Minns (pictured) replaces partner Tim Bednall, who served as chairman for three years and who oversaw significant changes at the firm, including its link-up with King & Wood last year.
Bednall will return to his M&A, corporate advisory and competition law practice.
Tony O’Malley, KWM’s Australia managing partner, said the merger, combined with the challenging economic environment, has meant the firm has had to adopt new ways of thinking and more meaningful ways of engaging with clients.
“Tim has been at the centre of this drive and I thank him for his support. Stephen’s appointment will bring a seasoned insight into our business and I look forward to working with him to realise the benefits of our combination for both our clients and our people,” he said.
Minns joined the firm in 1986, having previously worked in investment banking in Sydney and London.
As well as his role as chairman, he will continue to run his practice specialising in public company acquisitions and equity issues, as well as general corporate work.