Francis J Aquila is Sullivan & Cromwell’s senior M&A partner. Mr Aquila represents global leaders and their boards of directors on negotiated and unsolicited mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance matters, ESG, activism, crisis management and matters affecting corporate policy and strategy. During the course of his career, Mr Aquila has advised on deals totalling more than US$1 trillion in value. The strength of his practice has resulted in his being one of only a handful of lawyers who have been ranked byChambers GlobalinBand 1 (the top tier), a three-timeAmerican Lawyer‘Dealmaker of the Year’, a recipient of the Atlas Award as ‘Global M&A Lawyer of the Year’ and a three-timeLaw 360MVP.
The Financial Times described Mr Aquila as ‘one of the most influential and high-profile M&A and corporate lawyers in the US’ who has ‘played a role in many of the largest and most complex deals’. In December 2019, Mr Aquila was one of the dealmakers profiled in an article in the Financial Times titled ‘Deal lawyers are masters of seeing the next move’. The Wall Street Journal profiled him as one of the six top dealmakers of the year in 2019 and one of the seven top dealmakers of the year in 2018. In October 2021, he was profiled byInsideras one of the world’s top ‘M&A lawyers leading the way today, closing billion-dollar blockbuster deals’. In 2015, the Financial Times recognised his representation of Kraft in its merger with Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company as one of the most innovative in North America, and he led the Sullivan & Cromwell team that won the Financial Times’ top award in 2021 for innovation in transformational deals for advising Tiffany & Co in its US$16 billion acquisition by LVMH.
For his work in corporate governance, Mr Aquila has been named several times by the National Association of Corporate Directors to its ‘Directorship 100’ as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. Best Lawyers in America named Mr Aquila as its 2017 corporate governance law ‘Lawyer of the Year’. In 2022, Mr Aquila was designated a BTI Elite MVP All-Star and was recognised by Lawdragon as one of 20 lawyers selected as a ‘Lawdragon Legend of the 500’. Outside of the firm, Mr Aquila serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Law School.