Wesley Johnson Jr., a Jones Day corporate partner who formerly headed the firm’s Paris branch, has been tapped to lead its New York office. He succeeds Willis Goldsmith, who led the New York location since January 2008 and who turned over the position in accordance with firm guidelines that state partners must step down from office and practice leadership positions when turning 65. Goldsmith will continue his practice in labor and employment matters as a partner.

Johnson, 58, will lead a New York office that numbers nearly 300 lawyers, the firm’s largest office headcount. Jones Day managing partner Stephen Brogan selected Johnson for the position. Johnson, a 1982 graduate of Harvard Law School, was partner in charge of the Paris office from 1994 to 2010. He relocated to New York early last year, finding New York the best location for his M&A practice, he said.

Johnson said he wants to promote the firm’s international capabilities in corporate work and other practices. As a transactional lawyer, he’s particularly focused on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and finance and banking. He said the New York office also has strengths in intellectual property, labor and litigation, among others practices. “My job is to enhance deal flow and get it in front of clients and work with partners,” he said. “Across the board, we’re looking at opportunities and we’re very committed to growing the New York office.”