27 Sep 2019

Baker McKenzie in leadership changes

Firm elects Milton Cheng as next chair, while new Melbourne managing partner predicts success with Japanese and environmental opportunities driving growth.

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has announced that following a vote of its partnership, Milton Cheng has been elected as the next chair of the firm. He is the firm's first Asian Chair.

“Truly honoured”

Based in Hong Kong, Mr Cheng is the managing partner of the Hong Kong office and concurrently the chief executive overseeing Baker McKenzie’s offices and businesses across eight countries in the Asia Pacific region. Mr Milton has considerable experience in mergers and acquisitions, real estate investment trusts, financial services regulation, corporate finance and corporate restructurings. He regularly advises clients - including REIT and other asset managers, financial institutions, multinationals and Hong Kong-listed groups - on a wide range of acquisition, REIT, restructuring, regulatory and corporate finance matters. A graduate of King's College London, he became a partner of Baker McKenzie in 1999 and is admitted to practice in Hong Kong and in England & Wales. Mr Cheng, now chair-elect of Baker McKenzie said, “I am truly honored by the trust my fellow partners have placed in me. I look forward to working with all of them and my colleagues across the world to build on the great work of my predecessors to make Baker McKenzie the global law firm of choice.” He will serve in the role for four years, and takes up the position with effect from October 17, 2019 succeeding Jaime Trujillo, who has been acting global chair since October 2018, taking over from former chair Paul Rawlinson, who took leave for health reasons and died in April this year.

Growth opportunities

Recently appointed managing partner of the Melbourne office, Alex Wolff, anticipates sustained growth for the Melbourne office despite many challenges facing the legal industry and global economic and political uncertainty. Baker McKenzie national managing partner, Anthony Foley on announcing Alex's appointment commented, “Alex is a skilled lawyer and an experienced leader who takes up the role at an exciting time for our growing Melbourne office. He is someone who will always ensure we are aligned with what our clients need from us.” Mr Wolff, noting the firm was the first global law firm to have entered Australia, in 1964, said he is optimistic about growth opportunities for the Melbourne office, commenting “Victoria has long been attractive for Japanese trade and investment and our Australian offices foresee further activity by Japanese companies seeking Australian acquisition opportunities.” He also pointed out that “The Victorian Government has introduced a bill to Parliament which - if passed - will legally enshrine a new renewable energy target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 – the first State in Australia to do so. Renewables are now the cheapest form of new-build power generation in Australia and, as a result, we are seeing an increasing uptake of corporates entering into power purchase agreements with wind and solar projects.”