The amazing shrinking profile.
The head of Baker McKenzie's South Africa business has stepped down from his management roles for reasons unknown.
Morné van der Merwe was a Managing Partner at the global firm for four years, having moved to Bakers after a one year stint at Dewey & LeBoeuf following 14 years at Werksmans Attorneys as head of its mining practice.
An insider said the former MP actually stood down around two months ago and that partners from the firm's Amsterdam office have been handling his duties in the meantime.
“We confirm that Morne van der Merwe has stepped down as Managing Partner of the Johannesburg office", said a Bakers spokesperson in a statement.
The firm declined to comment on the reasons given by a source for the change, but did confirm that “our Johannesburg Management Committee is temporarily being supported and advised by experienced principals”.
There were signs of frantic action behind the scenes this week after the accuracy of van der Merwe's profile page was queried.
After Bakers was contacted for comment, the page was altered overnight to remove his title of Managing Partner. Then, yesterday, it changed again to remove his title as Head of the Johannesburg Corporate and M&A Practice Group, a role he has held for almost ten years.
Bakers committed to cleaning shop after it found itself in the eye of the #metoo storm, and a leaked review of the Gary Senior affair showed the firm's top brass paddling very hard indeed to provide him with cover. While nothing has been confirmed with regard to van der Merwe, other than the surrender of his management positions, it could be another sign that even Bakers' top partners are now subject to more serious scrutiny. If you know more, write in.