09 Mar 2022

Taylor Wessing adds tech specialist from Al Tamimi as head of corporate for MENA

Abdullah Mutawi joins in Dubai to build regional M&A, private equity and venture capital offering

Dubai cityscape on a sunny day

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UK law firm Taylor Wessing has landed the head of corporate commercial at leading Middle East firm Al Tamimi & Company as its head of corporate for MENA.

Abdullah Mutawi brings more than 25 years’ experience practising corporate law in London and the Middle East to his new firm and specialises in M&A, corporate finance, venture capital and special situations in the TMT sector. He will join Taylor Wessing in Dubai this summer after three years at Al Tamimi, where he also led the M&A practice and built and led the venture capital and emerging companies practices.

Ronald Graham, managing partner of Taylor Wessing’s Dubai office, said the firm had been looking to find a senior corporate tech lawyer in the region to work alongside its international team and build on its offering in Europe in high-profile M&A, private equity and venture capital work in the tech sector.

“Abdullah is a leading lawyer in this space with experience in substantial tech transactions throughout the world and I am delighted that he has decided to join us,” he added.

Before joining Al Tamimi in 2019 Mutawi spent five years as a corporate finance partner in the Dubai office of US firm Baker Botts, prior to which he spent more than a decade at London-based firm Trowers & Hamlins, initially in Bahrain as head of TMT and later in Dubai as head of UAE. He began his career in London with stints at Hill Dickinson and Norton Rose Fulbright.

In 2016 he also co-founded Dubai Angel Investors, a seed and Series A micro-VC angel-backed fund, and currently serves as its chairman.

Mutawi commented: “As the regional venture capital and emerging companies ecosystem has ballooned in recent years, clients increasingly need global capability which I will be able to deliver in this Band 1 ranked platform. The regional volume of growth capital, M&A and IPO/de-SPAC exits is also growing and the ability to provide top quality M&A support and seamless coverage through the whole of the UK, Europe and US is going to be critical to clients’ maturing portfolios and legal needs.”

Taylor Wessing’s UK managing partner, Shane Gleghorn, noted that Mutawi’s hire expertise “aligns with key areas of growth internationally, and with his reputation he will help us to drive new opportunities throughout the Middle East, Europe and the US".

Mutawi’s hire follows Taylor Wessing, which last July reported revenue for its UK business had jumped 12% to £175.5m, adding six new partners to its corporate group in the UK and Ireland over the past year. Among the new arrivals were Adam Griffiths and Deidre MacCarthy, who the firm hired last July to spearhead its new base in Dublin. Griffiths joined from regional law firm ReganWall, while MacCarthy came aboard from offshore outfit Maples Group.

Other prominent UK firms to expand their corporate offering in the Middle East recently include Clyde & Co, which last December added Morgan Lewis & Brockius corporate and energy partner Chadi Salloum in Dubai shortly after it promoted corporate lawyer Rizwan Riyadh to partner in Riyadh.

And in October, HFW hired finance expert Euan Pinkerton from Baker Botts to launch an on-the-ground transactional offering in Riyadh, with Pinkerton becoming the firm’s third full-time partner to be based in Riyadh since it entered the city through an association with local firm Mohammed Al Khiliwi in 2019.

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