Simpson Thacher duo join A&O partner at Abraaj

Simpson Thacher duo join A&O partner at AbraajMiddle East private equity firm Abraaj Capital has bolstered its team with the hire of two lawyers from the New York office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Andrew Chvatal (pictured), who has eight years’ post-qualification experience, has already joined the private equity house, while Darius Jannat, who is four years qualified, will move to Dubai later this month. They both join in non-legal roles.

Abraaj executive Director Tom Speechley told The Lawyer: “They are coming in as lawyers in an executional role.”

He added: “Our funds under management – currently $5bn (£2.85bn) – have been growing significantly and we are keen to bolster our deal execution capacity”.

This follows on from the hire of Pervez Akhtar, former Allen & Overy Dubai head of corporate, who has been appointed an executive director at Abraaj (The, 8 Sep 2008).

Speechley stressed that, despite Abraaj’s growth, these were one-off hires, adding: “We specifically targeted these three individuals.”

According to Elizabeth Williams, senior partner at Dubai-based recruitment consultancy Tessera Executive Search, the quality of the hires is a sign of the maturity of the local market.

She added: “It marks a major shift in terms of how clients are considering lawyers out here.”