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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed a new global head of tax with German partner Stephan Eilers set to reclaim the leadership of the practice.

The Cologne-based partner will take over the role from London-based Murray Clayson as of next week (1 May), having previously co-led the practice with City partner Roger Berner from 2002 until Clayson took over in 2005.

The practice group leadership is on a four-year rota, with Clayson having been its sole leader during his term.

Eilers said: “I am very pleased about the appointment and to be again given the opportunity to lead this excellent and truly international tax team. It is an exiting perspective in these difficult times, and I hope that my experience will help to further develop our practice to the best of our clients.”

Eilers joined Freshfields in 1992 and became a partner two years later. He specialises in structuring and financing of national and international M&A transactions, on reorganisations, on leveraged buyouts and on private equity transactions. He also advises on national and international tax law relating to capital markets.

In addition to having a Germany-based senior partner in Konstantin Mettenheimer, Freshfields has several global practice group leaders based in the country. These are corporate head Andreas Fabritius, employment, pensions and benefits head Klaus-Stefan Hohenstatt, IP/IT head Klaus Beucher, as well as antitrust, competition and trade co-head Helmut Bergmann and finance co-head Dirk Schmalenbach.

The news comes as Freshfields prepares to move into new, more modern offices in Cologne on 1 May after 30 years in the same location.

The firm has moved into the newly-built 8,800 sq m Kranhaus in a new Cologne business area, gifting the fim an extra 1,000 sq m on its previous base. The firm said the move underlined its commitment to the city, which magic circle rival Linklaters abandoned at the end of 2007.

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