Slaughter and May’s long-serving corporate partner Benita Yu has been appointed as senior partner and head of the firm’s Hong Kong office. Yu succeeds Peter Brien, who will be retiring from the firm, where he has served for three decades.
Yu joined the firm in 1994. She advises on high-stakes securities, M&A and corporate finance and debt financing deals.
Just this year, Yu advised China Power International Develop Limited on the $1.1 billion acquisition of clean energy assets from China Power New Energy, as well as the $336 million acquisition of Shanghai Dongzheng Automotive Finance by SAIC Motors. Also this year, Yu acted for China International Capital Corporation on the $327 million proposed privatisation of China VAST Industrial Urban Development by China Jinmao, as well as the $288 million privatisation of Xiamen International Power.
Outside of Slaughter and May, Yu is the deputy chairman of the Takeovers and Mergers Panel and a member of the Takeovers Appeal Committee at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. She is also a member of the Listing Review Committee of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX).
In her new role, which will take effect on October 1, Yu will be leading the firm’s 55 lawyers, including 13 partners in Hong Kong. She is one of five female partners in the firm’s Hong Kong. The firm also has one partner and one associate in Beijing.
Slaughter and May is widely known as a conservative player in comparison to its U.K. competitors. The firm has only four offices globally including London and Brussels, and its lateral partner hires have also been few and far between. The firm instead prefers to promote its lawyers into its partnership from within. Earlier this year, the firm promoted two corporate lawyers, Vincent Chan and Justin Chan, into its Hong Kong partnership.
Its latest lateral partner hire in Asia was that of Jing Chen in 2019. He is the firm’s lone partner in Beijing, having joined from the Listing Division of the HKEX. Chen previously practiced at the Slaughters as an associate. Before Chen, Slaughters hired investigations and litigation partner, Wynne Mok, also for its Hong Kong office in 2018. Mok was Slaughters’ second Hong Kong lateral partner hire ever, following former Morrison & Foerster U.S.-qualified corporate lawyer John Moore‘s joining four years prior.
Earlier this year, Slaughter and May lost corporate partner Charlton Tse, who was made partner in 2014 but left to go in-house at Tencent in January.
Last year, Slaughter and May elected litigation partner Deborah Finkler to be the firm’s first ever managing partner.