Gavin MacLaren.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Singapore managing partner Gavin MacLaren will leave the firm next year to join Australia’s Corrs Chambers Westgarth as CEO.

MacLaren will succeed John Denton, Corrs’ chief executive of 17 years, in July 2018. He will be based in Melbourne.

Denton, who has been a partner since 1996, will retire from the Australian firm and pursue a new career, according to a statement from the firm.

MacLaren, a transactions lawyer specializing in the energy sector, has advised on deals and projects across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. In 2016, he led a Freshfields team advising the Qatar Investment Authority as part of an investor consortium on a $6.7 billion acquisition of Australian freight logistics company Asciano Ltd.

MacLaren joined Freshfields in 2012 as the Magic Circle firm planned to relaunch its Singapore office. Before that, he had been a Melbourne-based partner with Australian firm Allens for a decade, during which time he led the firm’s Asia practice and headed its Singapore office between 2003 and 2009.

In a statement, Freshfields wished MacLaren well, saying the firm may have the opportunity to work with him in the future.

“We … wish him the best for the next chapter of his career,” the firm said in a statement. “Corrs Chambers Westgarth is a member of the firm’s network of StrongerTogether law firms, so we expect that we will have the opportunity to work with Gavin again in the future.”

It was not clear at press time who will take over as Freshfields’ Singapore managing partner. Freshfields Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson and Asia head of corporate Stephen Revell both currently divide their time between Singapore and Hong Kong.

Corrs has 650 lawyers, including 120 partners, across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby.