Debevoise Announces New Leadership; Names Peter Furci as Presiding Partner and Nicole Mesard as Deputy Presiding Partner

25 April 2022
Mr. Furci and Ms. Mesard bring strong management experience and an unwavering focus on client service, talent and diversity to their roles Appointments will be effective July 1, 2022

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP announces that Peter Furci has been named the firm’s next Presiding Partner, and Nicole Mesard has been named Deputy Presiding Partner, heralding the next generation of leadership for the 90-year old firm.

Mr. Furci and Ms. Mesard, who bring a combined two decades of firm management experience to their new roles, will succeed Presiding Partner Michael Blair, who has held the position since 2011, and Deputy Presiding Partner Bruce Yannett, effective July 1, 2022. Mr. Blair has reached the partnership’s mandatory retirement age and will retire at the end of this year and Mr. Yannett will continue as Chair of the firm’s White Collar & Regulatory Defense Group. Mary Jo White will continue as Senior Chair of the firm.

Mr. Furci, based in New York, is the Co-Chair of Debevoise’s Tax Department and a leading advisor to private equity and corporate clients on M&A transactions and investment fund formation.  He is also recognized for his cross-border deal expertise, particularly in Latin America.  The first in his family to attend college, he is a partner sponsor of the firm’s First Generation Affinity Group, and is also a longtime partner ally of the Latin@ Affinity Group.  Mr. Furci is on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and an adjunct professor of tax law at New York University Law School. He joined Debevoise in 1995 and was promoted to partner in 2003.

Ms. Mesard, also based in New York, is a broad-gauged, market leading real estate partner whose practice includes acquisitions and sales, financings, joint ventures, secondaries and restructurings. She serves as Deputy Chair of the Corporate Department and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, as well as Co-Chair of the Talent initiative and Chair of the Hiring Committee. Ms. Mesard is a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School. She joined Debevoise in 2001 and was promoted to partner in 2008. 

“Peter and Nicole are outstanding leaders who have made significant contributions both to our clients as exceptional lawyers, and to our firm community through their many leadership roles,” said Mr. Blair.  “In an increasingly competitive marketplace where responsiveness and sophistication are paramount, their many years of advising clients on the firm’s most complex matters will serve them well in ensuring the firm continues to always put the needs of our clients first. Peter and Nicole have also helped the firm focus on attracting and retaining exceptional talent. With a powerful mix of strengths keenly aligned with the firm’s values, Peter and Nicole are ideally suited to lead Debevoise into our next chapter.”

Mr. Furci said, “I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead this unique institution that has done so much for me, and to ensure the preservation of its cultural values, particularly the guiding spirit of collaboration, true partnership and commitment to excellence in service to clients and the community. With gratitude to Michael and Bruce for their exemplary leadership and reaffirmation of our values in an increasingly competitive environment, I look forward to working closely with Nicole to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead, as we continue to serve our clients and the firm at the highest level.”

Ms. Mesard said, “Deploying teams of talented attorneys is a prerequisite to providing the highest level of service to our clients, which in turn drives our market-leading financial performance. Michael and Bruce have long understood and championed the connection between talent and strong results for our clients, which will continue to be a driver of the firm’s strategy.  Peter and I thank them for their remarkable service in this area and so many others over the years, and look forward to their counsel during this transition.”

Over the course of Mr. Blair’s tenure, the firm implemented a number of strategic initiatives to affirm its reputation as a leading advisor across key industries and practices, including the opening of a San Francisco office in 2021 to better serve the firm’s growing roster of technology and private equity clients in the Bay Area.  These endeavors led to remarkable improvements in the firm’s financial performance. Over the last eleven years Debevoise has doubled its annual revenue and increased its net income by more than 150%.

During this same period and in line with the firm’s focus on performance and culture, the firm launched a global talent initiative, co-led by Ms. Mesard, to recruit and develop the strongest and most diverse classes of law students in the firm’s history.  In 2021 in the U.S., 67% of the firm’s associates and 37% of its partners were diverse, with 34% of the associates and 14% of partners being racially or ethnically diverse. 

“Although we have made important strides, we must continue to build and sustain a welcoming and inclusive community.  That is the foundation of excellent talent, and talent is the foundation of a great firm,” said Mr. Furci.