Detroit’s Clark Hill Wednesday announced John J. Hern Jr. will remain CEO through the end of the year and then be replaced by John P. Hensien, a member of the firm’s executive committee. In January 2021, Hern and Jeffrey J. Conn, also a member of the executive committee, will assume co-chair roles.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Clark Hill’s CEO for over 17 years,” says Hern. “The unforeseen circumstances which led me into this role in 2002 left me with a keen appreciation for the value of orderly leadership transition and solidified our commitment to proactive succession planning.
“Through this year, the firm will move into the next phase of our strategic plan with continued focus on deepening the value and service we offer to our clients. The unanimous election of John Hensien to the role of CEO reflects the stature and regard in which he is held across the firm. It is with great confidence and excitement that I look forward to the future of the firm under John’s leadership.”
Hensein was nominated and unanimously approved as CEO by the firm’s 12-member executive committee in September.
“John Hern is a thoughtful, selfless leader who has guided Clark Hill through three significant mergers that tripled our size and created an international platform upon which we will continue to build,” says Hensien.
“His influence as CEO has embedded a high standard for excellence firmwide. It is an honor to have been entrusted with the responsibility of continuing his legacy of service to the firm and our clients. Our new leadership structure will ensure that we continue to benefit from John’s unequalled knowledge of the firm and also from Jeff’s long history as an insightful leader.”
Hensien is a member of the firm’s corporate practice group and co-chair of its automotive and manufacturing practice. Over the past 25 years, he has built an international mergers and acquisition and corporate practice. More recently, he has spent about one-quarter of his time on firmwide administrative responsibilities.
“I am grateful for the enthusiasm and support that clients have expressed about my new role, and I intend to continue to provide strategic counsel and board level involvement during and following the transition,” says Hensien.
Hensien graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1994 and earned a Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University in 1991.
Conn earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1989. He was formerly the managing partner of Thorp Reed and Armstrong, whose five offices merged with Clark Hill in 2013. Since then, Conn served as member-in-charge of Clark Hill’s Pittsburgh office, practice group leader of its banking and financial services practice, and as a member of the firm’s executive committee. His practice spans commercial and real estate finance, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate, and real estate law.
“Continuity is a fundamental value at Clark Hill and is a key reason the executive committee created the co-chair structure,” says Conn. “In addition to serving as trusted advisors to John Hensien, we will each have defined areas of responsibility. I will continue to serve my clients in active practice, and I look forward to playing a part in the future growth of our firm in my newly expanded role.”
Clark Hill has more than 650 attorneys and professionals in 23 offices across the nation, as well as offices in Dublin and Mexico City.