Chiann Bao.


The former secretary general of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Chiann Bao, is leaving Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom after just two years as regional counsel at the U.S. firm.

Bao will join Hong Kong-based Arbitration Chambers as an arbitrator. She started at Skadden in September 2016 as Asia-Pacific counsel after spending six years overseeing the operation and administration of the HKIAC. During her tenure, the HKIAC gained popularity and stature as an international arbitral institution; she also helped revise the arbitration rules administrated by the HKIAC, launch a tribunal secretaries training program and open Seoul and Shanghai offices for the institution.

Before taking on the role as secretary general in 2010, Bao was an international arbitration associate with DLA Piper in New York.

Arbitration Chambers was launched in Hong Kong in 2012 by former MinterEllison lawyer Gavin Denton. It now has 14 full-time arbitrators in offices from Hong Kong to London. The London office opened in 2017.

Bao’s departure from Skadden follows that of former litigation counsel Liu Xiao in Beijing. Liu joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s Shanghai office as a partner earlier this week.

Skadden’s China disputes practice has three partners: U.S. litigation and white-collar partners Bradley Klein and Steve Kwok, and international arbitration partner Rory McAlpine, all based in Hong Kong. The firm has 12 lawyers in its China disputes group with two more starting in September.

Skadden and Arbitration Chambers declined to comment.