CMS appoints new managing partner for Kyiv office

Energy specialist takes helm as Ukrainian team looks to future and rebuilding phase
Headshot of Vitaliy Radchenko

Vitaliy Radchenko Image courtesy of CMS

CMS has appointed a new managing partner for its Kyiv office as the Ukrainian team continues to operate remotely in response to the Russian invasion.

Energy specialist Vitaliy Radchenko has taken over from Graham Conlon as head of the office, which was shuttered on the day of the invasion.

“I look forward to leading the talented Kyiv team, who over the last months in particular have shown incredible resilience, strength and commitment to the firm and our clients during what are extremely challenging and unprecedented times," he said.

"We have every confidence that we can and will play an important role in supporting our clients as we look to the future and begin the rebuilding phase.”

CMS said the office’s 41-strong team of lawyers remains fully operational, with its members working remotely from across Ukraine, the firm’s Budapest base and other offices across its international network, though a handful remain in Kyiv. 

Radchenko joined CMS in 2007 for the firm's launch in Kyiv from the local shop of leading French firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, prior to which he was an associate at Baker McKenzie. 

He focuses his practice on M&A, financing, commercial law and regulatory advice across oil and gas, mineral resources, conventional and renewable power generation and carbon emissions reduction projects. 

Ranked Band 1 for energy and natural resources in Ukraine by legal rankings guide Chambers & Partners, he has led CMS’s energy and projects practice in Kyiv since 2013 and has also served as co-chairman of the energy committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine for the past eight years. 

Dóra Petrányi, CEE managing director for CMS, described Radchenko as a proven leader with a strong track record across the region. 

He added: “We have no doubt that Vitaliy will do a standout job leading our superb Kyiv team, increasing our standing on the market and capitalising further on the future growth opportunities that we expect to come in Ukraine as soon as the current hostilities have come to an end.

“I’d also like to thank Graham for his leadership of the Kyiv office over the past five years, during which period the office has grown significantly, and is now one of the leading law firms in the market,” she added. 

Conlon spent five years as managing partner of the Kyiv office and remains head of international private equity for CEE/CIS at the firm. He has a multijurisdictional M&A practice and will continue to advise CMS’ clients in relation to big-ticket transactions with a particular focus on the Middle East region, which the firm said continues to offer significant opportunities for M&A and inbound investment into CEE.

During his tenure as managing partner, Conlon was based in Kyiv initially and then split his time between Kyiv and Warsaw focusing on cross-border deals in the CEE as a whole. Moving forward, he will add Dubai to his list of office locations.

Conlon’s time at the helm saw the Kyiv office add veteran Baker McKenzie partner Ihor Olekhov in 2019, with Olekhov currently serving as head of the office’s banking and finance team.

The office also added a life sciences practice to the mix in late 2020 when it absorbed local boutique Danevych.Law, in the process hiring the firm’s founder Borys Danevych as a partner and head of life sciences along with three associates. 

As well as corporate/M&A, banking and finance and life sciences, the Kyiv office covers a range of practice areas including energy and projects, infrastructure, commercial and regulatory, disputes and compliance, agriculture, TMT, employment and real estate.

Stephen Millar, managing partner of CMS for the UK, CEE, Middle East and Asia, said the firm was committed to its Ukraine business and had confidence in its future success. 

“Our people remain our utmost priority and we continue to invest in our offering and talent,” he said, pointing to the promotion of Kyiv-based lawyer Olga Shenk to partner in the firm’s latest promotions round

“I look forward to working alongside Vitaliy who will be instrumental in building on the strengths of our Ukraine offering and supporting colleagues and clients through this difficult period and thereafter,” he added.  

CMS said it had created the hub in Budapest for its Kyiv team members to remain in the region close to family, friends and each other, as well to enable the firm to maximise the support it can offer. The firm has also set up a small hub in Western Ukraine, where Radchenko is currently based.   

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