Freshfields names new Middle East corporate chief

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed a new Middle East and North Africa (MENA) corporate head, shortly after announcing its exclusive association with Saudi firm The Law Firm of Salah Al-Hejailan (LFSH).

Paris partner Bertrand Pellet will move to Dubai to head the firm’s MENA corporate practice replacing David Higgins, who will spend more time in London.

Higgins was appointed co-head of the MENA in November 2008. He shared the position with Bruce Embley before becoming the sole head. Both partners will continue to be involved in the firm’s MENA practice, splitting their time between London and Dubai.

Pellet said: “Like the rest of the world, the Middle East economy is going through challenging times. This has led to an increasingly diversified need for legal services that require versatility and flexibility from lawyers in the region. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to contribute to our growth in the region and build upon a strong existing platform.”

Pellet’s appointment comes shortly after Freshfields changed its sponsor arrangement in Saudi Arabia, swapping its relationship with local associate Fares Al-Hejailan for an exclusive association with Al-Hejailan’s father’s practice, LFSH ( 15 march 2010).

The appointment also follows the relocation of Munich finance partner Tobias Müller-Deku to Riyadh in October 2009.

Joe Huse, managing partner of Freshfields’ MENA offices said: “Bertrand’s 20 years of experience in corporate and finance transactions in an international environment is particularly well suited to our MENA practice. His relocation to Dubai, combined with our exclusive association with LFSH in Saudi Arabia, is further evidence of our strong commitment to the region.”

Pellet joined Freshfields as a partner in 2003. He began his career at Slaughter and May before joining Norton Rose, where he made partner and later headed the Paris corporate finance group.