Global legal giant King & Wood Mallesons has announced that M&A partner Wang Rongkang will become its first Europe and Middle East managing partner since the collapse earlier this year of its legacy SJ Berwin arm.
In January, King & Wood Mallesons officially re-launched its regional presence in the U.K., Europe and the Middle East. As part of the leadership change, Rongkang will relocate to the firm’s London office from Shenzhen, a financial services hub in southern China bordering Hong Kong.
Wang, who joined legacy Chinese firm King & Wood in 1998, has been in charge of the firm’s regional offices in southern China, where he helped connect its outposts in Guangzhou and Shenzhen with a branch office in Hong Kong.
Zhang Yi, a newly appointed China chair at King & Wood Mallesons, said in a statement that members of the firm’s China management committee and partners in Europe and the Middle East believed that Wang was the ideal choice to become regional managing partner.
“The appointment of this important position will not only strengthen the management coordination and connection with China, but also will further enhance China’s business support for the Europe and the Middle East region,” Zhang said.
In January, in a move dubbed Europe 2.0, King & Wood Mallesons’ China arm said that it would pivot to a new strategy for the U.K., Europe and the Middle East, one in which the firm’s China partnership would maintain an active presence in managing regional operations. The new, unified management structure followed the dissolution of London-based legacy firm SJ Berwin as a result of a failed recapitalization plan and crushing debt load.
In addition to the appointments of Wang and Zhang, in May, King & Wood Mallesons tapped Sydney-based partner Sue Kench to serve as its new global managing partner. She succeeded Stuart Fuller, who stepped down late last year after serving as the firm’s first global managing partner following the historic tie-up in 2012 between China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques. (The combined King & Wood Mallesons absorbed SJ Berwin a year later.)
Fuller has since returned to practicing banking and finance law in King & Wood Mallesons’ Sydney office, as has former Europe and Middle East managing partner Tim Bednall.
King & Wood Mallesons also announced last week its hire of two partners in Frankfurt—corporate expert Hui Zhao and restructuring pro Daniel Ehret—from Germany’s Noerr and Latham & Watkins, respectively. Both lawyers will officially join King & Wood Mallesons in October.