Former BLP chair seconded to Tesco China ahead of Beijing launch

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), which has applied for a licence to open in Beijing later this year, will see its former chair Peter Robinson first take up a temporary secondment posting with Tesco in Shanghai.

Robinson, who stepped down as the firm’s chair in April (19 April 2012), will leave for Shanghai in the next few weeks to take up the role as acting legal director of Tesco in China.

A firm spokesperson noted that Robinson will help the firm’s key client Tesco’s business in China and that the interim role will last several months.

Tesco is one of BLP’s long-standing key clients and has ambitious plans to expand in China. In August 2011, the company raised Rmb725m through issuing Rmb-denominated bonds in Hong Kong. In this transaction, Allen & Overy advised Tesco while Linklaters acted for the banks. Tesco has 110 outlets in China and  12 convenience stores. According to Xinhua, Tesco will open 16 new stores in China in 2012.  

Robinson will be accompanied and assisted by London-based of counsel Lucas Xu, who has 14 years of practice experience in China and the UK and is dual-qualified in the two countries.

The firm has already applied for a licence to open its first mainland China office in Beijing. According to a source close to the firm, the Beijing office could launch as early as September.

The firm opened its first Asia office in Singapore in 2007 followed by an office in Hong Kong in 2011. During his 16-year tenure as the firm’s chairman, Robinson had been heavily involved in developing its international development and Asia strategy. He continues to play a key role in the firm’s expansion in Asia, particularly in China.