Former Ashurst senior partner Geoffrey Green is to retire after 34 years and return to London to work with the firm on integration with legacy Australian firm Blake Dawson, with which it could fully merge as early as this year.
He has announced he will step down as Asia managing partner on 1 May, continuing in a part-time consultancy role in the City base. He will be replaced by Singapore banking and project finance partner Matthew Bubb.
Green, who joined Ashurst in 1973 and made partner in 1979, will leave the equity partnership on the same date and transfer from Hong Kong to assist Bubb from London.
He will also work with the leadership on integration with Ashurst Australia, with the firm understood to be aiming to seal the full financial merger this calendar year after previously stating the combination would take place by 2014.
Bubb, a former Blakes senior associate, was Ashurst’s managing partner in the city state from 2006 until his appointment to the management board last year (9 May 2012).
Green was the firm’s chief for a decade between 1998 and 2008 and headed the corporate department from 1994 to 1998.
In 2008 he moved to Hong Kong to head the firm’s Asia practice, launching its first outpost in Greater China (4 August 2008).
Since August 2012 he has been a non-executive director on the board of FTSE 100 metals and mining company Vedanta Resources, an Ashurst client.
Green was instrumental in building the firm’s private equity practice as corporate head. In his role at the helm of the Asian practice, he we closely involved in setting up the Blakes deal and Ashurst’s imminent launches in Beijing and Seoul. He is currently chair of the expanded Asian business formed when Ashurst’s and Blakes’ operations in the region combined last year (26 September 2011).
Green was a strong supporter of Ashurst’s attempted merger with Clifford Chance in the late 1990s and was voted in to replace Andrew Soundy as senior partner shortly after talks ended (22 September 1998).
During his tenure, the firm held merger discussions with US firms Latham & Watkins and Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, which ended in 2000 and 2003 respectively.
The firm also tripled its revenues during his leadership period, with profit increasing four-fold and its international spread increasing to cover Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Office openings while he was senior partner included Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York and Stockholm, with the firm also significantly expanding in Frankfurt and Paris.
He was replaced as senior partner by fellow corporate partner Geffen, with Green deciding to step aside and relocate to Hong Kong (22 September 2008).
Green said in a statement: “It has been a great privilege to have worked for many years with many friends and colleagues at Ashurst and more recently at Ashurst Australia, and to have been closely involved with our exciting combination. I’ve known Matthew since he joined Ashurst and I will enjoy continuing to work with him to support our business in Asia through to formal merger of the firms later this year.”
Geffen added: “Matthew has great credentials and I know he will play a significant role in the continuing success of our offices in Asia. I would also like to thank Geoffrey personally for everything he has helped us to achieve. His leadership and vision have been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. We will continue to benefit from his advice and extensive experience as we integrate with Ashurst Australia.”
Bubb said: “We have a great team in place and helping to steer the offices through the next stage in their development is an exciting opportunity. Geoffrey has left us with a very strong legacy and I hope to build on his many achievements.”