HSF hires Willkie project finance partner in Paris

Michaël Armandou joins the City firm after 11 years with US-based Willkie to focus on energy sector matters
iew of Dome des Invalides, burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte, Paris, France, on winter morning

Paris Boris Stroujko; Shutterstock

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has strengthened its project finance team in Paris with the addition of partner Michaël Armandou from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. 

Armandou joins the UK top 50 firm’s Paris bench after just more than 11 years at Willkie, according to his Linkedin profile. In his new role at HSF, Armandou will work closely with the finance, projects and corporate teams to assist in building out the firm’s work on the development of greenfield projects and the acquisition of assets in the infrastructure and energy sectors. 

The firm said Armandou is set to collaborate closely with partner Christophe Lefort, who has led HSF’s Paris-based energy and infrastructure team since 2011. 

Armandou brings with him experience advising sponsors, lenders, investors, governments and multilateral institutions on the structuring, development and financing on complex projects both in France and abroad, particularly across Europe, Africa and Latin America. Throughout his career, Armandou has advised on a number of significant transactions in the in port, road, rail, telecommunications and energy sectors. 

HSF boasts 31 Paris-based partners following Armandou’s hire among a wider team of 120 professionals currently working out of the firm’s office in the French capital. 

Eric Fiszelson, HSF’s regional head of finance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “We are delighted to welcome Michaël Armandou to the finance team. The notable expertise he brings will enable us to further build out our infrastructure and energy offering to further support clients in Paris and across the wider network.”

Fiszelson went on to say that Armandou’s hire, coupled with the firm’s other recent hire of project finance partner Sarosh Mewawalla in Dubai, reflects the importance of its project finance business to its roster of instracturure and energy sector clients. 

“Michaël Armandou's recruitment is part of the firm's strategy of growth,” added Frédéric Bouvet, managing partner of HSF’s Paris office. “We are very pleased to count him among the partners of Herbert Smith Freehills.”

Armandou’s appointment comes a month after HSF made another significant addition to its network in continental Europe when it nabbed a four-strong corporate insurance team from DLA Piper in Düsseldorf, including partner Jan Eltzschig and counsel Heike Schmitz, 

Willkie, meanwhile, recently boosted its Paris asset management team when it hired Tiana Rambatomanga as a partner from Stephenson Harwood in September. 

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) also announced a significant Paris move today, nabbing a litigation and investigations quartet from White & Case. The group, set to join BCLP in early November, includes White & Case’s commercial and civil litigation Paris practice head Philippe Métais and partner Elodia Valette, as well as associates Laura Cann and Jules Grasso. 


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