Law Firm Baker McKenzie Appoints New Johannesburg Managing Partner

Baker McKenzie has overhauled its Johannesburg management structure, including installing a new managing partner.

Partner and head of competition and antitrust, Lerisha Naidu, steps up to the role as part of a local management committee shake-up, the firm has announced.

In addition, a Johannesburg management committee of three will include Naidu, Johan Botes, partner and head of the employment and compensation practice, and Marc Yudaken, partner in the corporate/M&A practice.

According to a spokesperson at the firm, the management committee replaces the transitional team, which was set up following the departure of the firm’s previous Johannesburg senior partner Morne van der Merwe who left under a cloud following a bullying scandal.

Since his departure during 2021, followed by a number of key exits, the Johannesburg office has continued to be run by the transitional team, without a senior partner or managing partner, until now, the spokesperson confirmed.

The previous transitional team included Naidu, Johannesburg based partners Janet MacKenzie, and Virusha Subban and Amsterdam-based partners Erik Scheer and Mirjam de Blécourt.

According to the firm’s spokesperson, the Johannesburg management committee will have a three-year tenure, effective from July 1, 2022.

The committee will continue to be supported by Amsterdam-based partners Erik Scheer and Mirjam de Blécourt for the next 12 months, according to the firm’s announcement.

Alex Chadwick, EMEA managing partner, said the election of Naidu is excellent news for Baker McKenzie Johannesburg.

“The Johannesburg office, launched ten years ago in 2012, plays an important role in our ambitious growth plans for the Africa operations of our firm,” he added.

In November, Baker McKenzie appointed a New Africa Head Michael Foundethakis, partner and head of Baker McKenzie’s banking and finance practice in Paris, who has been tasked with shaping and implementing the firm’s global Africa strategy.