Firm’s first female CEO leaves after takeover

Merseyside law firm Fletchers Solicitors appointed Alex Hatchman at its first-ever female CEO in 2020 but she has now left the business following a private equity takeover. Tony McDonough reports

Alex Hatchman
Alex Hatchman, now departed chief executive of Fletchers Solicitors

 

Just over a year after becoming the first female chief executive of Merseyside law firm Fletchers Solicitors, Alex Hatchman has left the practice following a private equity takeover.

This week Southport-based Fletchers, one of the leading specialist medical negligence law firms in the UK, sent out a press release announcing Peter Haden, a former Oxfam executive, as its new chief executive,

However, the press release made no mention of Ms Hatchman, who only became CEO of the firm in October 2020. She had joined as a non-executive board member in 2016 after forging a successful career in senior positions for blue-chip businesses such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Accenture.

Under her leadership Fletchers has enjoyed a record financial performance, seeing its revenue rocket by 40% to more than £44.7m and pre-tax profit also soaring by 39% to almost £5.5m. It also invested in an upgrade of its Southport headquarters.

Ms Hatchman is a vocal advocate for championing women in business. And she believes it is the responsibility of women such as herself to help create avenues for other women to succeed in the business world. She wrote an article on the issue for Fletcher’s website earlier this year.

In an interview with LBN in December 2020, she said: “Those women that have succeeded have a special responsibility to then share their path, and not to pull the ladder up behind them.”

Her departure from Fletchers comes just weeks after the firm, which employs around 500 people in Southport and Manchester, was taken over by US-based private equity outfit Sun European Partners. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

At the time of writing, Ms Hatchman’s Linked In profile was still showing her as the chief executive of the firm. LBN has attempted to contact her for more details around her departure and we also contacted Fletchers who issued a short statement.

It read: “Peter’s appointment comes at an exciting time for the business as we review our plans for growth moving forward. This also means that former CEO Alex Hatchman no longer works for the business, although everyone at Fletchers wishes her well in her future ventures.”

Peter Haden
Peter Haden, chief executive of Fletchers Solicitors

 

Prior to the takeover in October, Fletchers had been privately owned by its founders, Rob and Ed Fletcher. Sun European Partners plans to grow the business, both through extending their strong position in personal Injury and medical negligence work, and extending its services into new areas of law.

Mr Haden’s most recent role was at Oxfam as interim chief supporter officer – a position he took on during the pandemic to help the charity during challenging financial conditions.

Prior to that, Peter was UK chief executive and executive director of the Greencore Group and was also a partner at management consulting firm McKinsey, based in London and Delhi. He said: “I’ve been struck in my first weeks with the firm by both the momentum of the business and the warmth and kindness of the team

“ I’ve also been inspired by the quality of our work and the difference we are making each day for our clients. Fletchers is truly an exceptional firm and it’s a privilege to be part of the team.”

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