Former Greenberg Traurig Maher (GTM) restructuring head Lyndon Norley has moved to South Africa to join Bowman Gilfillan’s new dedicated restructuring group.

Norley, who joined investment bank Jefferies as a managing director and head of European restructuring and recapitalisation investment banking in 2012, will work alongside Bowman Gilfillan partner and head of restructuring Claire Van Zuylen in the firm’s new team.

Van Zuylen said while the firm had offered restructuring advice for many years, the new ‘restructuring line’ was the first time it had brought together its expertise in one team. A group of around seven partners will focus on restructuring with the group able to bring in supplemental advice on specific issues, such as tax or mining.

Norley said his move coincided with an increase in restructuring work in South Africa, which did not suffer the same downturn in 2007 and 2008 as the UK, US and Europe – largely because it had less exposure to complex banking instruments.

Van Zuylen added that the mining sector in particular was under pressure at the moment after a fall in commodities prices and a weak South African rand. She said the firm felt that pulling together its expertise across a range of sectors would benefit clients involved in restructuring matters.

Although Norley will not be practising law he will contribute to the group by providing advice connected to his experience of acting on US and UK insolvency issues, as well as a wide pool of contacts.

“Sitting primarily in London for 20 to 25 years, I bring that international experience of large, multi-jurisdictional, complex transactions,” he said.

South African bankruptcy law, which was heavily revised in the 2011 Companies Act, includes elements of both UK administration and US Chapter 11 procedures and Van Zuylen added that the change had led to companies thinking about restructuring issues earlier than they had previously.

The restructuring group will offer advice not just in South Africa but also across the countries represented in the Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, which spans Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda.

Norley joined GTM in 2009 from Kirkland & Ellis’s London office, having previously worked at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.