King & Spalding hires Ashurst’s ex-Middle East head of corporate

Simon Fraser will be based in Abu Dhabi; senior associate also moves across, as a partner

King & Spalding has secured Ashurst’s former Middle East head of corporate, Simon Fraser, capping off an active year of Middle East lateral hiring for the top 20 US firm. 

Fraser is taking up residence in K&S’s Abu Dhabi office alongside Ashurst senior associate Matt Hartsuyker, who is also joining as a partner.

The arrival of the energy sector-focused duo further boosts the Atlanta-based firm’s corporate, finance and investments (CFI) practice group in the Middle East following the hires at the start of the year of projects partners Dan Feldman and Brendan Hundt from Shearman & Sterling.

Fraser is departing Ashurst after 20 years at the Anglo-Australian firm, 16 as a partner. In March he led the Ashurst team which advised Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on the IPO of its newly created gas arm ADNOC Gas on Abu Dhabi’s stock exchange, raising $2.5bn.

Hartsuyker, who was on the team advising ADNOC, joined Ashurst in Melbourne as a graduate in 2012 and relocated to Dubai in 2018.

Todd Holleman, CFI practice group head, said: “In Simon and Matt, we are adding two partners who have extensive experience navigating and closing the kinds of complex, high-value transactions that advance our clients’ business strategies.

The hire of Fraser and Hartsuyker follows the arrival of real estate partner Malek Al Rifai, who joined the firm’s Dubai arm from leading regional firm Al Tamimi & Company.

In September, meanwhile, the firm secured a foreign law licence from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice under new rules that allow international firms to operate in the kingdom in their own right as opposed to via an alliance with a local firm.

Its former ally, the Law Offices of Mohammed AlAmmar, is continuing to operate as a separate firm, while corporate M&A partner Martin Hunt has relocated to Riyadh from London to bolster the K&S team.

With offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, King & Spalding is rated across a range of practice areas by the legal directories, including corporate, projects, real estate and arbitration.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]