Asia chief quits Freshfields

Freshfields' Asia managing partner Ruth Markland is quitting after 20 years at the firm

It is understood that Markland, who spent seven years as Freshfields' Asia managing partner, will pursue interests outside the law.

The firm has appointed Perry Noble as her replacement. Noble will relocate from London and will be based in Hong Kong from September.

Noble has not agreed the length of his tenure but he said that it is likely to be between four to five years.

He said: “My objective is to reinforce what Ruth has done and to continue to build market share where it makes sense for us to do so.”

He said that it is too early to comment on the strategic direction of Freshfields' Asian offices and confirmed that the firm is not making any sort of review of its international network.

“China remains a key market for us,” he said. “The future of an international firm of this scale includes participation in what could become one of the world's largest economies. From the outside, China looks like an exciting opportunity, but whatever we do in this climate, it has to be done prudently.”

Noble, who has been a partner at Freshfields since 1996, specialises in project finance and banking work, particularly in the telecoms and infrastructure sectors. He is the relationship partner for Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whompoa. Before joining Freshfields in December 1992, Noble worked in Hong Kong and has spent considerable time in the region since then.