Mr Salz, 45, who was a key witness in the Guinness trial,topped a recent league of mergers and acquisitions lawyers in Legal Business magazine, prompting one observer to say: "He is M&A at Freshfields. He's so good that he puts really good people in the shade."
Tim Freshwater, corporate partner at rival firm Slaughter & May, said: "He is ... one of the leading corporate finance lawyers in the City ... not only well-regarded but well-liked."
Among the deals in which Mr Salz has played important roles are SmithKline Beckman's merger with Beecham, the deal between Reed International and Elsevier, and the proposed merger between TSB and Lloyds Bank.
To enable him to continue to devote time to clients, Alan Peck, the firm's managing partner and another specialist in mergers and acquisitions and share issues, will become chief executive. Ian Terry, a partner specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration, is appointed managing partner.
Mr Salz, a graduate of Exeter University, qualified as a solicitor in 1974. Joining Freshfields in 1975, he then spent a year with the US firm Davis Polk & Wardwell before becoming a partner in 1980.
Freshfields, where Mr Grieves has been the senior partner since May 1990, has 153 partners and more than 600 other lawyers in 14 offices around the world.Reuse content