We are tremendously saddened to announce the sudden passing of our friend and partner Scott Simpson. Scott, who was only 65 years old, spent his entire career at Skadden and served as co-head of our global transactions practices for the past several years.
One of the world’s top M&A lawyers, Scott oversaw many of the most noteworthy contested (and uncontested) deals, such as Arcelor’s US$33 billion merger with Mittal Steel NV after helping to block Mittal’s unsolicited US$22.8 billion bid, and Gucci’s defense against a hostile takeover attempt by LVMH. Scott went on to advise Gucci on multiple acquisitions, including its purchase of Yves Saint Laurent and its sale to Kering. He also represented Mannesman AG in its $199 billion merger with Vodaphone AirTouch plc in 1999-2000. The transaction, which began as a hostile takeover, remains the largest corporate acquisition anywhere, ever. While handling these and other extremely intense legal and business challenges, Scott projected an unusual sense of calm — along with intelligence, creativity and an unflinching dedication to both our firm and our clients.
In 1990, as a young partner, Scott joined then-office leader Bruce Buck for a “two-year tour of duty” in our newly established London office. He ended up staying for 32 years and was instrumental in building and championing the success of Skadden’s European platform. Scott was recognized numerous times as one of Europe’s most influential lawyers, including by the Financial Times, Evening Standard, Wall Street Journal and American Lawyer. Just last month, he was named one of London’s most influential lawyers by the Financial News.
Scott grew up on Long Island in New York and took off a year between high school and college to surf in Hawaii, his enthusiasm for which continued through the years. Beyond surfing, in his spare time he could also be found skiing, watching Chelsea football or bird shooting. He was also involved with charitable work for the Boy Scouts and lectured on international mergers and acquisitions at Fordham University School of Law, Harvard Law School and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.
Scott’s unflinching dedication to clients and the firm reflected the highest standards of his mentor, Joe Flom, from whom he also took his mission to learn from the past, assess the present and anticipate the future. Scott’s talent, collegiality and sense of fun will be sorely missed by colleagues globally.
As we grapple with this incomprehensible loss, our most heartfelt thoughts go out to Scott’s wife, Kathleen, and his children Caitlin, Victor and Mairead, as well as to our colleagues around the globe who were touched by him.