DES Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, is to retire after this year’s annual general meeting.
Hudson, a former chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, said his departure had been planned a year ago.
However, yesterday’s announcement coincides with criticism by criminal law solicitors south of the Border of the society’s defence of legal aid rates in the face of government cuts.
James Parry, a Liverpool solicitor, has been behind a campaign for a vote of no confidence in the Law Society’s leadership.
Hudson joined as chief executive in September 2006. Before taking up his post at ICAS he was head of the publishing division of Scottish Media Group (now STV) when it owned the Herald and Times newspapers in Glasgow.
The Law Society credited him with developing the body into an “internationally renowned” organisation, supporting and representing its members around the world.
Among his high-profile campaigns were new initiatives to help to increase the quality of legal services provision in England and Wales and raise public awareness of solicitors’ expertise. These include the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, Risk and Compliance Service and the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.
He said: “A year ago I took the decision to retire in 2014. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Law Society during this time of change for the legal profession and I look forward to continuing to do so until I depart.”
Nicholas Fluck, president of the society, said: “Des has delivered an outstanding service to the Law Society and has been a powerful advocate for the solicitors profession for eight years. He will be a tough act to follow.
“He has transformed the organisation during his tenure and provided a powerful and influential voice for our members.
“His contribution will benefit the society and our profession for many years to come.”