Legal Business Blogs

Linklaters turns to Asia for new banking head as Bugg steps down after three years

Linklaters’ Hong Kong based finance partner Davide Mencacci has replaced Tony Bugg to become the firm’s first non-London based banking head.

Linklaters announced today (11 February) the election of the former Allen & Overy partner to the role for four years, while Bugg stepped down three years into his term to go back to full time fee-earning.

Mencacci, whose career has been split between Italy, the UK and Asia, trained at legacy Paisner & Co in London and joined A&O’s Milan office in 2001. He made partner there in 2005 before joining Linklaters in 2007.

His clients have included Citi, HSBC, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Apollo and Clessidra.

Bugg, who spent most of his client work in the last decade on the administration of the European arm of Lehman Brothers, has handed over a reshaped banking practice in an effort to put it back to the expansive form of the 1990s and early 2000s. The firm has also been pushing to improve its links with alternative lenders.

At the end of 2018 Linklaters had 205 partners in finance and projects globally, generating 45% of its global turnover, or £684m. Three years ago, the finance practice accounted for 40% of the firm’s revenue, according to one ex-partner.

A few weeks after he took over from current managing partner Gideon Moore in January 2016, Bugg announced a reorganisation of the firm’s 200-lawyer London finance practice, introducing four group leaders with greater power to set targets for their teams.

Adam Freeman is now leading the firm’s leveraged finance group; Richard Bussell and Rebecca Jarvis are heading its restructuring and insolvency team; Philip Spittal is head of global loans; and Tom Wells of financial structuring.

Speaking to Legal Business last summer, Bugg said: ‘The biggest scope for growth is on the sponsor-side of the leveraged finance practice – we are a bit light on PE compared with some US firms.’

Mandates Linklaters’ banking practice has acted on recently include the financing of Softbank’s $100bn investment fund, and acting for the banks on Bain Capital’s $18bn acquisition of Toshiba Memory.

For more on Linklaters’ banking practice, see ‘Back to the future’ (£)