Magic circle firm Clifford Chance has elected corporate head Matthew Layton as global managing partner. 

Layton will replace outgoing managing partner David Childs, who served eight years in the role, the firm announced this morning. 

Layton (pictured, right) was competing against Paris managing partner Yves Wehrli and real estate finance partner Andrew Carnegie in the election. Partners were asked to begin voting earlier this month, with the polls closing last night. All candidates released a manifesto and required more than 50% of the votes to win.

Layton's term will formally begin on 1 May 2014, running for four years. Layton will spend the interim period working closely with Childs, the firm said. 

Layton has been the global head of the firm’s corporate practice since 2008 and previously led the London office’s corporate finance and M&A group. He has been partner since 1991.

Childs (pictured, left) said: ‘I am confident that in passing the baton on to Matthew I leave the firm in very good hands. I know that Matthew is as ambitious for the firm as I have been, and I’m sure Clifford Chance will go from strength to strength under his leadership.’

Layton said: ‘I am greatly looking forward to working with my fellow partners and colleagues as we continue to build on our position at the forefront of the global legal elite.'

Clifford Chance, which has more than 2,500 lawyers, had a turnover of £1.27bn last year and reported a profit per equity partner of £1m. 

Earlier this week the firm elected David Bickerton to serve a further four-year term as London managing partner, following an uncontested election. Bickerton was first elected to his role in November 2009.  

Clifford Chance’s London office has over 1,500 employees including 176 partners.