Freshfields Singapore chief leaves to take new role as CEO of top Australian firm

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Singapore managing partner Gavin MacLaren will leave the firm next year to join Australia’s Corrs Chambers Westgarth as CEO.

MacLaren will succeed John Denton, who has led Corrs for 17 years, in July 2018. He will be based in Melbourne.

Denton, who has been a partner since 1996, will retire from the Australian firm and pursue a new career, according to a statement from the firm.

MacLaren, a transactions lawyer specialising in the energy sector, advises on deals and projects across Asia, Australia and the Middle East, and last year led a Freshfields team advising the Qatar Investment Authority as part of an investor consortium on a $6.7bn acquisition of Australian freight logistics company Asciano.

He joined Freshfields in 2012, as the magic circle firm planned to relaunch its Singapore office. Before that, he had been a Melbourne-based partner with Australian firm Allens for a decade, during which time he led the firm’s Asia practice and headed its Singapore office between 2003 and 2009.

In a statement, Freshfields said: “Gavin joined the partnership in 2012 and has advised on highly notable M&A, joint ventures and project developments, public international law issues and various disputes. We thank him for his contributions to the firm and wish him the best for the next chapter of his career.

“Corrs Chambers Westgarth is a member of the firm’s network of StrongerTogether law firms, so we expect that we will have the opportunity to work with Gavin again in the future.”

It is not yet clear who will take over as Freshfields’ Singapore managing partner. Freshfields Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson and Asia head of corporate Stephen Revell both currently divide their time between Singapore and Hong Kong.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has 650 lawyers, including 120 partners, across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby.