TAKING ON THE TOP ROLE at a firm from a senior industry figure who has held the reins for nearly 20 years is a daunting prospect. Julie Adams, the new senior partner at Menzies, admits that taking over from Mike Sands is “a hard act to follow”.
However, it is safe to say that Adams is up for the challenge, and has a wealth of experience to lean back on, having served as a partner at the firm since 1988. Last year she became more involved in the firm’s strategy, with its vision “getting into new service lines to provide an overall better service to our clients”.
“We can’t stand still; we’re always looking ahead. All businesses are on a journey and we need to find out where they are on the life cycle,” says Adams.
Mike Sands, who stepped down from his role as senior partner which he held for 18 years, will remain with the firm. She is effusive about his impact, saying he “transformed” the firm:
“I see him as a real entrepreneur that I’ve learnt a huge amount from.”
With Sands remaining at the firm, Adams could be forgiven for wondering how she will be able to make her own mark. But she says that the direction of the firm won’t change anyway – she was heavily involved in its strategic path.
“I helped put the current strategy in place so it would be strange for me to change it,” she says. However, there are things that Adams is looking to develop.
“You have to embrace changes and take things on board. I’d like to put more focus on employee engagement and drive the concept of empowering clients. We want our clients to be able to ring us up whenever they need to.”
Adams’ new role means that she is currently the only female head in the mid-tier, but for her this is not something she is particularly mindful of: “I’m quite flattered, but I’ve always just accepted what I do as a job that I enjoy doing. I’ve never really had an issue with gender – it’s about whether or not you can do the job and your abilities.”
The leadership handover comes at a busy time. In March, Menzies announced a strategic partnership with Insight Managements & Systems Consultants, and the firm’s centenary also coincides with Adams’s new position. “We’ve got events planned for staff, contacts and clients. It’s a good time to take on the role as Mike has been able to kick off the celebrations and I have the opportunity to continue them,” she says.