King & Wood Mallesons has appointed Sue Kench, the Sydney-based head of the firm’s property and construction practice, as its new Australia managing partner, succeeding Tony O’Malley, whose sudden resignation from the role emerged earlier this week.
 
Kench, whose appointment is effective immediately, specializes in property transactions, financings, and development agreements. She first joined the former Mallesons Stephen Jaques two decades ago and became a partner in 1996. Until last year, Kench was a member of the Australian firm’s management board, and participated in the firm’s decision to merge last year with China’s King & Wood.
 
“Sue possesses the stewardship and energetic drive for excellence that is critical to executing the firm’s domestic strategy and broader integration into the region and internationally,” said global managing partner Stuart Fuller in a statement. “Sue will bring a strong client focus to the Managing Partner Australia position and a clear action plan to ensure the client remains front and centre of everything we do.”
 
Neither the firm nor O’Malley has yet to explain his stepping down other than to say it was a mutual decision. The position of Australia managing partner was created ahead of the merger with King & Wood, along with an analogous China managing partner role.
 
Email: jseah@alm.com .