Corporate head departure stalls Lovells’ Asia tie-ups

Asia head defects to Morgan Stanley; doubts spread about Asian alliances

Lovells’ plans to launch a series of strategic alliances in South East Asia have been stalled following the shock resignation of the firm’s Asia corporate head.

As first revealed on news last Wednesday (2 June), Greg Terry is leaving Lovells next month to become Morgan Stanley’s managing director and general counsel for the Asia Pacific region. He will be based in Hong Kong. The move comes just a year after his appointment.

Lovells was in advanced talks with one Thai firm about an alliance and had similar plans for Indonesia and Vietnam (The Lawyer, 3 May). However, some influential partners are thought to be opposed to such a move in the wake of Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer’s decision to close its Bangkok office and Denton Wilde Sapte’s decision to pull out of Asia altogether.

Lovells head of corporate Hugh Nineham denied that Terry’s departure will impact on the firm’s Asia strategy.

“We’ve got a terrifically strong team in Asia, so Greg’s departure doesn’t affect our strategy in the region,” he said.

Terry was appointed for a maximum three-year tenure because after that period he would have reached Lovells’ compulsory retirement age of 62. Nineham admitted that Terry was leaving sooner than the firm had expected.

Lovells has not appointed a replacement for Terry. “Greg’s not somebody who we’d replace,” said Nineham. “I’m not exactly sure how we’ll organise ourselves in the future.”

At Morgan Stanley, Terry is replacing David Graham, who recently left to join UBS in a similar role. In an unusual arrangement, Terry will be leased back to Lovells on a consultancy basis until the end of the year.