BLG plugs Asia gap with City partner

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) has reacted to the resignation of Singapore head David Johnston with the emergency transfer of London-based aviation partner Mert Hifzi.

As yet the firm has not named a successor for Johnston, who has left to head the newly launched Singapore offcie of aviation boutique Gates & Partners. BLG senior partner Richard Dedman said Hifzi will leave for Singapore immediately, although he stressed that his posting will last for just a few months.

“It will be for a short period initially while we decide what to do in the longer term,” said Dedman.

Johnston’s departure puts BLG’s Singapore development plans into question. Currently the office houses two associates and, with the departure of Johnston, one partner in the shape of Hifzi.

“We’ve been planning to grow the office, but we’ll be dealing with replacing David first,” Dedman explained. “Once we deal with that we’ll continue to develop the practice.”

Meanwhile, Dedman said the firm can also turn to Hong Kong-based partner Peter Coles for Asian aviation work. Hifzi, who trained with BLG before joining its aerospace division, has worked on commercial litigation and insurance matters in various jurisdictions, including air carrier’s and airport’s liability, aviation product liability and coverage disputes.