Private equity pioneer, lawyer and independent publisher Frank H. Pearl died May 4 from complications related to lung cancer. He was 68.
Considered a founding father of leveraged buyouts, Pearl began his finance career at Wesray Capital Corp., where he helped buy Gibson Greetings Inc. for $80 million and flip it in a $290 million initial public offering within a year. Other notable investments were Avis Rent-a-Car, Western Auto Supply Co. and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. He retired in 1988 before returning to found Rappahannock Investment Co. in 1991.
In 1995, Pearl founded Washington merchant bank and private equity fund management company Perseus LLC, of which he was also chairman and CEO. The following year, he founded Perseus Books LLC, now the largest independent publisher of nonfiction books, where he was chairman.
Pearl once told The Washington Post that his mission in founding Perseus Books was to ensure that "publishing doesn't simply become a lowest-common-denominator commercial operation. It's of crucial importance to the intellectual landscape in this country that important books get published and stay in print."
Perseus Books' authors include Cornel West, Orlando Patterson and Iris Chang.
Known for shunning the limelight, Pearl was described by The Washington Post as "the most powerful unknown man in Washington." Raised in Chicago, he attended American University's Washington College of Law and joined Lane and Edson in 1969, where he covered real estate. Pearl practiced law in Washington until 1983, when he joined Wesray Capital.
Perseus LLC senior managing director Kenneth Socha, who worked with Pearl for 25 years, will lead the firm. Before joining Perseus, Socha was a partner at Dewey Ballantine LLP in New York, where he represented Wesray from 1985 to 1991. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Duke University School of Law.
Peter J. Solomon Co. has tapped David Shiffman to be a managing director in its retail, e-commerce and distribution group in New York. Shiffman was a partner at Miller Buckfire & Co. LLC, where he was head of consumer and retail investment banking.
He is a former partner and head of retail investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he spent 10 years. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Shiffman has an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Former head of alternative fund distribution at UBS Investment Bank Declan Tiernan has joined Oak Hill Advisors LP as a managing director. Tiernan is OHA's first client coverage specialist in London. He will focus on Europe and the Middle East. The firm said about 30% of its $13.6 billion of capital comes from investors in these regions.
Earlier, Tiernan worked at Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings plc, where he marketed structured and alternative credit products to European and Middle Eastern investors.
Vincent Berry has been named head of mergers and acquisitions at Natixis SA, the corporate banking arm of French lender Groupe BPCE. Berry began his career in 1997 in the ABN Amro Rothschild joint venture, covering equity capital markets. In 2006, he joined the global financial advisory team of Rothschild, working in the energy, environment and infrastructure sectors.
Separately, the firm named Asia-Pacific CEO Hervé Housse as inspector general of Natixis and a member of the executive committee.
Neil Wessan has joined CIT Group Inc. as a managing director and group head of CIT Capital Markets. Wessan had been head of capital markets for Gleacher & Co. Before that, he was a founding principal at Halsey Lane Holdings LLC and was a managing director and co-head of Jefferies & Co.'s leveraged loan capital markets and syndications group.
Jeffrey Sechrest, the former co-head of Lazard's media group, is joining Berenson & Co. as president in June. He will also be a board member. Sechrest was most recently a senior adviser at Lazard. Before that, he was vice chairman at Merrill Lynch & Co., a senior partner at Evercore Partners Inc. and a managing director and co-head of media and telecom at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Sechrest's clients have included Amazon.com Inc., BellSouth Corp., Liberty Media Corp., NBC and Viacom Inc.
Oppenheimer & Co. has added Paul Vasilopoulos as a managing director and head of telecom in its investment banking unit. Since 2009, Vasilopoulos has worked at Bank Street Group LLC, where he was a managing director in its communications infrastructure and services group, focusing on data centers, broadband transport, competitive carriers, wireline, wireless and cable. He was also a managing director in the telecom and media group and head of wireline telecom and Internet infrastructure services at Deutsche Bank AG. Prior to that, Vasilopoulos worked at Morgan Stanley and Bear, Stearns & Co.
GE Capital Corp. has appointed Camille Frizon de Lamotte to lead its sponsor coverage activities for the French middle market. He joined GE Capital in 2004. Before that, Lamotte spent three years at French bank Calyon as an associate director in leveraged finance. He started his career at Astorg Partners in 1999 and joined Montagu Private Equity LLP a year later.
Technology investment bankers Robert Abbe and Per-Ake Stahl have joined William Blair & Co. LLC in San Francisco as managing directors, while Charles Ruppert joined as a vice president. The trio hails from Morgan Keegan & Co.
Before Morgan Keegan, Abbe led Jefferies & Co.'s West Coast technology M&A practice, while Stahl led Jefferies' West Coast communications and wireless investment banking team. Earlier, Stahl was director of M&A for Nokia Corp. in the U.S.
Harcourt Investment Consulting AG, a subsidiary of Swiss private bank Vontobel Asset Management Inc., has named Jan Viebig head of alternative investments and Georg Wessling deputy head. Viebig replaces former Harcourt CEO Stephan Fritz, who is leaving the firm. Viebig will join in September from Credit Suisse Group, where he is head of emerging-markets equities. Wessling is currently head of hedge fund advisory at Harcourt.
Giselle Bright has joined Bregal Private Equity Partners in London as an investment director. In addition to private equity funds and co-investments, she will focus on secondaries. Bright was an associate director at PPM Managers. Also, senior associate Sarah Claypool has joined Bregal's New York office from HarbourVest Partners LLC.
Private equity firm Riverside Co. has named Jamie Kiggen as its first president. Kiggen, who will be based in New York, was most recently a senior managing director at Blackstone Group LP, where he headed the cleantech venture capital effort. Prior to that, he was at AllianceBernstein LP, where he managed a global research and investment team focused on emerging sciences and technologies and launched a late-stage venture fund.
Kiggen also spent time as a technology analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and began his investment career at Wellington Management Co. LLP. He holds a bachelor's from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
PrinceRidge Group LLC, the firm founded by former UBS investment banking chief John Costas, has tapped Mike Grady and Ryan Fischer as managing directors, investment banking, in Charlotte, N.C. Grady was formerly a managing director and head of retail investment banking at Morgan Keegan & Co., while Fischer was a senior vice president in charge of the restaurant banking group.
Lincoln International has recruited Simon Davis as a managing director, industrials mergers and acquisitions, in its London office. Davis previously worked on KPMG LLP's U.K. corporate finance team advising on middle-market M&A.
Helios Investment Partners has appointed Dabney Tonelli as an investor relations partner, based in London. She was previously a managing partner and chief operating officer of Chayton Capital LLP, an emerging-markets private equity investment adviser. Before joining Chayton, Tonelli was at Goldman, Sachs & Co. for 12 years, working in global investment research in London and in the investment management division in New York.
Jefferies & Co. has hired Lyndon Norley as a managing director and head of European restructuring and recapitalization investment banking, based in London. He was previously head of Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP's European restructuring practice. Prior to Greenberg Traurig Maher, Norley was head of the European restructuring practice at Kirkland & Ellis LLP for seven years and a partner in the financial restructuring practice of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he spent five years. Norley started his career at Clifford Chance LLP.