Nordhues is the second German finance partner to depart Ashursts since last December, when Rainer Eichholz left. Eichholz, himself a Nordhues hire, quit Ashursts’ Frankfurt office unexpectedly after just six months at the firm.
The departures show the difficulty for Ashursts, which entered the German market late, in making effective lateral hires in a competitive market.
Nordhues moved to Ashursts from Clifford Chance in early 2000. According to Murkel, he was put on sabbatical for four months last December on the understanding that he would seek alternative employment this month. Sources at Ashursts do not know if he has joined another firm.
Although Nordhues’ move to Ashursts did not work out, at one stage he was a key part of the firm’s German strategy. As head of finance, he was expected to grow the firm’s structured finance practice and support its growing private equity practice.
The firm now has just one other German finance partner in Andreas Zahn, although it is expected to make someone up internally this year.
Ashursts has had trouble with finance laterals, but has had some success in other areas, particularly M&A, where it recruited Baker & McKenzie star Jörg Kirchner.