Allen & Overy (A&O) has finally succeeded in recruiting a partner to head its German tax practice, hiring a specialist from the Frankfurt office of Haarmann Hemm-elrath & Partner
Eugen Bogenschütz is one of the leading corporate tax advisers in Germany and one of the first senior tax partners to leave Haarmanns. He is particularly well known for tax structuring on cross-border M&A deals and has a number of high-profile clients in the pharmaceutical sector, including Pfizer. His appointment is a coup for A&O, which currently suffers from a dearth of partners on the dedicated tax side in Germany. Managing partner in Germany Mark Welling said that tax has been a significant target area for some time. "There are a number of tax-qualified partners, but they've been doing other things," he said. "We needed to make a cornerstone appointment to lead the department and we've been talking to a number of people over the last year. "We wanted the right person and Bogenschütz is a highly respected senior partner at Haarmanns." Welling told The Lawyer that tax is the area that has been holding the firm back and admitted that there may have been circumstances where the firm lost work because it lacked the necessary tax capability. He said that substantial recruitment on the tax side would continue, certainly at associate level and possibly at partner level. "For transactional work, 10 per cent of lawyers should be tax specialists, and so we still have a lot of recruitment to do," he said. The move will come as a shock to Haarmanns, which is one of the best-known firms for tax advice in Germany. Partner Klaus Riehmer said that Bogenschütz's decision to move was personal and did not reflect dissatisfaction with his role at Haarmanns. "He wanted a change. We regret his decision as he's a very professional adviser, but we still have a very strong tax department with a lot of strong tax lawyers," said Riehmer. Haarmanns is currently advising Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's MediaSet, which is an investor in the Kirch Media Group. KirchMedia and KirchPay-TV are both filing for insolvency as part of the restructuring of Kirch Media Group.