Norton Rose Fulbright Sydney partner and head of financial institutions Chris Redden has left the firm for Ashurst, two weeks before Norton Rose’s merger with Australian firm Henry Davis York.

Redden has joined Ashurst’s Sydney office as a partner as part of the firm’s strategy to build up its project finance practice in Asia Pacific. He has advised on many international and cross-border financings across several sectors such as oil and gas, infrastructure, mining and energy.

He is qualified in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK. Prior to relocating to Norton Rose’s Sydney office in 2012, he practised at the firm’s Hong Kong office for over two years, where he was made up. Before that, he also spent time as an associate in Clayton Utz, Linklaters and legacy Freehills.

Ashurst global co-head of finance Jamie Ng in Sydney said: “His appointment supports our active growth agenda, while providing a significantly broader and stronger offering to both our international and domestic clients.”

Redden’s departure from Norton Rose comes two weeks before the firm’s merger with Australian firm Henry Davis York, which is set to take effect on 1 December 2017. It is understood that 34 HDY partners will join the combined firm. However, around 20 HDY partners have left the firm since the announcement earlier this year.

Prior to the merger, Norton Rose Fulbright has made several lateral hires and promotions in Australia. In October, it hired corporate partner Natalie Lonergan from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Sydney office to strengthen its Asia Pacific energy and resources offering. More recently, in elected Sydney based competition lawyer Belinda Harvey and Melbourne corporate lawyer Chris Mitchell to partner. It will also relocate corporate partner Vincent Dwyer from Singapore to Sydney in January 2018.