David Fennell is the chief executive of Gowling WLG (UK) LLP. He also serves as the co-chair of Gowling WLG's international board.
In these roles, David is responsible for guiding the firm's UK and international strategies and ensuring that the firm delivers the best possible service to clients. He spends a lot of time liaising with business leaders and conducting client service reviews to make sure we are delivering on our promises. He also focuses on the bigger picture, making connections with, for and between the organisations with which we work.
Before being appointed to lead the business in 2014, David headed our projects and infrastructure practice, with extensive experience of negotiating major project change across a wide range of sectors. He brings this background to his role running the business following the creation of Gowling WLG, making sure the firm is fully integrated so that clients can benefit from our enhanced, much broader and deeper, capabilities.
In his own words
As chief executive of the firm, I spend a lot of time with our major clients, helping them to access the full range of our services, and making sure we deliver in the way that they would expect us to. A significant part of my role is actually about making connections for clients, whether that means putting them in touch with parts of our business that they've not worked with before, or introducing them to opportunities outside the firm that help them realise their own strategic goals.
I'm responsible for leading the business and shaping it both in the UK and internationally, which means designing the strategy and making it happen. It's my role to make sure our broader and deeper capabilities are made available to our existing clients and new ones, while we continue our focus on industry sectors, attaching great significance to understanding the world in which our clients operate.
People are the mainstay of our business, and it falls within my remit to continue to develop our culture and the huge talent of the individuals and teams that work here. We do this by ensuring that our people are engaged and motivated so they can deliver the best possible service to our clients.
Taking on the chief executive role and guiding this business through its combination with Gowlings is a defining moment in my career.
To date, my highlights on the professional front include two multi-billion pound highways transactions for Amey, where I was acting for one of the leading public services provider on first the £2.7 billion highways maintenance contract with Birmingham City Council, and then its £2 billion highways management and maintenance contract with Sheffield City Council. Both those mandates involved cross-firm teams and created employment and better environments in the cities concerned.
From a technical point of view, the most challenging job I've ever done was work on the Crossrail project, which involved the interpretation of new legislation, passed midway through the project, as well as the provision of specialist rail advice against the background of the government seeking overriding powers to implement the project via a hybrid bill.
In addition to my role as chief executive, I remain client relationship partner for some of the firm's major clients, including Amec and Amey.
David has spent his career advising in the projects and infrastructure practice, with a focus on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) model since its inception. He has a particular focus on the transport sector (including rail), but has worked with a broad range of clients over the course of his career, in the UK and internationally, in a variety of sectors, spanning health, defence, power, nuclear, rail, road, marine and social infrastructure, to name but a few.