Baker McKenzie has announced a raft of leadership changes across its Asia Pacific practice and industry groups.
Seven out of 19 regional posts are changing hands — and four of the newcomers are women, although men have been appointed to be regional heads of the key M&A, banking and finance, and dispute resolution teams.
Baker McKenzie’s Asia Pacific chair, Ai Ai Wong, said: "What is particularly exciting is that among the seven new Asia Pacific leaders, four are women. As a firm that values diversity in the workplace, these appointments mark a step forward towards achieving our firm's global aspirational targets of having 40% women at the partnership and leadership level."
The women practice group appointees are Hong Kong’s Isabella Liu, who replaces Bangkok-based Say Sujintaya as chair of the IP and technology; and Sydney’s Anne Petterd, who replaces Kana Itabashi in Tokyo as chair of international commercial and trade.
The quartet is completed by Elisabeth White, also based in Sydney, who takes over from Liu as healthcare and life science industry chair; and Cherrie Shi, of Bakers’ Shanghai ally FenXun Partners, who will co-chair the industrials, manufacturing and transportation industry group with Yaeko Hodaka in Tokyo.
All four women appointees are long-serving and largely homegrown Bakers lawyers.
Petterd joined the firm from the Australian Government Legal Service in 2001, White has been with Bakers since 2004 and Liu joined the firm’s Hong Kong office from Dorsey & Whitney in 2007. Shi became a partner in 2015.
Meanwhile, Singapore-based Emmanuel Hadjidakis replaces Tokyo-based Gavin Raftery as Asia Pacific chair of banking and finance while Kuala Lumpur-based Brian Chia becomes M&A chair in place of Tokyo’s Hideo Norikoshi.
Singapore-based Nandakumar Ponniya becomes chair of dispute resolution with Tokyo’s Yoshiaki Muto standing down.
The appointments come into effect on 1 July and follow a shake-up of the global practice and industry leadership team that was announced last month.
The changes follow the election of Milton Cheng as global chair last autumn, the first Asia-based partner to head the firm.