Reed Smith has appointed a new Asia managing partner to succeed Roger Parker, who is stepping down after 18 months.

Hong Kong-based global corporate practice co-chair Denise Jong has been appointed as the firm’s new Asia managing partner.

Jong will take up the position as of 1 January 2018, and Parker will become a senior counsel to the firm.

Jong will be the second partner to hold the position, which was newly created in August 2016 as part of the firm’s management structure overhaul. Under the new structure, Parker, which was previously the firm’s Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) chief since 2007, became Asia Pacific managing partner to provide  “greater regional focus” to Asia. Meanwhile, global chair of financial industry Tamara Box took on the role of Europe and Middle East (EUME) managing partner.

Jong trained with the firm in London and became a partner in 1998. She is dual qualified in England and Hong Kong. She served as a board member on the firm’s executive committee from 2008 until 2015. She will continue to service clients alongside her new leadership role.

Under Parker’s leadership Reed Smith has expanded considerably. Since 2007, the firm opened its doors in Shanghai, Singapore and Astana in 2012, Frankfurt in 2015 and formed an alliance with Singaporean firm Resource Law in 2016.

“Reed Smith’s practice in Asia has grown considerably over the past decade thanks to Roger’s leadership and the commitment of our partners throughout the region to our shared vision. I look forward to continuing to grow the practice in line with the firm’s business needs and using my experience of working in the region to ensure Reed Smith is able to best serve its clients”, said Jong.

According to The Lawyer Asia Pacific 100 2017 report, Reed Smith is the 20th largest international firm in the region by number of partners. In March 2017, it had 44 partners, up by 5 per cent from the previous year.