Middle East private equity firm Abraaj Capital has bolstered its team with the hire of Allen & Overy’s (A&O) Dubai corporate head, together with two lawyers from the New York office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.
Pervez Akhtar, until now a partner at A&O, has joined the private equity house as an executive director, with London corporate partner Andrew Schoorlemmer relocating to the Middle East to take over his role at the magic circle firm.
Lawyers from London, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Singapore and Brussels will also make the move, which is part of a wider scheme by A&O that will see six partners and 14 associates from seven jurisdictions relocate to the Middle East.
At Abraaj, Simpson Thacher lawyer Andrew Chvatal, with eight years’ post-qualification experience (PQE), has already joined the private equity house. Darius Jannat, with four years’ PQE, will move to Dubai later this month. They both join in non-legal roles.
Abraaj executive director Tom Speechley told The Lawyer: “They are coming in as lawyers in an executional role. Our funds under management – currently $5bn [£2.83bn] – have been growing significantly and we are keen to bolster our deal execution capacity”.
Speechley stressed that despite Abraaj’s growth, the hires of Akhtar, Chvatal and Jannat were one-offs, with no further hires on the horizon. “We specifically targeted ;these ;three individuals,” he added.
According to Elizabeth Williams, senior partner at Dubai-based recruitment consultancy Tessera Executive Search, the quality of the hires is a sign of the maturity of the local market.
“It marks a major shift in terms of how clients are considering lawyers out here,” she said.