clients’ evolving needs,” said Leite.
He will lead the eight partner executive committee, which manages the firm’s business, for a four year period.