Carolyn, who is also the firm's Head of Pensions, is a well-known figure in the pensions, asset and investment management community based in the City of London.
The appointment comes following a period of strong growth for Pinsent Masons in the City. Earlier this year the firm announced the appointment of corporate heavyweight Hammad Akhtar from Ashurst and EU and Competition head Alan Davis from Jones Day.
The firm has also cemented its reputation as a prominent corporate adviser in the City, with the most recent Corporate Adviser rankings revealing the firm has more PLC clients than any firm except Slaughter & May.
It has advised on a string of high profile deals including advising AMC on a series of acquisitions worth almost US$2bn, acting for Redefine Properties on the €1.2 billion acquisition of a majority stake in a Dutch property vehicle, and working with Teva on its £603m sale of Actavis' UK and Ireland generics business.
Other significant mandates included advising on the main market IPO of Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd, advising Reliance Mutual on its proposed demutualisation and sale to LCCG, and advising Sovereign Capital on its acquisition of Optionis by Arkarius Group.
John Cleland, Managing Partner at Pinsent Masons, said: "Our unique combination of City bench strength and sector focus has helped propel our practice in London to new heights. Carolyn is very well equipped to help us take it from strength to strength as part of a growing and cohesive international law firm. She has an excellent reputation amongst clients and colleagues alike, and was a natural candidate to take over this role.”
Carolyn Saunders added, "I'm extremely excited to be taking up this position and look forward to working with clients and colleagues during an unprecedented period of change for the City. I am confident that our firm’s track record in innovation resonates with our clients and will stand us in good stead for what lies ahead.”
Carolyn takes over from former managing partner, David Ryan who, after a long and distinguished career with the firm, will retire at the end of April.