The Lawyer Reports…Baker & McKenzie names new head of Asian offices

Here’s the report…

Baker & McKenzie has named Hong Kong-based Milton Cheng as managing partner of its Hong Kong, China, Korea and Vietnam offices.

Cheng, who has until now been head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific M&A group, co-head of its corporate group in China and Hong Kong and leader of its Hong Kong REITs practice, has replaced Paul Tan in the role.

Having trained with Bakers in London, Cheng has been based in Hong Kong since 1993, becoming an equity partner in 2004.

Lawrence Lee, chairman of the firm’s Hong Kong, China, Korea and Vietnam offices, said: “Given Milton’s extensive experience of management and leadership roles within the firm, we’re confident that he’ll further expand and build on the fantastic platform that we have in the region, and continue to grow our strategic offerings to meet the changing business and legal needs of our clients.”

Meanwhile, in Singapore Bakers member firm Baker & McKenzie Wong & Leow has bolstered its disputes practice with the addition of White & Case arbitration partner Nandakumar Ponniya as a partner.

Ponniya’s practice focuses on the oil and gas, infrastructure and construction sectors and he has advised in a number of jurisdictions including Singapore, Indonesia, India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Chan Leng Sun, head of the firm’s dispute resolution practice in Singapore and Asia Pacific, said the firm was “very excited” by Ponniya’s hire, adding: “With the emergence of Singapore as a leading arbitration hub, we’re seeing a steady rise in the number and complexity of international disputes.

“The arrival of Kumar with his excellent track record in both Singapore litigation and international arbitration bolsters our offering to clients who are looking for seamless, commercial advice on cross-border disputes.”