Linklaters appoints former China head as new Asia regional managing partner

Hong Kong-based William Liu set to replace Nathalie Hobbs in June after her four-year term ends

William Liu will become Linklaters' Asia regional head in June

Linklaters has named William Liu as its new regional managing partner in Asia, replacing Nathalie Hobbs who completes her four-year term at the end of May.

Liu has been a partner at the firm since 2008 having joined as a trainee a decade earlier, becoming Linklaters’ head of China in 2018, as well as head of capital markets for Asia. He has been responsible for overseeing the firm’s strategy and vision for China and sits on the Asia Executive Committee.

Hong Kong-based banking lawyer Hobbs has been at Linklaters since the early 90s, joining as a trainee solicitor in London before moving to Paris as an associate and becoming partner in 2001. She moved to Hong Kong in 2012.

Gideon Moor, Linklaters’ managing partner, said: “Nathalie has been an energetic and committed leader over the past four years. Her sound, commercial judgement and pragmatic approach has supported the region’s significant growth and we thank for her for her service. William has consistently delivered results in his previous roles as head of capital markets, Asia and head of China and I am excited to see where he takes the region next.”

As head of capital markets in Asia, Liu has worked on some of the region’s most high-profile deals of late, including China’s $6 billion sovereign bond deal in October, which attracted record investor demand of almost $30 billion, and Asia’s debut blue bonds from the Bank of China. Hobbs and Liu will work closely together during the handover period.

Liu said: “I am looking forward to building on Nathalie’s fantastic legacy and working with colleagues across the region to drive forward our focus on clients and culture.”

Earlier this month, Linklaters made a twin partner hire in Hong Kong with the arrival of M&A lawyer Xiaoxi Lin from Kirkland & Ellis and leveraged finance expert Alessandro Nolet from White & Case. Lin joined the firm’s corporate practice and Nolet joined the firm’s banking practice.

Also in March, Linklaters named Hong Kong-based partner Hwang Hwa Sim as its new global capital markets head, replacing Michael Voisin whose four-year term concludes at the end of next month.

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