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SRA's chief executive to step down

The ‘challenges have been formidable’, Townsend says

2 May 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

The chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has announced today that he will be stepping down from his role later this year.

Antony Townsend, who was the regulator’s first chief executive, has overseen a change in its approach to outcomes-focused regulation and the introduction of alternative business structures.

"I have headed up the SRA from its inception. The pace of change has been relentless; the challenges have been formidable,” said Townsend.

"The SRA now has a firm basis upon which to develop and mature its new approach to regulation. I have concluded that after seven years it is a good time for me to move on, so I will leave once my successor has been appointed.”

Charles Plant, chair of the board, noted that Townsend inherited “a regulatory organisation and regime in serious need of reform”.

“Much has been achieved by the SRA under Antony's leadership over the past seven years,” he continued.

"The SRA's transformation process must continue with particular emphasis on operational delivery now that the new regulatory framework is substantially in place.

“The next stage in the SRA's development will be equally demanding over a further protracted period of time, and Antony and I have agreed that now is an appropriate time to effect a change.”

Commenting on the news, Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff said that Townsend “has worked tirelessly and selflessly to create a modern regulator for solicitors”.

“He can take credit for many developments at the SRA and never wavered from his robust commitment to establishing it as a public interest regulator," she added.

The SRA regulates more than 120,000 solicitors in England and Wales.

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