Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's former London finance head, Bob Charlton, is being transferred to the Middle East in a significant boost to the Magic Circle firm's presence in the region.
Charlton, who is currently on sabbatical until February, is set to take up a post in the firm's Dubai office, adding a major heavyweight to the region.
The move is evidence of a concerted push in the region by Freshfields, after the firm also transferred arbitration head Jan Paulsson and London corporate partner Bruce Embley to its Dubai office. Charlton will be the firm's first finance partner in Dubai, with projects partner Joseph Huse currently the only other partner in the office.
Freshfields has a number of links with local firms in the region, with its Dubai office primarily focusing on banking, asset and project finance in the region.
The news comes less than a week after Dewey & LeBoeuf made its long-awaited debut in Dubai, with the newly-merged firm launching in the region with two partners from U.S. rival Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. As a result, Akin Gump will be closing its office in Dubai later this month, and the firm is instead expecting to open in Abu Dhabi later this year.
The Middle East has been attracting growing interest from a number of international firms, with some looking beyond Dubai to the likes of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. White & Case announced in December that it would be launching in Abu Dhabi while London giants Ashurst and Herbert Smith are both planning to launch offices in the emirate later this year.
DLA Piper, meanwhile, said last November that it plans to open an office in Qatar.