Australia: Freehills Announces the Appointment of Gavin Bell as new CEO
Last Updated: 7 March 2005

Freehills' Chairman, Geoff McClellan, announced today the appointment of Gavin Bell to the position of Chief Executive Officer, effective from the end of the firm's financial year in June 2005.

In making the announcement, Mr McClellan said, 'Mr Bell's appointment follows a comprehensive selection process that considered a list of exceptional internal and external candidates.

'This outcome highlights Freehills' strong succession planning process and the firm's focus on developing a vibrant culture which supports and fosters future leaders. This positions us to be able to capitalise on the strong skills and background of key internal professionals', he continued.

Gavin Bell, who currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer at Freehills, has been with the firm for more than 22 years, and was previously a partner in the firm's Projects Group.

'Peter Hay, Freehills' current CEO, and Gavin have together presided over a period of rapid and very successful change in the organisation. Gavin's succession as CEO is a natural progression and will allow a seamless transition,' Mr McClellan said.

'Gavin's significant management experience and outstanding track record in his current and previous roles at Freehills augurs well for the ongoing progression and evolution of the firm,' he continued.

In his new role as CEO, Mr Bell will be supported by two other Managing Partners, Peter Butler and Mike Ferraro. Their appointments follow successful careers as partners and in management with the firm. The primary focus of their roles will be on the firm's people and clients respectively.

Following the announcement, Mr Bell said he was pleased to have been given the opportunity to play a leading part in the firm's future strategic growth and development.

'The firm is in a strong strategic position and is exceptionally well placed in the market. I look forward to continuing with our focus on our clients and our people, which has been key to our success,' he continued.

Mr McClellan also said the firm is grateful for and extremely proud of the outstanding contribution Peter Hay has made to the firm in his capacity as CEO over the past five years and prior to that as a very successful partner. 'I wish him all the best in his future professional and personal endeavours.' he continued.

Peter Hay signalled to the firm his intention to resign late last year, saying, 'It was always my intention to remain in the CEO role for around five years and maximise my contribution over that period. I am pleased to be leaving the firm in very capable hands.

'Not only am I now looking forward to the next challenging stage of my career, I also believe it is in the best interest of the firm and our clients to rotate senior management positions from time to time in order to bring new and diverse skills to these roles,' he said.

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