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Sarah Walker-Smith
  • Published:
    26 November

Shakespeare Martineau’s new CEO revealed

Shakespeare Martineau has appointed Sarah Walker-Smith, currently COO at Browne Jacobson, as Chief Executive Officer.

Following an exhaustive process which attracted a large field of high calibre candidates from across the legal sector and beyond, Sarah’s commerciality and ambition as well as her personal style and vision for the firm shone through.

Sarah will be arriving at the firm in February, when she will join Chief Operating Officer Victoria Tester and Chief Financial Officer Lesley Spencer in the firm’s leadership team. Her brief will be to continue to drive the business forward and build on the significant progress made over the last four years under the leadership of outgoing CEO Andy Raynor.

Shakespeare Martineau is a top 50 law firm and reported a turnover of £73.9m in financial year 2017/18 after strong organic growth that shows no signs of slowing.

Sarah, who began her career as a Chartered Accountant with PwC before spending eight years in senior communication and marketing roles at Boots, is currently Chief Operating Officer at law firm Browne Jacobson. She has a proven track record of driving organic growth and will apply her experience, financial mindset and ambition to her new role.

Speaking of her appointment, Sarah Walker-Smith, said: “I’m looking forward to being a part of the firm’s future at such an exciting time. The strong progress in growing the business is continuing, and I believe I can bring further vision and originality to an already commercial strategy, as well as harnessing the ambition and progressive attitude I can see in the firm.

“Above all else, I’m looking forward to getting to know, and working with, all of the firm’s people and clients.”

Andrew Whitehead, senior partner at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “The appointment of our next CEO comes at a pivotal time for our business, as we look to roll out the next phase of our ambitious growth strategy, building on the strong financial platform which Andy leaves us with.

“With so many opportunities, and indeed challenges, ahead for professional services firms such as ours, we always knew that finding the right person for this critical role was going to be instrumental to our future success, and in Sarah we’re in no doubt we’ve found an impressive business leader.

“We’ve also been bowled over with the range and quality of the applicants we’ve seen for this position, which I think speaks volumes for our growing reputation and presence in our markets, and our potential.

“Andy will be a hard act to follow, but we were all unanimously enthusiastic about Sarah and believe she will make a significant difference to our clients and people, and the future of our business. Her proven abilities in helping businesses to grow organically are matched perfectly with our future ambitions.”

Iain Blatherwick, Managing Partner at Browne Jacobson, added: "Personally, and on behalf of all her colleagues, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Sarah has made to the culture, strategy and growth of Browne Jacobson. We offer her our congratulations and best wishes on this exciting new role.”

"The dedication and commitment of Shakespeare Martineau
throughout the process helped to create, and preserve,
value for the shareholders."

Roger Crosse, Managing Director, POS Direct Ltd