Frontline – March 2008

Frontline compiles news and announcements about providers of professional services to the global private equity industry. Send your announcements to

Goldsmith Agio Helms creates executive committee
Minneapolis, Minnesota-based middle market investment banking firm Goldsmith Agio Helms rearranged its management structure in January. Jack Helms, formerly the firm’s chief executive officer, became its chairman. Mike McFadden and David Solomon became co-chief executive officers. Together, the three men will form the firm’s executive committee, which will work with Bill Sharpe, the firm’s chief operating officer and managing director. Prior to joining the firm in 1984, Helms worked as a partner at Minneapolis law firm Fredrickson & Byron. In his new role, he will focus on transaction execution. McFadden joined the firm about 10 years ago after working as an associate at New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He focuses on transaction banking. Solomon joined Goldsmith Agio Helms 15 years ago from a boutique investment banking firm. He has worked on mergers and acquisitions, private placements and restructuring assignments, and will continue to work on transaction execution.

Gephardt joins Financial Dynamics
Former US Democratic Majority Leader Dick Gephardt became a consultant for and advisor to Financial Dynamics Business Communications, a specialist financial consultancy group, in January. ?This partnership will open new doors for [Financial Dynamics] globally as Dick will help our clients strategize in the critical areas of government, public policy, employee and labor relations and international affairs,? Declan Kelly, the chief executive officer of Financial Dynamics’ US operations, said in a statement. Gephardt will serve as a member of the company’s advisory board and will also work with its parent company, FTI Consulting.

AlixPartners promotes two to co-president
Global financial advisory services firm AlixPartners appointed two managing directors, Stefano Aversa and Peter Fitzsimmons, to the role of co-president in February. Both Aversa and Fitzsimmons will help expand the firm’s corporate consulting and litigation advisory services. Formerly stationed in Detroit, Aversa will help AlixPartners expand into Asia and further into Europe. He helped found the firm’s Milan office when he first joined in April of 2003. He came to AlixPartners from AT Kearney where he was the global leader of its automotive and aerospace practice. Fitzsimmons will help expand AlixPartners’ North American operations. He joined the firm’s New York office in November of 1995 from Ernst & Young’s restructuring and reorganization group. He moved to the UK office to help with the firm’s expansion into Europe in 2002.

Ernst & Young promotes Pearson to partner
Business services company Ernst & Young appointed Simon Pearson to the role of partner in its mergers and acquisitions department in February. Pearson joined the company in 2001 as an assistant director for the technology mergers and acquisitions practice. In his new position, he will work from Ernst & Young’s London office and will continue to lead the technology mergers and acquisitions division. His promotion came as the firm added nine other partners, including Omar Ali, Josephine Bush, Russell Gardner, Neville Gray, Michael Hall, Chris Oates, John Savage, Nigel Willis and Cary Wilson.

Alvarez & Marsal expands national practice
New York-based global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal’s Transaction Advisory Group has added to its national practice. Geoff Weber has joined the firm as a director from KPMG and Andrew Henoch has joined as a senior associate from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Both men will work in the firm’s Chicago office. Weber specializes in buy-side financial due diligence. Henoch focuses on accounting and financial analysis for buy-side, sell-side and post-transaction issues. Alexander Chan has joined the San Francisco office as a director from Deloitte & Touche. He specializes in buy-side financial due diligence. Brad Goldsmith has joined the New York office from Ernst & Young as a senior associate and focuses on financial and accounting due diligence services. ?With strong backgrounds in mergers & acquisitions and accounting and fi-nancial analysis, Geoff, Alexander, Andrew and Brad are outstanding additions to our growing, national team,? Jack McCarthy, a managing director and co-head of Alvarez & Marsal Transaction Advisory Group, said in a statement.

Monument adds six partners
Monument Group, a Boston- and London-based private equity placement agent, has promoted six professionals to the role of partner. Those promoted are Martin Anthonsen, Lori Campana, Teresa Kinsella, Bart Molloy, Ryan Mueller and Laurence Zage. Anthonsen and Zage will continue to fill the roles of managing director working with European clients and investors from the firm’s London office. Campana, Kinsella, Molloy and Mueller will work to expand the firm’s US business from the Boston office. Founded in 1994, Monument is owned entirely by its principals. Investors in its funds come from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and include endowments, foundations, public and corporate pension funds, financial institutions, consultants and fund-of-fund managers, as well as wealthy individuals and families.

Three regional executive search firms strike global alliance
Paris-based Alexander Hughes, Asia-based Strategic Executive Search Team and San Francisco-based Nosal Partners, the firm associated with Executive Leadership Solutions, have joined together to form a ?global strategic alliance? that will provide executive search services in North America, Europe and Asia. ?Our firms’ philosophies are fundamentally aligned,? said Chris Taub, a co-founder and group managing director of Strategic Executive Search, in a statement. Founded in 1957, Alexander Hughes has 34 offices in 24 European countries. The nineteenyear-old Strategic Executive group works throughout Asia and has four offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. Nosal Partners, founded in 2005, has seven of-fices in the US.

Jefferies’ Helix adds new senior VP
Karen Christofferson joined the Helix division of Jefferies & Company, the subsidiary of the investment bank Jefferies Group, as a senior vice president in February. The Helix division is a global private equity fund placement agent. Christofferson will be based in New York and will lead the team responsible for private equity market research and analysis and fund level due diligence for North American clients. She will work with New York-based managing directors, Phil Kemp, Wanda Felton, and Mark Hallock, the head of the US team. Christofferson joins the firm from a position as the vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Her appointment will help the Helix expand in the North American market, especially in the middle market buyout sector, said Hallock in a statement.

Watch Hill promotes trio
New York-based investment banking boutique Watch Hill Partners promoted three of its investment professionals in February. Tim Whipple and Claude Shaw were promoted from the level of associate to vice president. Rob Kusick became an associate after working as an analyst at the firm. Whipple joined Watch Hill in 2005 from Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private equity and mezzanine capital fund management company specializing in the North American and European media, communications, information and education sectors. Shaw joined the firm in 2004 from Daedelus Media Partners, an entertainment company. He previously worked for Helkon International Pictures, the film finance and distribution unit of Helkon Media AG. Kusnick joined the firm from JPMorgan’s mergers and acquisitions team in London in 2006. Watch Hill focuses on the business services, communications, consumer products, financial services, healthcare and industrial growth sectors.

Harris Williams, Cobblestone add pair to Philadelphia office
Richmond, Virgina-based Harris Williams & Co and its lower-middle market division Cobbleston Advisors added two members to their Philadelphia office. Patrick Hanraty joined Cobblestone as a managing director to work on transaction activity. Henry Hissrich joined Harris Williams as the director of new business development. Hanraty brings to Cobblestone 15 years of investment banking and private equity experience. Hisrick joins Harris Williams from the loan syndications group at PNC Capital Markets. Harris Williams acquired The PNC Financial Services Group, a fi-nancial services company, in October 2005.

Cobalt appoints new partner from Deloitte
Cobalt Corporate Finance, a European corporate finance adviser based in London, appointed Chris Williams to the role of partner. He joins the firm from Deloitte, where he was a corporate finance partner and global head of technology, media and telecommunications. His experience includes more than 50 transactions in the technology, media and telecommunications sector. Cobalt hopes to capitalize on Williams’ experience in that area, Paddy MccGwire, a Cobalt managing partner, said in a statement. Cobalt’s business includes mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, management buyouts, corporate advice and strategic reviews in the technology, media and telecommunications industry.

PwC Latin America gets new head
The transaction services team of PricewaterhouseCoopers has named Mark Ross as managing partner in the Florida office, overseeing the Florida and Latin American business for the consulting firm. Ross succeeds Tim Hartnett, who will return to the New York office to assume additional responsibilities, according to a statement. Ross has been with PwC for almost 20 years, most recently working form the Cleveland, Ohio office. He became a partner in 1999. Ross has experience advising on transactions in the $20 million to $10 billion range, including cross-border transactions throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. PwC’s transaction services teams operate from 16 US cities and roughly 90 locations around the world.

CEE search firm promotes two
Eastern European executive search firm Pedersen & Partners has promoted both Monika Kecskes and Ulrik Rasmussen to the positions of partners and co-owners. Kecskes joined Pedersen & Partners in 2001 and most recently served as its country manager for Hungary. Rasmussen joined the company in 2003 and has been responsible for the group’s real estate practice and has overseen its offices in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Albania. Pedersen & Partners has 20 offices located throughout the region, including in Poland, Russia, Austria and Turkey.