Exclusive: Ashurst brings in new CTO from GE Capital

In a heavyweight hire from outside of the legal sector, Ashurst has appointed GE Capital International’s IT director Noel Jordan as its new chief technology officer, as current CTO Bruna Pellicci prepares to leave the firm at the end of July.

Jordan, who was previously chief information officer at GE Capital Bank UK before taking on the global IT director role in October 2016, will join Ashurst in May.

He will report to Ashurst’s chief financial and operations officer Jan Gooze-Zijl, who joined Ashurst in February 2017 from UKTV – another out of sector appointment pitched as helping the UK top 20 law firm address head on the transformation taking place within the legal industry.

Gooze-Zijl said: “Noel has a strong track record of leading change and driving transformation and innovation. We are confident that he will play a critical role in continuing to further develop our technology programmes and initiatives to ensure that our service offering operates at the forefront of the market.”

Jordan added: “The continued transformation within the legal sector and the role that technology plays in driving that change makes joining Ashurst a fascinating opportunity. I look forward to partnering with Jan, the Executive Team and the wider firm to further drive Ashurst’s growth plans.”

It is understood that Ashurst wanted to hire someone with a background in working with blue chip corporations who can leverage that experience to improve its cross-firm client service delivery.

Ashurst’s 2016/17 results saw a 12% increase in turnover from £505m to £541m and PEP up 12% to £672,000 but it saw two consecutive years of decline after its merger with Blake Dawson and has been beset by partner departures.

Pellicci, who is one of just a handful of female CTO’s in the UK top 100, has been with Ashurst since 2007, when she joined from Penningtons as head of IT applications. She became head of IT in May 2009; associate director of IT in 2011; and global IT director in November 2013.

Pellicci told us: “I have had a fantastic ten years at Ashurst.  I have been given some super opportunities, have learnt a great deal and most importantly I have worked with some very talented people. I am looking forward to taking a break and considering new opportunities.”

A spokesperson for Ashurst said: “After 10 years at Ashurst, Bruna Pellicci will be leaving the firm at the end of July and will be taking time out before pursuing other opportunities. Bruna has been pivotal in a number of important strategic projects, including the firm’s merger and setting up a shared service centre in Glasgow, as well as building a global IT department working across three core hubs in London, Glasgow and Sydney. More recently Bruna has set up the Microsoft Legal Cloud Working group and has been working with the business driving a technology refresh which will take Ashurst to Office 365 in the cloud.

“We thank Bruna for her hard work and contribution and wish her all the best for the future.”

Other firms to have brought in IT heads from outside of the legal sector include Linklaters and Taylor Wessing, with Matt Peers and Kevin Harris both joining those firms respectively from Big Four accountant Deloitte, and Herbert Smith Freehills, which in 2012 hired Bupa’s IT director Haig Tyler as its CIO.