Lovells makes two hires for London

Lovells is rebuilding its London private equity practice with the hire of two partners following the departure of private equity head Marco Compagnoni earlier this year.

Lovells, an international law firm, has appointed private equity lawyers Tom Whelan and Stephanie Keen as it rebuilds its London practice following the departure of private equity head Marco Compagnoni in February.

Tom Whelan will join Lovells from the London office of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, where is currently a partner. Stephanie Keen comes to Lovells from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s London office, where she is a senior associate.

A Lovells spokesperson said that Whelan and Keen have both resigned from their respective firms but have yet to set a start date at Lovells.

Lovells’ former head of private equity Compagnoni departed for Weil, Gotshal & Manges earlier this year, taking with him associate Jonathan Wood. The move followed a week after London partner Derek Baird left the firm to join Allen & Overy.

Since Compagnoni’s departure, Leah Dunlop, who heads the firm’s Italian practice in Rome, has been acting head of private equity. Alan Greenough, a partner in the London office of White & Case, has been lined up to head Lovell’s London private equity practice later in the year.

Whelan started his career at Ashurst in 1991 before joining DLA Piper in 2002. He recently advised on 3i’s sale of Pets at Home, a pet retailer, Blackstone’s £750 million (€1.1 billion) sale of the Savoy Group, a hotel business, and Exponent Private Equity on its secondary buyouts of Durrants and Magicalia, two publishing businesses.

Keen also began her career at Ashurst, which she joined in 1996 before moving to Fried Frank in 2004 as part of the firm’s cross-border private equity team. Recent transactions Keen advised on include Cinven and Permira’s €500 million investment in Koninklijke Vendex following its acquisition by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts through a €2.4 billion cash offer and Electra Partners Europe and Candover Partners £662.5 million sale of Baxi Group to BC Partners.