Webber Wentzel boosts banking with five hires including Jardine Matheson GC

South African firm Webber Wentzel has hired five senior banking lawyers, including the outgoing general counsel of Jardine Matheson, in a boost for its finance team.

Jardine Matheson announced in December that its general counsel Giles White was stepping down to be replaced by Linklaters corporate head Jeremy Parr (8 December 2014).

South African-born White, also a Linklaters alumnus, will join as a consultant. He moved to Jardine Matheson in 2009 from his role as Asia managing partner for the magic circle firm (18 February 2009).

Webber Wentzel formed an alliance with Linklaters at the end of 2012 (3 December 2012).

Webber Wentzel has also hired Bowman Gifillan partner Mike Mclaren, Baker & McKenzie partners Muhammad Sader and Shaun Browne, and Prinsloo Tindle & Andropoulos director Tahera Cassim as partners in its banking team.

Sader and Mclaren have already started work at Webber Wentzel while the remaining three hires will join in the coming months.

The hires follow the recent recruitment of Werksmans lawyers Gareth Driver and Huneiza Goolam and ENSafrica partner Adam Ismail as corporate partners (4 May 2015). The firm also picked up Absa corporate and investment banking legal head Annari Harley as a restructuring partner (2 March 2015).

Webber Wentzel senior partner Christo Els said the appointments were part of the firm’s strategy of becoming the dominant independent firm in South Africa. Earlier this year newly-appointed managing partner Sally Hutton told The Lawyer the firm was aiming to expand its offering in South Africa and regionally (27 March 2015).

In April the firm lost projects partner Jason van der Poel to Allen & Overy’s recently-launched Johannesburg office (2 April 2015).

Meanwhile Bowman Gilfillan has hired Stronachs consultant David Forfar as head of its oil and gas sector group in Cape Town. Forfar joined Scottish firm Stronachs in 2013 from Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, where he was a senior legal adviser for six years.