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Walied Soliman, right, is pictured in this April 29, 2008 photo.

Janice Pinto/The Globe and Mail

Walied Soliman, a Toronto-based lawyer who specializes in advising companies on hostile takeovers, proxy battles and complex restructuring plans, has been appointed the global chair of Norton Rose Fulbright.

Mr. Soliman, who is already the law firm’s Canadian chair, will now also be responsible for chairing its global supervisory board.

His priorities will include engaging with clients and overseeing changes to the firm’s global governance model, Mr. Soliman said in an interview Tuesday. He will also aim to increase the firm’s focus on diversity, inclusion and mental-health issues.

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“We have 4,000 lawyers around the world and both our partners, our staff, our associates and our clients are demanding that we present both a diverse and inclusive business framework and partnership to the market,” Mr. Soliman said.

“Mental health is also becoming an increasingly understood phenomenon in workplaces around the world," he added. "As a global leader, we should be leading the way, not just in winning cases but also in advancing the human side of the business.”

Mr. Soliman’s primary focus will continue to be on advising clients, and he will also remain the firm’s Canadian chair.

“I would say that the chair roles will take about 20 per cent of my time, and 80 per cent of my time will continue to be focused on the special situations practice," Mr. Soliman said.

Last year, Mr. Soliman advised Parmalat SpA on its acquisition of Kraft Heinz Co.'s Canadian natural cheese division, helped Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. buy sportswear brand Helly Hansen and was involved in about a dozen proxy fights.

Mr. Soliman takes over from Tricia Hobson of Australia, whose term as global chair expired on Dec. 31. The term typically lasts a year, while the Canadian chair is usually a three-year term.

Peter Martyr, Norton Rose Fulbright’s global chief executive, said Mr. Soliman’s appointment will be a boost to the company’s plans to grow its global advisory business, particularly in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, takeover defence, complex reorganizations and shareholder activism.

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“His extensive experience will be invaluable as we grow these practices worldwide,” Mr. Martyr said in a statement.

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