Irwin Mitchell chief steps down after 37 years at the helm

The Sheffield-based group chief executive of law firm Irwin Mitchell, John Pickering, is leaving the business after 37 years.

He said his decision to step down was based on a desire to have a settled senior management team to continue growth. He planned to pursue a long-held ambition to hold non-executive director positions within other businesses, he added.

The news comes a week after the company announced it had secured a £60m finance package - with a further £30m if required - to fund aggressive expansion.

In the last 18 months Mr Pickering, who became group chief executive in 2011, has seen Irwin Mitchell hit £200m-a-year income for the first time, complete five acquisitions, recruit more than 30 experts into partner-level positions and announce plans for a ninth regional office in Southampton.

He joined Irwin Mitchell as an articled clerk in 1977, becoming a partner in 1980. He headed up the firm’s personal injury practice before being elected national managing partner in 2009 and became group chief executive two years later.

Glyn Barker, Chairman of Irwin Mitchell, paid tribute: “This is an honourable decision, taken in the long term interests of Irwin Mitchell. John’s contribution to Irwin Mitchell has 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 added: “He has been a key strategic thinker and a driver, and a leader and inspiration.

The new group chief executive is Andrew Tucker, who was previously head of the personal legal services division and has been with Irwin Mitchell since joining the firm as a solicitor in 1985.