Norton Rose unveils Australia’s Ahern as global chairman

Norton Rose has appointed Sydney partner Adrian Ahern as global chairman, with the corporate partner replacing Canada-based Norman Steinberg on 1 May this year.

The position rotates yearly between the firm’s regional arms, with Steinberg’s term expiring on 30 April.

The role has previously been held by members of the UK-based and Canadian arms, leaving the US and South Africa as the remaining options when the firm selects a new chairman for May 2014.

Steinberg will continue as chairman of the firm’s Canada business and will remain co-chairman of the global firm.

Ahern, head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific financial institutions sector team, is the first Australia-based partner to be take on the top role following the UK firm’s merger with Deacons on 1 January 2010.

Australia managing partner Wayne Spanner said in a statement: “The appointment of one of our Australia-based partners to global chairman is a significant milestone, not only for Norton Rose, but for Australian business generally. Adrian’s global role underscores the importance of the Asia-Pacific region in an international business.”

Global CEO Peter Martyr added: “[Ahern] brings exceptional client relationship experience to the practice and I have every confidence he will continue to build on the international work of his predecessor, Norman Steinberg, who I would like to thank. The rotation of the global chairman role reflects the global nature of our business.”

Martyr’s current term as CEO ends in 2014, while Stephen Parish was last year re-elected as chairman of the UK LLP until 2015 (14 February 2012).

Speaking to The Lawyer last November, Martyr declined to confirm that he would stand for a fourth term but said his work was “not completed” (16 November 2012).