Appleby elects Asia-based partner as new group chair

Appleby has become the second major offshore firm to elect a female head, picking Hong Kong partner Frances Woo as its new chairman.

Woo takes over from Peter Bubenzer with immediate effect, ahead of Bubenzer’s retirement in March after 32 years at the firm.

Her appointment follows the news last year that Walkers had elected its first female managing partner, Ingrid Pierce (15 October 2012).

The fact that Woo is in Hong Kong underlines Appleby’s commitment to Asia. Woo became Hong Kong managing partner in 2000 and will help drive the firm’s Asia strategy forward.

Appleby set up a Hong Kong litigation practice (23 March 2012) and launched in Shanghai last year (20 February 2012).

The firm has also announced that corporate and commercial head Judith Collis will retire at the end of March, to be replaced by Cameron Adderley. As a result Adderley is stepping down from Appleby’s group management company board together with retiring partner John Bisson.

Partners Sean Dowling and Timothy Faries were elected to replace Adderley and Bisson, and will join Fraser Robertson, Stephen James and Nick Verardi together with Woo and group managing partner Michael O’Connell, who are ex officio board members.

As group chairman, Woo is primarily responsible for Appleby’s international strategy.