Photo, Rowan McKenzie

Rowan McKenzie

Partner
Baker & McKenzie

Biography

Rowan McKenzie is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Hong Kong office and the head of the Firm's Employment Practice Group in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. He has extensive experience in all aspects of employment law.

Rowan is regularly invited to chair and present at seminars and events and has authored numerous articles on Hong Kong employment law. He is an Editorial Board Member for LexisNexis Practical Guidance.

Practice Focus

He is consistently called upon to provide advice on the challenges of implementing HR strategy, anticipating problems and reducing legal risks in Hong Kong and across the region. His recent work includes advising on employment structures and mobility arrangements, remote working initiatives, and employment-related disputes involving discrimination and sexual harassment claims, enforcement of post-termination restrictions, and bonus and equity entitlements on termination.

Rowan also has considerable experience in issues arising from share sales and business transfers, and in the design, drafting and implementation of all aspects of bonus, retention and incentive arrangements including relevant labour law requirements.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Acted for a major global airline with respect to all labour and HR aspects of its base closure in Hong Kong, including formulating response during collective negotiations with the union representing flight attendants worldwide, application of foreign law to employment contracts, representing the airline in submissions to Mandatory Provident Fund Authority, and defending proceedings in the Labour Tribunal among others.
  • Acted for a major US entertainment conglomerate following its acquisition of another global entertainment company including with respect to restructuring in Hong Kong and the region.
  • Advised numerous clients on the implications arising from employees "stranded" in various parts of the world from multiple angles (employment, immigration and tax) during the pandemic.
  • Advised a multinational toys retailer on a disability discrimination complaint made to the Equal Opportunities Commission by a former employee.
  • Conducting international investigations for numerous clients on matters involving fraud, misconduct and discrimination/sexual harassment and advising on compliance and disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.
  • Acted for the new employer at all stages of the recruitment process in Cantor Fitzgerald v Boyer (2012).
  • Advised numerous corporates and financial institutions on mobility arrangements in the region.
  • Advised a global trading conglomerate on proceedings commenced by departing senior executives for entitlements under bonus and equity schemes.
  • Advised an energy corporation on the suspension, investigation and termination of the CEO for fraud and other serious breaches of policy.
  • Assisted a major accounting firm in the strategic and legal issues regarding headcount reduction initiatives as well as alternatives to redundancy (including leave without pay, partly paid sabbaticals and changing allowances and benefits) in multiple jurisdictions in Asia Pacific.
  • Advised numerous corporates and financial institutions on the recruitment of various teams bound by restrictive covenants and fixed term contracts with competitors.
  • Assisted a global technology company in the acquisition of another global technology company with respect to operations throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Professional Honors

  • Hall of Fame (Labour and Employment, Hong Kong) – Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2021)
  • Leading Individual (Labour and Employment, Hong Kong) – Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2014-2020)
  • Leading Lawyer (Employment: Hong Kong Law (International Firms): China/Hong Kong) – Chambers Asia Pacific (2014-2021)
  • Expert Lawyer (Labour, Employment & Benefits, Hong Kong) – Who's Who Legal (2016-2018)

Admissions

  • Hong Kong (2008)
  • New South Wales~Australia (1991)

Education

  • University of New South Wales (LL.B.) (1990)
  • Australian National University (Bachelor of Arts) (1988)

Languages

  • English