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Revolving doors: International hires for Allen & Overy, KWM and Morgan Lewis while Gibson Dunn turned to GE

A host of international hires last week saw Allen & Overy (A&O) and Morgan Lewis & Bockius enhance their Frankfurt and Dubai offices respectively while King & Wood Mallesons turned in-house to launch an energy group in Paris and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher hired GE’s executive counsel.

In Frankfurt, Magic Circle firm A&O strengthened its securities practice with the hire of Shearman & Sterling partner Marc Plepelits. He joins the US corporate finance team and the high yield practice in Europe with a primary focus on the German market.

The hire is indicative of the demand for high yield specialists, with research from Dealogic recording total high yield issuance in Europe at the end of Q3 reaching $143.8bn, up 53% on the same period in 2013. Capital markets head Oliver Seiler said: ‘2015 looks set to be a very interesting year for the markets, and bolstering our team puts us in the best position to seize the opportunities that come our way.’

A&O’s up-scaling of its German operations does, however, follow its decision to downsize its Moscow office, a move that saw the firm offer redundancy packages at associate level as US and EU sanctions take their toll on international firms in Russia.

Meanwhile in Paris, King & Wood Mallesons launched an energy and infrastructure group with the hire of partner Richard Mugni from Bolloré Group where he was Bolloré Africa Logistics general counsel (GC), and having previously been GC for projects and privatisations. He will be joined by associate Raphaël Soffer.

Commenting on his appointment, Richard Mugni said: ‘The competition between investors in Africa is vigorous and that means working with the right local law firm is essential to success and client satisfaction. My experience in the region allows me to navigate the continent’s legal system as well as its cultural and political differences. This emphasis on local-market knowledge is something that I recognised in King & Wood Mallesons. I am looking forward to building on the current strengths of its Energy and Africa practices with my team in Paris.’

From Europe to the Middle East where Morgan Lewis has hired Clyde & Co disputes partner Rebecca Kelly to its Dubai office.

Kelly, who has been based in the UAE since 2005, has a decade of experience in handling regulatory matters and disputes in the region. Also a former legal consultant for local firm Al Tamimi & Company, Morgan Lewis said Kelly brings ‘strategically important on-the-ground UAE law capabilities at a time of Dubai’s growing importance as a focal point for global clients expanding in emerging markets.’

Her hire comes as many international firms increase activity levels across the Middle East, with Clyde & Co itself launching a joint office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September with its associated law firm Abdulaziz Al-Bosaily Law Office, while Watson, Farley & Williams entered the region for the first time with a base in Dubai.

Elsewhere, Gibson Dunn made a US hire from in-house, and announced that General Electric’s executive counsel for corporate, securities and finance, Lori Zyskowski, will join its New York office as a partner in January 2015.

At GE, she advised the board of directors and senior management on governance and securities law, was responsible for outreach to institutional investors on governance and executive compensation, and oversaw the company’s review and response to shareholder proposals. Her new role will focus on securities regulation, corporate governance and regulatory compliance issues.

Ken Doran, Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner, said: ‘We know her very well and have worked with her for over 12 years at three different corporations. Lori’s addition will allow us to capitalise on demand. She will bring a true in-house perspective that will be very valuable to clients.’