Helen Drayton will officially take on the role of CEO at Penningtons Manches Cooper from tomorrow (1 October).
Her appointment, which was first announced at the end of April, marks the end of a six month transition period which has seen her work hand in hand with former CEO David Raine as she prepares to lead the continued development of the firm’s strategy and oversee the day-to-day running of the business.
Prior to her appointment as CEO, Helen was head of the business services division and had been a member of the firm’s management board for four years and as such, she has been instrumental in helping to shape the firm’s current vision and strategic objectives. She has taken a particularly active role in the development and implementation of the firm’s inclusion agenda as well as the ongoing expansion of the international offices.
Helen said: “I am looking forward – and incredibly honoured – to be taking over from David. His leadership over the last 14 years has been exemplary; his astute and thoughtful approach has ensured we’ve embraced opportunities and successfully navigated challenges, whilst maintaining a clear vision and purpose. He often refers to the importance of running our own race; not being distracted from what makes us stand out in the eyes of our clients and our people, and this is something that I too believe will continue to be important to our future success.”
She added: “We’re in a great place at the moment. The last few years has seen exciting growth both internationally and domestically. In Singapore, for example, we’ve added an excellent corporate team and some very impressive energy expertise to complement the existing practice areas. In the UK, the ongoing expansion of our teams in the Birmingham office – which opened in 2018 as the first location outside of London and the South East – continues to impress. We’ve also put a lot of emphasis into developing real breadth and depth in our teams and into building key niche areas of expertise – I love hearing frequently about the complex and interesting work we’re involved in a result of these sustained efforts.
“We’ve continued to invest in new technologies and in re-energising our workspaces to support our strategy of being a truly agile firm. Importantly, there has also been a very keen focus on activity in relation to wellbeing, mental health and inclusion. As a result of all these initiatives, we have seen a positive impact in our ability to attract talented lateral hires who, in turn, embrace our ethos and culture.”
“As I take on this role, I can see many opportunities to build on what we have achieved so far. A key part of that for me personally is inclusion, where I am taking an active role in overseeing our agenda: it underpins everything we do at the firm to help us achieve our aim of being a supportive, collaborative workplace where everyone can truly be themselves. I will also be very much developing on David’s legacy in terms of sustainability. We want to ensure we’re a sustainable firm operationally - but equally important is that we’re developing services and expertise that will help our clients to find ways of working in a more sustainable way.”
A corporate lawyer by background, Helen joined the firm in 2012 where she was a partner in the firm’s corporate, banking and finance practice before she took up her role on the management board in 2018.