Weil, Gotshal & Manges Asia managing partner Akiko Mikumo will step down from her post at the end of the year, making Weil the latest global firm to undergo a major management transition in Asia this year.
Mikumo, who has been Weil’s Asia managing partner since 2007, will retire from the firm’s partnership by the end of the year and become a fellow at Harvard University’s prestigious Advanced Leadership Initiative program, focusing on issues with social impact.
Following Mikumo’s retirement, Hong Kong partner Tim Gardner and Shanghai partner Charles Ching, who have been transitioning into leadership roles, will manage Weil’s Asia operations, according to a statement.
Several global firms have gone through or announced leadership changes in Asia in 2017, as younger generation partners began to take the helm.
In May, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer named litigation partner Georgia Dawson as its new managing partner for the Asia Pacific, as Robert Ashworth stepped down after a six-year term. Around the same time, Linklaters appointed Hong Kong-based finance partner Nathalie Hobbs as Asia managing partner, succeeding Marc Harvey, who returned to London after a four-year term.
At Norton Rose Fulbright, former head of North Asia Phillip John and former head of Southeast Asia Jeff Smith both retired, and Asia leadership was passed on to regional office heads Psyche Tai in Hong Kong, Yu-En Ong in Singapore, and Asia business strategy head Nick Merritt.
Meanwhile, Hogan Lovells has announced that Patrick Sherrington, who has been Asia and Middle East managing partner since 2013, will retire in 2018. Miami partner Miguel Zaldivar is slated to relocate to Hong Kong to succeed Sherrington.
Mikumo, who is a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, has been with Weil for 35 years. She moved to Hong Kong from New York in 2007 to launch the firm’s second Asian office after Shanghai. Before that, she played a key role in launching the firm’s London office and led the U.S. practice there between 1998 and 2002.
Weil has three Asian offices—in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. In 2015, Shanghai office founder and longtime former China practice head Steve Xiang left Weil to be the chief executive of Hong Kong-listed film production company Huanxi Media Group Ltd.
New York-based Weil will have six partners across Asia following Mikumo’s retirement.