Marsden Rawsthorn appoints new chief executive

Debbie Pettitt, formerly director of business development and marketing for Marsden Rawsthorn, has been appointed as chief executive.

As the first non-solicitor chief executive in the firm’s history, her appointment is seen as pivotal in allowing senior partners, who would normally assume the role, to concentrate on providing legal advice and expertise to their clients as opposed to running the business.

Debbie, from Lytham, said: “Over the past few years the legal sector has changed significantly. One of the key developments is the introduction of non-lawyer ownership of legal practices which has led to increased pressure for law firms to operate in a much more commercial way.

“Furthermore, the expectations of clients are changing and increasingly they prefer to use online services. In order to remain competitive, we need to ensure that we can deliver services that meet their needs.

“I’m looking forward to guiding Marsden Rawsthorn into this new phase, which will see us develop a much more commercial profile to benefit our clients.”

Debbie initially trained as an accountant, and joined Datel in 2000 where she developed and led a newly-formed Sage Accountants Division.

By the following year, she was heading up a team of 10 people which was turning over £1m, and was awarded the Sage Accountants Award for highest revenue generated. In 2004, she became national business development manager for Sage Accountants Division, leading 150 sales staff.

Debbie joined Marsden Rawsthorn as marketing manager in 2008, successfully developing a new debt collection unit, alongside maintaining client instructions and fees in the face of a declining economic climate and the increasing pressures on the legal sector.

Marsden Rawsthorn employs 85 staff across its two offices in Preston and Chorley.