Greg Terry joins Lovells

Diplomat, lawyer, politician, banker, businessman and investorĂ after a peripatetic career spanning four continents, five decades and six different professions, Greg Terry returns to his legal roots.

Greg Terry has announced that he is to join international law firm Lovells. He will be a partner in the firm's Hong Kong office and will run the Asian corporate practice, which covers six Asian offices.

The move is the latest turn in a career that has seen more highlights than Britney Spears' hair. Most recently, Terry was running his own investment firm in Seattle called Eastsound Square.

Before that, from 2000 to 2002, Terry was CEO of BIL International in Singapore, what was formerly called Brierley Investments Limited.

He was appointed to this role by the Hong Leong Group, which was a major shareholder in BIL. The firm was in financial difficulties due to the collapse of Air New Zealand and Terry was charged with stabilizing the company and returning it to profitability, a feat he achieved in little over two years.

Prior to joining BIL, Terry was with CSFB in Melbourne, where he was an MD, Vice Chairman of the Pacific region and country head of Credit Suisse. While at CSFB from 1997-2000, he undertook deals such as the privatization of Telstra, the demutualization of NRMA and the listing of AMP Society.

He joined CSFB from Jardine Matheson where he had worked for ten years from 1987 to 1997 in the position of director and group legal counsel. He was one of the top three Jardine Johnnies during his time there, being on the boards of Jardine Matheson, Dairy Farm, Mandarin Oriental and Jardine Fleming.

He was also the point man in dealing with government officials in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bermuda, a thankless task if ever there was one. Terry joined Jardines after working for a series of law firms in Hong Kong, Australia and the US during the 1970s and 1980s.

For a time in the 1970s, he also was chief of staff in the office of Gough Whitlam, one time prime minister of Australia. But amazingly enough, law and business were not his first career. He started off his professional life as a diplomat in the Australian diplomatic service, where for seven years from 1966-1973 he enjoyed postings in Laos, the US, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"The corporate and banking world has many attractions, but my professional and business grounding was in the law and it is high time I returned to my intellectual home," says Terry explaining his return to the legal fold with Lovells. "Lovells has huge further potential, particularly in Asia". I have done my own due diligence on the firm's corporate client base, its work and its people - and the complementary practices in finance, IP, IT, litigation and construction - and I am convinced that together we have what it takes to move into the lead."

One look at Terry's CV and you can see that he has been in the right place at the right time. The last three years in Asia have been a restructuring story and Terry was at the heart of this trend with BIL.

Banking was the place to be in the late 1990s and again Terry was in the thick of it with CSFB. And Terry was with Jardines during the 1980s and 1990s, which was the time of the Asian tiger economies when it made sense to be in the corporate world.

So is his present move an indication that law firms are about to make out like bandits (as if they don't already)? Time will presumably tell. But for Lovells this appointment must be seen as a coup and should prove to be a huge fillip to the firm's vaunted ambitions in the region.

"Greg has a unique blend of talents and experience, and just the qualities we need to give strategic leadership to our corporate practice in Asia," says Hugh Nineham, who heads Lovell's corporate international practice from London. Indeed, Nineham positively enthuses about his new partner describing him variously as "an outstanding lawyer", "highly respected by the business community in Asia", "having a mixture of professional gravitas and entrepreneurial charisma".

"He is also remarkable for his leadership and team building skills and for an infectious energy and enthusiasm," Nineham concludes.

It is understood that Ranjan Marwah, Hong Kong headhunter extraordinaire, orchestrated Terry's move to Lovells.