Baker McKenzie has appointed Michael Wong to the role of Asia Pacific Chair, in addition to his continuing role as Global Executive Committee member, while Shih Yann Loo also joins the Firm's Global Executive Committee for the first time.
Michael and Shih Yann will serve as Asia Pacific representatives on the Executive Committee — the Firm's most senior leadership team of eight members — with responsibility for developing and implementing global business strategy and managing the Firm's day-to-day business across 77 offices in 46 countries. Both Michael and Shih Yann's new positions took effect during the Firm's Annual Meeting, which was held virtually on 14-28 October.
Michael is the first Taiwanese to be elected as chair of the Asia Pacific Regional Council, a governing body that is charged with setting regional strategy for the Firm's 17 offices in 12 jurisdictions in Asia Pacific. He is also the first Taiwanese to be elected to the Global Executive Committee, a role he took up in October 2018, and succeeds Ai Ai Wong who served on the Firm's Global Executive Committee from 2016 to 2020 and was the Asia Pacific chair from 2018 to 2020. Ai Ai will return to practice and be based in Singapore.
Michael joined the Taipei office as an Associate in September 1990. Over the years, he has served in several leadership positions in the Firm, including as Managing Partner as well as Practice Head of the M&A, Private Equity and Tax Practices for the Taipei office. He has represented many leading global and local companies in complex multijurisdictional cross-border M&A transactions and wealth management for high net worth individuals.
Shih Yann has a longstanding career with Baker McKenzie. He joined the Firm's Hong Kong office in 1993 and during his 27 years with the Firm, he has played a key role in implementing the Firm's China strategy, including as part of the management team that led the establishment of Baker McKenzie FenXun (FTZ) Joint Operation Office in 2015. Through the Joint Operation Office, the Firm has been able to assist clients with their legal needs across China, including in the Greater Bay Area.
Shih Yann has also served on the committee that oversees Baker McKenzie's offices and member firms in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam.
Moreover, Shih Yann has led the Firm's Intellectual Property group in cross-border litigation and enforcement in Hong Kong and Mainland China. He is consistently recognized as a leading lawyer in his field by legal directories and trade publications.
Commenting on these announcements, Baker McKenzie's Global Chair Milton Cheng said, "I am delighted to welcome Shih Yann to our Global Executive Committee and Michael to his new role as Asia Pacific regional chair. They are both outstanding lawyers, and I am confident that, working closely with our other Executive Committee members, they will continue to drive our success and global strategy moving forward."
"I would also like to thank Ai Ai Wong for her exceptional leadership and service as outgoing Asia Pacific regional chair, as well as all her contributions to our Executive Committee, supporting the needs of our clients and our people around the globe."
Commenting on his new role, Michael said: "It is a great privilege to take up the role of Asia Pacific Chair and continue to serve on our Global Executive Committee."
Michael continued: "2020 has been an eventful year. While no economy could escape the impact of COVID-19, Asia's relative success in containing the pandemic will see Asia more likely to rebound a lot quicker than the Western economies, further shifting the center of economic activities to this region."
"The dispute between US and China, however, is likely to continue for some time, which could have a damaging effect on both economic recovery and business activities. As businesses charter a course through this uncertain period and reorganize their supply chains and operations in light of disruption from the pandemic, rising nationalism and digitalization, we remain committed to standing by our clients and providing them with the services they need as they transform their business operations and get ready to rebound in the post-pandemic economy," Michael added.
Shih Yann commented: "I am honored to be elected to the Executive Committee. I look forward to working with Michael and the senior leadership to further advance our Firm's goals and be the counsel and employer of choice to our clients and our people."