Cor Cordis Sydney practice breaking up

Cor Cordis
Cor Cordis Sydney practice head Neil Cussen.
Cor Cordis
Cor Cordis
Sydney partner
Ozem Kassem.

For some weeks iNO has been hearing that change is afoot in the Sussex Street offices of the Cor Cordis Sydney practice.

Departures. A break up. A disintegration. The rumours careened wildly about, lacking perimeters to curb the speculative extent of their fanciful flights.

Until last night when the firm issued a statement in response to iNO’s enquiries.

In a curious opening paragraph Cor Cordis confirmed that a form of surgery was underway, saying that as part of its continuous process of “reshaping to remain one of the country’s leading restructuring advisory firms …. some of our Sydney partners have chosen to explore other opportunities”.

Now why some of the firm’s partners would leave as a consequence of the firm’s efforts to remain a leading restructuring firm raises more questions than it answers.

Were those leaving told they were hindering the reshaping process? Or are they leaving because they disagree with how the process is being applied?

The Sydney office ructions must also be considered in the context of the recent departures from Cor Cordis’s West Australian practice mainstays James Watson, Brett Orzel and Jack Smith.

iNO put calls through to partners Neil Cussen, Mark Hutchins and Jason Tang. The only comment provided was “No comment” when we asked if the Sydney practice was breaking up. Hardly an emphatic denial. And so the perimeters fall away.

iNO’s mail is that when Cussen defected to Cor Cordis from Deloitte in 2021, bringing with him Michael Billingsley, Jonathan Parker and Tony Wright, he understood that he would have free rein to initiate cultural change, a necessary task following the expulsion from ARITA in 2018 of senior Cor Cordis partner Ozem Kassem.

While nobody is talking at this point it may be that the Deloitte parachute regiment has decided to bail.

Or it may be that Kassem has decided to walk.

Either way there’ll be tough discussions about equity and value and the firm has undertaken to reveal more, saying in its statement that: “next steps include ongoing engagement to finalise the details of an amicable separation. We expect this phase to continue over the next couple of months, with an outcome to be reached by the end of June 2023. We will provide further details over the coming weeks.”

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