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Ashurst hires Freshfields’ Australia head and former Tokyo managing partner to bolster cross-border work

Ashurst has made a rare lateral hire from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, bringing in the firm’s country partner for Australia and co-head of mining and metals, James Wood, to bolster its corporate division.

Wood, who started at Australian firm Allens, was made up to partner at Freshfields in 2001 and spent four years in the firm’s Tokyo office with two of those as managing partner. Specialising in cross-border M&A and corporate finance deals, he had a particular focus on oil and gas.

Due to start in September, Wood’s recent work includes the three-part transaction between GSK and Freshfields’ client Novartis which closed in March 2014 and Clarksons £281m acquisition of RS Platou, an international broker and investment bank focused on the offshore and shipping market. In Tokyo, he worked on the integration of Morgan Stanley’s Mitsubishi UFJ’s securities operations through a joint venture.

Speaking to Legal Business, Wood said: ‘it’s a new challenge and presents an opportunity to use the skills I’ve acquired to make a real impact. Ashurst has ambitious plans for the future’.’

Ashurst’s global head of corporate, Simon Beddow, added: ‘James is a very high calibre senior partner who will play a key role in further developing our practice. The breadth of his international experience, including his background working in Asia Pacific and his sector expertise, has powerful synergies with the firm’s objectives and clients. James will further enhance the scale and depth of our offering and we look forward to welcoming him to the team.’