17 May 2022

Germany's Hengeler Mueller names next co-managing partners

Real estate specialist Thomas Müller and M&A lawyer Bernd Wirbel set to take the reins in July

Bernd Wirbel and Thomas Müller

German firm Hengeler Mueller has elected Thomas Müller and Bernd Wirbel as co-managing partners, succeeding Georg Frowein and Rainer Krause in the top roles. 

The duo is set to take over from Frowein and Krause when their four-year term comes to an end as scheduled in July, the firm said. 

Müller, who is based in Frankfurt, has been a partner at the firm since 1996. He primarily advises large international private equity investors on German and European real estate transactions and has played a critical role in the expansion of Hengeler’s real estate practice the firm said.  

Some of his most high-profile work in the last ten years has included advising Goldman Sachs on the acquisition of Karstadt department stores and Morgan Stanley on the purchase and sale of the Sony Center in Berlin. 

Wirbel, meanwhile, has been a partner at Hengeler since 2004 and is based in Düsseldorf. An M&A specialist, he has particular experience handling public and private takeovers, private equity deals and general corporate matters. In the last 15 years, he has advised on more than 20 contested and uncontested public takeover transactions on behalf of both bidders and target companies. 

Wirbel was involved in manufacturing giant Melrose’s takeover of the Elster Group in 2014 and later advised Melrose’s sale of the Elster Group to Honeywell in 2016. 

The duo applauded Frowein and Krause’s time at the helm in a joint statement, saying the firm developed “remarkably well” during their term despite difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which they navigated with “great prudence”. 

“On behalf of all employees, we would like to thank our predecessors for their successful time as co-managing partners,” Wirbel and Müller said. “Our objective is to further develop Hengeler Mueller's leading market position using the talent, collegiality and commitment of our entire team.”

Hengeler has 320 lawyers, including 90 partners, across offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and London. Turnover hit $332m in 2020, which placed it in 149th place in Law.com’s 2021 Global 200 Ranking list. 

Last year the firm promoted six lawyers to partner in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Brussels, double the number it made up in 2020. 

In other German legal news, Noerr posted a strong set of financial results in April with firm-wide revenue for 2021 climbing by 9.3% to €297m, an increase on the previous year when revenue grew by 7.6%. 

And in March, leading German independent Hueking posted a 2.4% decline in revenue to €185.4m for 2021 as it adjusted to a profession-wide winding down in diesel emission collective claims in the country.

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