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Clifford Chance regional corporate head Guy Norman is to return to London after a three-year stint in Dubai.
Norman relocated to Dubai in 2010 as part of a strategic plan to underline the firm’s international growth strategy (19 July 2010). At the time the move was thought to be highly significant because Norman was a prominent figure in the London corporate practice, having advised Kraft on its takeover of Cadbury (19 January 2010).
He was also a long-standing advisor to Barclays and in 2008 advised the banking giant on a £7.3bn cash injection by investors to avoid nationalisation (31 October 2008).
Partner Nigel Wellings will takeover as corporate chief in the Middle East, the firm said. The moves will go ahead on 5 August.
Norman has spent the last three years working primarily with regional clients. Most recently he was part of the Clifford Chance team that advised on a state-backed merger between property companies Sorouh and Aldar One, to create Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate developer (1 July 2013).
He said: “It’s a fascinating region. There are elements of being here that I’ll miss, but equally I’m looking forward to reconnecting with clients in the UK and the large public companies I used to work with.”
Clifford Chace added: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Guy back to our London practice after a valuable couple of years leading our Middle East practice. Broadening the international exposure of our partners in this way is of significant benefit to our clients, often bringing new perspectives and insights.”
Despite being tipped as potential candidate for the vacant Barclays general counsel role (11 February 2013), Guy insisted that he would remain at the magic circle firm.
He said: “My role in London will be strictly the same, but I propose to look at what opportunities are out there. A lot has changed in terms of the nature of clients, and the importance of emerging markets, and I want to develop my client base internationally.”
Clifford Chance is continuing its expansion in the Middle East, recently relocating Sydney corporate partner Jason Mendens to Qatar from London (5 February).
In March the firm received regulatory approval to set up a mixed partnership in Saudi Arabia comprising foreign and local lawyers (11 March). Although this has been allowed for several years, the magic circle firm claims to be the first international outfit to take the opportunity.
The relocation of Norman follows the recent exit of Clifford Chance global private equity head David Walker to Latham & Watkins’ London base (8 April 2013). Walker and Norman were both members of the magic circle firm’s elite 30C group within corporate, which was broken up in 2008.
For more on 30C and changes within Clifford Chance’s London private equity practice, read our City analysis