Richard Harney

Richard Harney

Senior Partner
Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP
T: +254 20 289 9000
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Richard Harney is the senior partner of Bowmans Kenya.  Richard co-founded the Nairobi office as Coulson Harney LLP in 2008 and served as managing partner of the firm until 2021. 

Richard is consistently involved in the most prominent transactions in the region.  Having spent over 27 years in Kenya, Richard has a wide array of experience advising domestic, regional and international clients on M&A deals, capital markets, finance, restructuring and corporate law.  Prior to moving to Kenya, in the early 1990s, Richard worked as a solicitor at two leading law firms in the City of London.

He is listed in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame, a Leading Lawyer in IFLR1000 and a Tier 1 Lawyer in Chambers Global where clients acknowledge “he has a good feel for what is and isn’t practical in Kenya, and for how it will work in the local environment.’”

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

  • Liberty Holdings Limited on its acquisition of additional shares from institutional shareholders in Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Liberty Kenya Holdings plc – 2021
  • Oserian Development Company Limited on the sale of its flower business in Kenya – 2021
  • Kenya Airways PLC (KQ) on its proposed nationalization and merger with Kenya Airports Authority and delisting from the Nairobi Securities Exchange – 2019/20.
  • Commercial Bank of Africa Limited on its USD 4 billion merger with NIC Bank PLC to create the third largest banking group in East Africa: NCBA Bank Group PLC – 2019.
  • KQ on its USD 2 billion balance sheet restructuring which included USD 750 million of sovereign guarantees from the Government of Kenya to KQ’s creditors, US Exim Bank and 11 Kenyan commercial banks, debt for equity conversions and realignment of shareholding arrangements with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The restructuring was linked to a USD 175 million term facility for KQ from eight of the Kenyan Banks – 2016/17.
  • Adviser to Diageo PLC and East African Breweries PLC on corporate and commercial matters in Kenya.
  • Orange S.A. on the disposal of all of its shares and shareholders loans, comprising 70% of Telkom Kenya Ltd, to Jamhuri Holdings Limited, owned Helios Investment Partners.
  • Old Mutual Property Africa Investment Company Pty Limited on its USD 55 million investment to acquire 50% of the shares in Two Rivers Mall and Office Tower in Nairobi, the largest mall in East and Central Africa.
  • Certain long-term lenders in regard to the receivership of Pan-African Paper Mills (EA) Limited.
  • East Africa’s leading dairy produce business Brookside Dairy Limited on the investment of a 40% shareholding by Compagnie Gervais Danone.
  • East African Breweries on its KES 11 billion corporate bond listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • Lafarge and Holcim on Kenyan regulatory approvals required in Kenya for their global merger.
  • LafargeHolcim on shareholders matters concerning the East African Portland Cement Company Limited.
  • E.A. Trading Limited on its offer to acquire all the ordinary shares not already owned by it in R.E.A. Vipingo Plantations Limited, a company listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange – the first contested takeover on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
  • France Telecom on its USD 390 million acquisition of 51% of Telkom Kenya from the Government during the privatisation of Telkom Kenya Limited.
  • Equity Bank in the USD 185 million equity investment by Helios Investors.
  • Dimension Data Holdings plc on its take-over of 100% of the issued share capital of AccessKenya Group Limited, an internet service provider listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners ranked Richard in Band 1 for Corporate/ M&A for seven consecutive years (2015 to 2021) and in the Spotlight Table for Capital Markets for three consecutive years (2019 to 2021).
  • IFLR1000’s Financial and Corporate Guide rated Richard as a Highly Regarded Lawyer for Restructuring and Insolvency, Energy and Infrastructure, Banking and M&A for four years (2016 and 2018 to 2020).
  • The Legal 500 has listed Richard in its Hall of Fame, which highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. Legal 500 ranked Richard for several years up to 2020 as a recommended and leading lawyer for Commercial Corporate and M&A, and recommended lawyer for Banking, Finance and Capital Markets.
  • Richard was awarded the World Bank Award for Excellence in relation to the privatisation of Kenya Airways in 1996


 “Richard Harney continues to be regarded as a household name in the field of Kenyan corporate law, with considerable experience leading major M&A and investment mandates. He is also noted for his significant understanding of capital markets, advising on matters ranging from regulatory issues to capital raisings.”

“Richard Harney is regarded as “one of the top capital markets lawyers” in Kenya by sources, who go on to describe him as “really switched on.” An eminent and respected corporate lawyer, he is particularly well regarded for his experience of capital markets regulatory issues. – Chambers and Partners, 2021

“Incredibly great lawyer on complex transactions” who is “very good at understanding the commercial side and grasping what risks there are.” – Chambers and Partners, 2020

“He’s able to think through complex matters and design unique solutions.”

Commended for his “wealth of knowledge” and understanding of the Capital Markets Authority, he is equally valued for his ability to “think through complex matters and design unique solutions.” -Chambers and Partners, 2019

“Output/feedback and response is prompt and of quality. Richard Harney has a great deal of practical expertise and advice in the area of commercial law as it applies to Kenya – he is not hesitant in giving his measured opinion to his client.”

“Excellent lawyer with very broad experience. Led the legal process on a highly complex cross-border restructuring. A trusted adviser to governments, creditors and corporates.”

“Excellent practitioner.” -IFLR 1000, 2019

“He knows his stuff and he is experienced.”

“a switched-on negotiator.” He has a formidable insolvency and restructuring practice – notably acting for Kenya Airways – and has further expertise in M&A, capital markets and competition matters. Peers add: “He continues to stand out as a top-tier lawyer.” Chambers and Partners 2018

Richard Harney is particularly active on M&A, capital markets and finance deals. He advised Eaton Towers on the financing of its acquisition of Bharti Airtel’s tower infrastructure across multiple East African countries. Peers agree that he is deserving of his reputation in the market, and one client remarked: “He has a very clear vision of an M&A deal and knows exactly what is required.” – Chambers and Partners 2017

“true business partner” – Legal 500 2017

“delightful to work with.” – Chambers and Partners 2016

Publications & Insights