Simmons replaces Middle East chief

Field, who hails from the corporate practice and is based in Abu Dhabi, advised on the creation of Bear Stearns’ Middle East asset management, fixed income and investment banking operations.

In contrast, Simpson is a Dubai-based projects specialist who worked on the $2bn (£1.24bn) Dolphin Gas Project in Abu Dhabi.

Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins said: “We thought it was right to change. Paul is focused on his projects practice. The two things are not ­compatible, as projects work involves [a lot of travel] all over the region.”

However, the change in management by the firm, which has three offices in the region, was described as controversial by some ­insiders, who cited the fact that Simpson occupied the role for only half of the three years normally envisaged.

Field and Simpson were both unavailable for ­comment.