Greenhill taps Lehman placement director, staff

US investment bank Greenhill & Co. has hired Christopher Kirsten and six other Lehman agents to launch a fund placement division.

Boutique investment bank Greenhill & Company has tapped six members of Lehman Brothers’ placement team to launch its own private placement service.
Christopher Kirsten, global head of Lehman’s private fund marketing group since 2003, will direct the division. He resigned from Lehman earlier this month, just two months after Lehman appointed UBS placement head Mark Bourgeois to oversee its combined alternative investment marketing teams.

Last month, PERE reported that Lehman’s merchant banking arm was raising a $1 billion (€645 million) infrastructure fund. Lehman declined to comment

Before Lehman, Kristen was a senior member of Deutsche Bank’s private equity finance group. To round out the unit, which starts operating next month, Greenhill has also hired Lehman’s Patrick Dunleavy, Neil Banta, Dave Brown and Meghan Kelly.

“We had lots and lots of choices from several different firms, and we thought these five individuals were a great nucleus for a new business at Greenhill,” Scott Bok, Greenhill’s co-chief executive, told PERE's sister website, PEO.

Dunleavy and Banta will join Greenhill as managing directors, the same title they held at Lehman. Prior to Lehman, Dunleavy worked for private placement giant Lazard while Banta helped lead Citigroup’s fundraising unit. Brown, former American football quarterback for the New York Giants, will switch from senior vice president at Lehman to a principal at Greenhill. Kelly will retain her title as vice president. 

Bok indicated that Greenhill and similarly sized investment banks were well-positioned to poach talent and business from some of their larger competitors still hurting from financial market turbulence.

“There’s a fair amount of turmoil in the sector generally. A lot of the big firms have issues that have people thinking about moving elsewhere,” said Bok, who pointed to Greenhill’s relatively brief three-month recruitment effort as evidence of the high-turnover spate. 

Greenhill’s Kirsten-led group will focus primarily on raising capital for third party firms, although the unit will sometimes assist Greenhill’s own private equity operations.

Its flagship private equity arm, Greenhill Capital Partners, has closed two funds worth roughly $1.3 billion, of which $200 million originated from Greenhill professionals. Established in 2000, the US-based private equity arm focuses on financial services, telecom and energy investments.

Greenhill also has a European private equity branch, GCP Europe, which last year closed its debut fund on £191 million, and a venture and real estate affiliate. Bok hinted that Greenhill won’t launch another fund until next year at the earliest.