Tag: mayer brown

Management merry-go-round as CC, Mayer Brown and Watson Farley name new leaders

Capping off a week of significant change in big law’s C-suites, Clifford Chance has appointed financial markets partner Charles Adams as its next managing partner.

Adams will succeed incumbent Matthew Layton on 1 May 2022, when he will commence a four-year term. For his part, Layton was re-appointed for a second term in 2017, after improving operational rigour, bolstering partner performance and ushering in shake-ups to CC’s historically restrictive lockstep model . During Layton’s second term, CC boosted revenues by 35% and profit per equity partner by 65%.

Adams has been CC’s regional managing partner in continental Europe since 2018, and in that time has also sat on the firm’s executive leadership group. Prior to this role, he served as office managing partner for CC’s Italian offices between 2007 and 2014. In winning the support of the CC partnership, Adams fought off challenges from London structured finance partner Jessica Littlewood and Singapore-based project finance partner Nick Wong.

Adams said: ‘At Clifford Chance we have all the ingredients to continue to shape the legal industry: an outstanding global platform, deep and broad market-leading expertise and a strong, dynamic and ambitious culture. The past few years have shown what we can achieve, and I see many opportunities to work with partners and all my colleagues across Clifford Chance to build on that success. At the heart of all we do will be ensuring that we are the absolute first choice for our clients and for the best talent in the market.’

Elsewhere, Mayer Brown on Tuesday (14 December) announced that banking and finance partner Dominic Griffiths will succeed Sally Davies as London managing partner. Davies, who has held the position since 2017, will be stepping down at the end of the year to focus on her responsibilities as part of the firm’s eight-lawyer global management committee.

Joining Mayer Brown in 2005, Griffiths (pictured) served as co-leader of the firm’s global banking and finance practice since 2014. He also has valuable experience with fostering junior talent, thanks to his well-established position as Mayer Brown’s graduate recruitment partner.

A 2019 Legal Business Life during law feature on Griffiths saw him discuss, among many other things, his annoyance at ‘boring lawyers’, his love of Winston Churchill, and his general bon viveur approach to life.

Jon Van Gorp, global chair of Mayer Brown, described Griffith’s elevation as ‘great news for the London office.’ He added: ‘He is a talented leader, whose unique skills combine great knowledge of the firm, our clients and the London market. I am confident that he will build on Sally’s work to ensure that we continue to thrive.’

Speaking to Legal Business, Griffiths said: ‘I’m incredibly honoured to be chosen. I have been at the firm for a long period of time, and I am keen to transfer my previous focus on the finance practice into the future growth of the wider firm.

‘This will include outward-facing engagement with City institutions and consolidating our incredible network of banking institutions, funds and corporates. But it will also mean promoting the brand of the firm, which I consider to be one of a small handful of elite transatlantic practices with a broader network in Asia and South America. I would define our future approach to promoting our strong internal talent and attracting high quality lateral hires as “measured but serious growth”‘.

It is also an end of an era at Watson Farley & Williams, with longtime leadership duo Chris Lowe and Lothar Wegener stepping down as co-managing partners. The firm has opted to shuffle its management structure by appointing George Paleokrassas and Lindsey Keeble as its new senior partner and managing partner respectively for a five-year term starting in February 2022.

The outgoing Lowe and Wegener took on their roles in 2014, and can be credited with largely improving the firm’s form by focusing on its rigid sector specialisms , despite less favourable financial results of late. This summer, the firm recorded a 1% dip in revenue to just over £180m.

New senior partner Paleokrassas has substantial experience at the firm, having led WFW’s Athens office since 2005, building it up to become the largest international law firm in Greece. He is also a well-regarded shipping finance specialist with experience both in Greece and internationally.

Keeble previously headed up the firm’s London assets and structured finance group covering aviation, maritime and rail – a team which has now grown to 27 partners. She has also led the firm’s maritime sector since 2013 and is a highly-respected operator in that industry.

Keeble commented: ‘George and I both recognise the immense responsibility of our new positions and of ensuring the continued strength and longevity of the business, where our people have the chance to develop, express their views and ideas and have the opportunity to grow and ultimately see their careers fulfilled within the firm.’

On the lateral hire front, Linklaters has recaptured a pair of partners to boost its corporate and financial regulation practices. In Hong Kong, M&A and private equity specialist Betty Yap re-joins the firm from Paul Weiss, where she was China managing partner. She has extensive experience in cross-border M&A, strategic investments, joint ventures, special situations transactions and foreign direct investments involving China.

And in London, Carl Fernandes has returned to Linklaters from Latham & Watkins, bringing with him a practice focused on advising a range of financial services clients on complex regulatory issues. Linklaters’ Asia managing partner William Liu said: ‘The hire of these prominent industry veterans reflects our commitment to further enhancing our truly “world class” client offering. The wealth of experience they will bring to our well-established private equity/M&A and financial regulation practices, will enable us to provide unrivalled expertise to our clients to support them in maximising the opportunities in this diverse market.’

Fieldfisher has launched a new commercial crime practice via the hires of barristers Quinton Newcomb and Shiv Haria-Shah from boutique set Fulcrum Chambers. Newcomb is a highly experienced commercial crime, investigations and compliance specialist, who can boast representing Rolls-Royce, Alstom, Rio Tinto and ENRC in high-profile Serious Fraud Office investigations.

Haria-Shah additionally brings expertise in conducting internal investigations, and advising and training corporate clients on good governance and compliance procedures, helping them to guard against regulatory risk.

Outlining their ambitions, Newcomb said: ‘Fieldfisher is committed to building a market-leading practice, handling the most significant commercial crime, investigations and compliance work globally, with a dedicated and highly specialised team. I look forward to working with both my new and longstanding teammates to realise this goal.’

Finally, Milbank has strengthened its London antitrust capabilities with the hire of Andrea Hamilton, who joins from the Brussels office of McDermott Will & Emery. She brings nearly two decades of global experience in antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, litigation, compliance and counseling, as well as foreign direct investment.

Alexander Rinne, head of Milbank’s European antitrust practice, stated: ‘As the UK continues to extend the scope and rigour of its foreign investment control regime, Andrea’s expertise will be essential for clients to effectively navigate this regulatory hurdle.’


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

Dealwatch: Weil and Mayer Brown scoop leads on Nestlé’s $4bn US ice cream business sale

Weil Gotshal & Manges and Mayer Brown have advised on the sale of Nestlé’s US ice cream business to Froneri for $4bn.

Froneri is an ice cream focused joint venture by Nestlé and PAI Partners created in 2016. The deal means that brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Edy’s, Drumstick and Dreyer’s will join its portfolio which already includes Movenpick, Green & Blacks and Cadbury’s ice cream.

Weil advised Froneri with a team led by London managing partner Michael Francis and included London private equity partner Jonathan Wood, head of the technology and IP transactions practice Barry Fishley and banking partner Tom Richards.

Mayer Brown advised Nestle with a team led out of the US by partners David Carpenter, John Boelter and Michelle Gross.

Carpenter told Legal Business: ‘Nestlé has already contributed to the ice cream business in different parts of the world through this joint venture. The buyer is actually 50% owned by Nestlé and so it’s moving the ice cream business into a company that has a private equity partner. It will be focused on ice cream rather than being part of a big conglomerate.’

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised private equity firm CVC Capital Partners on the acquisition of a stake in WebPros Group by CVC Fund VII from Oakley Capital Private Equity and other investors.

WebPros is a web hosting automation software provider for server management and includes web hosting platforms cPanel and Plesk and web hosting management and billing software WHMCS.

The Freshfields team was led by global co-head of financial sponsors Charles Hayes, co-head of European leveraged finance Alex Mitchell and corporate and M&A lawyer Vincent Bergin.

Kirkland & Ellis advised Oakley Capital on the sale led by London corporate partners Rory Mullarkey and Jacob Traff as well as Ben Leyendeckerin Munich.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Elsewhere, White & Case advised on the $25.6bn IPO of Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), making it the world’s largest IPO. The company began trading on the Saudi Arabian Tadawul Stock Exchange on Wednesday 11 December under TADAWUL: ARAMCO.

The offering included subscriptions from institutions and individuals, comprising of SAR 446bn ($119bn). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sold 3bn shares of Saudi Aramco which accounted for 1.5% Saudi Aramco’s share capital.

The White & Case team was led by Dubai partner Sami Al-Louzi and included London partners Inigo Esteve, capital markets partner Alexander Underwood, Ronan O’Reilly and employment compensation and benefits lawyer Jack Gardener. The Law Office of Megren Al-Shaalan also advised Aramco with a team led by Megren Al-Shaalan and Doug Peel and included London capital markets partner Ibrahim Soumrany.

The $1.7trn valuation makes Saudi Aramco the largest company by market capitalisation. Over 400 White & Case lawyers from around 20 offices advised Saudi Aramco on the transaction.

Latham & Watkins advised the underwriters of Saudi Aramco on non-Saudi law matters. The team was led by New York partners Marc Jaffe and Ian Schuman and included London partner Craig Nethercott. London partners James Inness and Jeremy Green offered advice on corporate matters, Chirag Sanghrajka advised on finance, Rob Moulton advised on regulatory matters while Karl Mah advised on tax.

Prior to the listing, the largest IPO spot was held by Alibaba Group Holding Limited which listed in September 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for $21.8bn.

Finally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on the $450m acquisition of a 25.1% stake in Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) from Adani Transmission Limited as well as a shareholder subordinated debt investment by QIA in AEML.

AEML is part of Adani Group, an integrated business conglomerate based in India which includes six publicly traded companies, focusing on resources, logistics, energy and agriculture.

The Cleary team was led by London partners Tihir Sarkar and Nallini Puri.

Puri told Legal Business: ‘QIA is a very big investor to be partnering with. The Adani Group is a big group with lots of diversified interests and historically they’ve engaged in a lot of acquisitions, particularly within India. India’s done less with foreign investors. In some ways this is a very significant partnership for them because they’ve tied up with a very high profile investor.’

AEMl was advised by Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas led by partners from the Mumbai office.

The deal is expected to close in early 2020 subject to customary conditions and regulatory approval.


This article first appeared on Legal Business.