Ashurst restructuring partner quits for Kaye Scholer

Ashurst restructuring partner David von Saucken is leaving to join US firm Kaye Scholer, splitting his time between London and Frankfurt.

He becomes the latest in a string of equity partners to leave the City firm in recent months.

London-based Von Saucken joined Ashurst in 2006 and has carved out a niche as one of a small number of German restructuring partners based or partly based in London.

Others in the circle include Salans partner Bodo Schaar and Schultze & Braun lawyers Frank Tschentscher and Annerose Tashiro.

Von Saucken will join Kaye Scholer’s business reorganisation and creditors’ rights group, spending some of his time in the City and some in the firm’s Frankfurt office.

He becomes the US firm’s first dedicated London partner in this practice group, although international partner Stuart Fleet also has some involvement in restructuring.

The partner has acted for bondholders on key international restructuring cases, especially involving the Middle East.

While at Ashurst, von Saucken led a team advising the majority holders of a €275m (£236m) bond issued in 2008 by German retailer Arcandor, which filed for insolvency in 2009. The bond was exchangeable into shares in Thomas Cook Group.

He also advised the bondholders on a restructuring agreement between German real estate company Vivacon and its creditors, which involved a €18.6m (£15.9m) debt-to-equity swap.

He acted for mezzanine creditors to Highstreet, a consortium led by Goldman Sachs that owned a large proportion of the Karstadt stored owned by Arcandor.

Von Saucken’s departure follows the recent exit of a number of Ashurst partners with a focus on the real estate or construction sector. Real estate funds partners David Evans and Samantha Lake Coghlan have quit the firm for Goodwin Procter (11 October 2011), construction partner Marc Hanson is set to leave Ashurst for Berwin Leighton Paisner (3 October 2011), while  DLA Piper hired Ashurst real estate partner Simon Cookson last month as head of its London real estate team (9 September 2011).

Former Ashurst disputes Michael Madden, who had a strong real estate litigation practice, left the City firm yesterday to join US firm Winston & Strawn as head of its commercial litigation practice in London (13 October 2011).

A total of 17 partners were moved down Ashurst’s lockstep in the last financial year, including six in real estate – the area worst hit by demotions (8 August 2011).