Allen & Overy has hired Shearman & Sterling's most prominent German capital markets partner in Frankfurt.
Marc Plepelits, a US qualified partner, has established an excellent reputation since joining Shearman’s Frankfurt office in 2000. He focusses on US capital markets issues – both equity and debt, including high-yield – for clients with interests in German-speaking Western Europe.
Explaining his decision to switch to the magic circle outfit, Plepelits, who officially starts on January 1 2015, said: “I was particularly drawn by A&O’s footprint in Germany, with its very strong corporate client base and its first-rate global finance and corporate practices, which I hope will provide significant cross-selling opportunities.” He added, a further attraction was that the firm seems to share a similar ethos to Shearman, with an emphasis on team work.
Allen & Overy has been looking for a new US capital markets specialist since its former Frankfurt partner and head of US issues, Gernot Wagner, joined White & Case’s German offering in September. Wagner, who also focussed on equity, debt and high-yield, was the second capital markets partner to leave the UK firm's Frankfurt team in the past 18 months, following Okko Behrends' switch to Latham & Watkins in 2013. Behrends is a debt, structured product and derivatives specialist.
Plepelits leaves Shearman after a somewhat tumultuous period for the firm in Germany. Last year, it restructured its business in the country, closing offices in Düsseldorf and Munich and concentrating its practices in Frankfurt, its last remaining German outpost. Several partners left following this decision, including corporate specialist Hans Diekmann, who also moved to Allen & Overy.
A number of international firms have taken similar steps to Shearman, or are considering doing so, in Germany. Earlier this year, King & Wood Mallesons, formerly SJ Berwin, opted to exit Berlin and, only this week, Clifford Chance announced it would be scrutinising its German operation, with nine partners reputedly in discussions about their future with the firm.