Baker McKenzie names London corporate partner as next global M&A chair

Jannan Crozier replaces Chicago-based Michael DeFranco after six years in the role

Baker McKenzie has named London corporate partner Jannan Crozier as the next chair of its global M&A practice group, replacing Chicago-based Michael DeFranco who has held the position since 2015.

Crozier brings a wealth of cross-border M&A experience to the role, advising the likes of Hitachi on its $11bn acquisition of ABB’s global power grids business – the largest ever M&A deal by a Japanese industrial company. She has also advised private equity firms such as KKR on its $4.3bn acquisition of beauty and hair retail business Wella from Coty – a complex carve out involving more than 70 countries.

Milton Cheng, Baker McKenzie’s global chair, said: “[Crozier] is able to connect with clients to understand not just what they need now but strategically what we should be doing to help them identify challenges and opportunities in three to five years' time. This is vital to the success of our practice and our clients who continue to navigate an increasingly complex and quickly evolving transactional landscape.”

Crozier has been with the firm since 2003 when she joined in London as a trainee solicitor. Since then she has also worked in the firm’s Moscow and Sydney offices.

Crozier said: “As a global M&A team we make complex cross-border M&A simple by bringing together corporate, finance and other specialists, who understand sector drivers.”

She added: “Our goal is to continue to grow ambitiously and to engage a whole new generation of M&A lawyers to create dynamic and diverse teams for our clients.”

Baker McKenzie has more than 2,500 deal lawyers spread across just under 50 jurisdictions around the world.

Global M&A activity started the year at the fastest pace on record as deal-making continues to rebound following a near-freeze in activity in the first half of last year amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The value of all global deals hit $1.3tr in the opening three months of the year – the most in any first quarter since records began in 1980, according to Refinitiv. 

Baker McKenzie was ranked 13th in Refinitiv’s global M&A legal advisor league table by deal volume at the end of the first quarter, working on 65 transactions worth $25bn. According to Mergermarket's regional data, the firm got off to a strong start in Europe, jumping from 7th to 5th when ranked by volume against the same period in 2020, advising on 46 deals valued at $16bn.

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