Baker McKenzie has appointed Michael Foundethakis as its new Global Head of Banking & Finance, effective 1 July 2017.

Baker McKenzie's Banking & Finance practice has more than 900 finance lawyers around the world, including 300 partners. Based in the world's major financial centres and key emerging markets including Africa, Latin America, Russia & the CIS and the Middle East, the practice is noted for its expertise in Project Finance, Acquisition Finance, Trade & Export Finance, Real Estate Finance, Restructuring & Insolvency, Financial Services and Regulatory, Derivatives and Securitisation.

Michael joined the Firm in 1999 and became a partner in 2003. An English-qualified lawyer based in Paris, he has also spent worked in Baker McKenzie's London and German offices.

He will remain the Firm's Global Head of Trade & Export Finance and has a broad spread of experience across trade, project and acquisition finance, acting for both lenders and borrowers. Michael takes over the role from Bernard Sharp, who steps down after serving two terms.

Michael said,

It's a great honour to lead the practice and a really fascinating time for the industry

Blockchain and other technology-driven innovations are rapidly changing banking business models, as well as the way by which borrowers interact with lenders. Innovation is no longer a pejorative term in the industry.  Effectively navigating between continued use of well-established methods of transacting business and the adoption of new technologies will be the key factor to success for us all in the coming years."

Ai Ai Wong, Executive Committee Member responsible for Baker McKenzie's transactional practices, said, "We thank Bernard for his time as practice leader and welcome Michael at an exciting period for our Banking & Finance practice as we continue to grow in the world's key financial centres."

Michael's recent deals include:

  • Acting for the the Mandated Lead Arrangers (Arab Banking Corporation, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, MUFG, Barclays Bank, Commerzbank, EMCAP, HSBC, ICBC London, Mizuho Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Rand Merchant Bank, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) on a US$1.16 billion equivalent Dual Tenor Dual Currency Syndicated Term Loan Facility to African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), which closed on 2 June 2017. This is Afrexim’s largest ever syndicated term loan facility; and
  • Acting for BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Industriel et Commercial and ING in
    relation to a circa. $470 million SACE-covered loan facility agreement to the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to support the import of equipment from General Electric and Orascom to complete the conversion two power stations (Assuit and West Damietta) (awarded "Deal of the Year – EMEA Export Finance: Power” in Euromoney`s Trade Finance Awards 2017).


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