Freshfields shakes up Thailand management with joint heads

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is overhauling its Thailand management only months after Ruth Markland took over as head of the region.

Current Bangkok head James Lawden is relocating to the Tokyo office. He originally moved from Tokyo to Bangkok six years ago. He is admitted as a gaikokuho jimu bengoshi, which allows him to practise in Japan.

Lawden will be replaced by two lawyers, Asia head of capital markets Clive Rough and finance partner Suparb Vongkiatkachorn. It will be the first time the office has had joint managing partners, as well as the first time a local partner, Vongkiatkachorn, will take on the role. Rough will relocate from Hong Kong, where he has been based since 1996.

Markland says she was keen to have a local partner in a position of authority in Bangkok. But she adds: “There was a feeling that, particularly in relation to a young office such as Bangkok, there’s a benefit in having somebody as a manager who has experience of the firm internationally.”

Rough’s recent deals include acting for the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation to set up its guaranteed mortgage-backed pass through a securitisation programme, and advising Deutsche Securities on the securitisation of mortgages originated by First Pacific Bank. Vongkiatkachorn has acted on transactions such as long-term leases of land for Tesco’s Lotus superstores in Thailand and on ICI’s acquisition of Unilever’s speciality chemicals companies in Thailand.

Singapore-based finance associate Jeremy Jennings-Marers, who specialises in debt restructuring, has been promoted to the partnership. He will relocate to Thailand, bringing the total number of partners in Bangkok up to four.

Markland says that the partnership promotions in May were the logical time to bolster the Tokyo and Bangkok offices. All changes will come into effect from May.

Markland became Asia managing partner at the beginning of this year, after stepping down from her role as head of the Hong Kong office. She was replaced there by Asia litigation and arbitration head Rajat Jindal, allowing her to concentrate on the region as a whole (The Lawyer, 18 December 2000).

Markland became the firm’s first Asia managing partner in 1996, having moved to Hong Kong to set up that office in 1985.