Leveraged buyout trailblazer Joseph Rice III is stepping down as chairman of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC in June. Rice, 80, is one of a generation of Wall Street entrepreneurs including Henry Kravis and his mentor, Jerome Kohlberg, Thomas H. Lee and the late Theodore Forstmann who pioneered debt- financed corporate takeovers.
In 1978, Rice teamed up with turnaround specialists Eugene Clayton and Martin Dubilier to start Clayton & Dubilier Inc. It was perhaps the first leveraged buyout shop to focus as much on rejuvenating businesses as on financial gamesmanship. It stocked its ranks with seasoned operators such as former PepsiCo Inc. chairman Andrall Pearson and longtime General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch to whip companies into shape.
The firm, based in New York, made its mark buying underperforming businesses cast off by large corporations. An early triumph in this genre was Lexmark International Inc., a company CD&R created in 1991 to acquire IBM Corp.'s moribund typewriter line. CD&R transformed it into a world-class maker of ink-jet printers, turning more than a threefold profit on its investment.
Rice took over in 1991 after Dubilier died. Clayton retired in 1985. Rice ceded the CEO title to Donald Gogel in 1998.
In a letter to investors posted on the website Scribd, Gogel praised Rice's "integrity and unwavering commitment to always do the right thing."
Gogel added: "The essence of the business for Joe has always been, in his words, 'the excitement and romance of building something new -- something that takes on a life of its own and rewards the people involved both monetarily and intellectually.' "
Shearman & Sterling LLP has elected for a six-year term its co-head of global mergers and acquisitions, Creighton Condon, 56, as the firm's 15th senior partner. He succeeds Rohan Weerasinghe, 61, who was recently named general counsel of longtime Shearman client Citigroup Inc.
Condon joined Shearman 30 years ago after graduating from Columbia University School of Law. He has spent most of that time in the New York office, though he recently completed a three-year assignment as the firm's European managing partner in London. Condon's M&A clients have included Cadbury plc, Citigroup and Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club.
Shearman also appointed New York partner David Beveridge to a new global managing partner role. Currently, the firm's Americas managing partner, Beveridge has been with Shearman for more than 25 years, including more than a decade in its London office. A graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, Beveridge earned a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Weerasinghe announced plans to join Citi last month. He spent 35 years at Shearman and was named senior partner in 2005. At Citi, he will be reunited with another former senior partner of Shearman, Stephen Volk, who is currently vice chairman of the banking giant, focusing on senior management matters and institutional clients.
In other New York law firm news, Ilan Nissan and Christian Nugent have fled the imploding Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP for Goodwin Procter LLP's private equity practice in New York, where they will be partners. The pair had joined Dewey in June from O'Melveny & Myers LLP's M&A group, which Nissan co-chaired. Nissan graduated from Boston University School of Law, while Nugent earned his J.D. from Fordham Law School.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, meanwhile, has picked up capital markets and mergers and acquisitions lawyer Christopher Betts as a partner from Paul Hastings LLP. Based in Hong Kong, Betts becomes the fourth partner added in Asia by Skadden in the past seven months. Before Paul Hastings, Betts worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and also co-led the Asia-Pacific legal team at McKinsey & Co.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP announced that Kim Harris, who most recently served in the White House as principal deputy counsel to the president and deputy assistant to the president, will rejoin the firm's litigation department as a partner. She will advise institutions and individuals in investigations by the U.S. Congress, the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government agencies. From 1997 to 2009, Harris practiced in Davis Polk's litigation department. She was named a partner in 2007 and left in 2009 to become senior counsel to the assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice's criminal division.
On July 1 in New York, Michael Diz, Andrew Levine and Dietmar Prager will become partners of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Diz focuses on public and private company M&A on behalf of corporate and private equity clients as well as corporate and securities matters. Levine, a litigator, covers white-collar criminal defense and internal investigations. Litigation lawyer Prager handles international arbitration.
New York bankruptcy law firm Neiger LLP has launched a corporate practice, headed by Ari Edelman, who joined in March from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. A graduate of Fordham Law School, Edelman advised Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd. when it was taken private by Vector Capital Corp. in 2009.
New York's Centerview Partners LLC has hired Roland Phillips as a partner in London, focusing on companies in the consumer and retail sectors. Phillips most recently headed UBS's Europe, Middle East and Africa consumer products and retail team. Before that, he was a managing director in UBS's New York office.
At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, head of Asia-Pacific corporate banking Charles Alexander has been named interim country executive for China, replacing Erh-Fei Liu, who has left the firm. Alexander joined BofA in June 2010 from Standard Chartered Bank, where he was regional head of origination and client coverage for Northeast Asia. Before that, he spent 10 years at Lehman Brothers Inc. in London and Hong Kong, most recently as head of corporate finance for Asia ex-Japan. Earlier in his career, he spent more than 10 years with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in London, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong, including a stint as head of mergers and acquisitions, emerging Asia.
Liu joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in 1999 from Crédit Agricole Indosuez, where he was head of investment banking.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. hired Michael Fitzgerald as a managing director and senior member of its North American prime brokerage team. He had been head of U.S. prime brokerage sales at Morgan Stanley, which he left in January.
Separately, Jeff Costello, head of Russia at J.P. Morgan, is retiring and will be replaced by deputy head Yan Tavrovsky, who is also head of investment banking for Russia and Ukraine. Costello, 50, joined J.P. Morgan in March 2008 and was CEO of Brunswick UBS, a Moscow-based investment bank joint venture between UBS and Brunswick Capital Group, from 1999 through 2005. Costello was also an attorney with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, practicing in Moscow and Washington. Tavrovsky rejoined J.P. Morgan in March 2010 after five years at Morgan Stanley, where he was deputy chairman of the executive board of OOO Morgan Stanley Bank, the firm's business in Russia.