Qatar sovereign developer bulks up, set for panel rejig

Middle East sovereign property developer Qatari Diar has added two senior lawyers to its Doha-based legal team and is also preparing to launch a panel review.

Andrew Walsh has joined as acting general counsel from Speechly Bircham where he was a partner, while Geraldine Copeland-Wright has left her job as European general counsel at Tishman Speyer Properties to become regional senior legal adviser.

Walsh, who had been on secondment at Qatari Diar while working as a projects and construction partner at Speechly, was offered the in-house role in March.

Copeland-Wright, who started her career as a property associate at Herbert Smith before moving to Tishman, took up her role last month.

A source close to the ­company said the reshuffled legal department was preparing to launch a review of its panel of external law firms in the coming months.

Firms recently instructed by the company include Baker & McKenzie, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells legacy firm Lovells, Patton Boggs and Speechly.

Qatari Diar is controlled by the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund specialising in foreign and local investment. It is working on a joint venture with German rail operator Deutsche Bahn to create a $25bn (£15.3bn) rail project in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Qatari Diar recently made its first big investment in the US, with a deal to build a $700m development known as ’City Center DC’ in Washington DC.