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Linklaters finance practice knocked as firm loses leading partners in Germany and Hong Kong

Linklaters has suffered senior exits in two key financial centres, with former German international board member Eva Reudelhuber departing for Gleiss Lutz in Frankfurt and Davis Polk & Wardwell hiring capital markets partner Jon Gray in Hong Kong.

A member of the international board between 2007 and 2014, Reudelhuber became a Linklaters partner when the Magic Circle firm merged with German giant Oppenhoff & Rädler in 2001. She is ranked by The Legal 500 as a leading individual in the German banking market, advising on syndicated loans, acquisition finance, project finance and structured finance.

Reudelhuber has helped build Linklaters’ German banking unit over the past decade and her exit will come as a blow to the firm. Her move happens as Linklaters cuts the number of international board members from 14 to 11 following a partnership vote last month, which saw the number of German seats reduced from two to one as Munich-based, co-head of global insurance Wolfgang Krauel, lost his place. She was also previously a member of the partnership matters subcommittee, which met quarterly to guide the firm’s responsibility towards its partners.

Gray’s exit to White Shoe firm Davis Polk will hurt the firm’s US securities practice in Hong Kong, where he is known for his work representing investment banks, funds and issuers in the New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo markets. Listed by The Legal 500 as a leading foreign lawyer for capital markets in Japan and fluent in Japanese, Gray was relocated to Hong Kong in 2009, just two years after being made up in New York. He leaves after a decade at the firm, having joined in 2005 as an associate from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

He is the latest partner to leave Linklaters’ Asia arm in the past 12 months, with the firm losing fellow Hong Kong capital markets partner David Ludwick to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in March this year, while Nigel Pridmore left the firm’s capital markets team in July 2014 for Ashurst. Linklaters’ decision against relocating Beijing-based energy and project finance partner James Douglass back to London late last year, led to his City return with King & Wood Mallesons.

The changes to the international board were first mooted at the end of last year. They see two London seats also dissolved, with City-based head of intellectual property Ian Karet and corporate partner William Buckley losing their positions as a result. It brings the number of London-based members on the board down from six to four with banking partner Nick Syson, capital markets specialist Paul Lewis, corporate partner Aedamar Comiskey and litigator Christa Band maintaining their seats.

The new-look global strategy body will be renamed the partnership board but continue to be chaired by senior partner Robert Elliott, who said: ‘these changes are intended to streamline the firm’s senior governance body responsible for strategic and major decisions, allowing for an improved balance in its composition and a size which we think is ideal’.

The partnership agreed that managing partner Simon Davies would continue to sit on both the executive committee and the newly-named partnership board, despite its responsibility to act as a check on the decisions put forward by the executive committee.