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Clifford Chance Pünder is losing the co-head of its global China practice following a dispute over the firm's strategy in Asia
Sabine Stricker-Kellerer will leave the firm's Munich office at the beginning of May, although it is still unclear where she is going. Stricker-Kellerer comes from the Pünder side of the firm and her decision to leave follows a shift in the firm's strategy following the merger. The old Pünder objective was to have a China practice of equal propensity in both China and Germany. Partner and deputy chairman of the board Thomas Gasteyer said this meant that while some lawyers were doing the transactional work on the ground in China, others were close to the clients' headquarters in Germany. However, Clifford Chance has offices in both Shanghai and Beijing and the merger strengthened Pünder's Asian presence. "As a result of the merger, Clifford Chance now has a much stronger presence in Asia," said Gasteyer. "It wants to grow in the regions and this means that in the medium term there'll be a shift of resources. Stricker-Kellerer believes that the concept with which she opened the practice makes sense, and this was a strategy difference on which we couldn't agree." Stricker-Kellerer advises European companies on investing and business transactions in China. Her focus is foreign direct investment, M&A, project financing, licensing, taxation and dispute resolution. Her departure leaves the German-based China practice with only three partners. Stephanie Tetz is based in Munich and Joachim Glatter and Christina Peusch in Frankfurt. Gasteyer said that all three will continue to work in Germany. Stricker-Kellerer was unavailable for comment.