Ashurst strikes to leave Norton Rose suffering in Middle East

Ashurst has further bolstered its growing energy practice with the star hire of the head of Norton Rose’s energy practice in the Middle East.

John Inglis joins Ashurst as a partner in the energy practice in London, although his start date is still under discussion.

The hire is a significant blow to Norton Rose as Inglis, who specialises in development and financing of energy projects in emerging markets, is widely considered to be the firm’s leading Middle East energy specialist.

Last year he led advise on the $2.5bn financing of the Greater EQUATE project in Kuwait, the largest project financing ever in Kuwait at the time. He also advised Marubeni Corporation and its consortium partners on the $1.2bn Rabigh power, water and steam project.

Inglis departure follows that of Dubai partner Tahir Ahmed, who also resigned from Norton Rose last month to join Ashurst. The firm also recently lost Dubai-based finance partner Nadim Khan and corporate finance partner Zubair Mir to Herbest Smith

By comparison, the hire is Ashurst’s fourth energy lateral appointment in the last 18 months, following Philip Thomson in London, David Wadham in Dubai and Ashley Wright in Singapore.

Ashurst’s Global Head of Energy Geoffrey Picton-Turbervill said: “Energy projects and finance is a key area for us, and John’s experience in this area, particularly in the Middle East, provides an excellent fit with our existing energy projects work not only out of Dubai but also London and Tokyo.”

Stephen Parish, head of banking at Norton Rose, said: “It’s always disappointing to lose a friend like John who has been a great asset to Norton Rose for the last 20 years both as a partner and as an associate.

“His move, however, will not affect our project finance department as we still have a 20-partners in our London office. But again, it’s disappointing to lose John.”