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Movers & shakers

Boon Chye Loh

Celeste Barone

Bill Winters

Bennett Goodman

Eric Cantor

David Walker

Manuel Medina-Mora

Marci Eisenstein

Movers & shakers: March 3, 2015

by Baz Hiralal

Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of Asia Pacific global markets, Boon Chye Loh, is leaving the bank. He is also the country executive for Singapore and Southeast Asia and a member of the firm s APAC executive committee. Loh arrived in December 2012 from Deutsche Bank AG, where he was APAC head of corporate and investment banking. He was a 17-year veteran of DB and began his career in finance as an investment officer with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 1989. In 1992, he joined the Singapore branch of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, managing its Southeast Asia fixed income and derivatives business.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said the board has found his successor, while Charlie Munger made some guesses. Buffett has headed the firm for 50 years. In his 25,100-word letter to shareholders, he wrote: "Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down." He laid out all the attributes the CEO should have and that future heads should come from within the firm. In another letter, vice chairman Munger suggested the next CEO could be reinsurance executive Ajit Jain or energy head Greg Abel.

Dickstein Shapiro LLP grew its corporate and finance practice, adding partner Merrill A. Ulmer in New York. She will focus on mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and related equity and debt financings for PE funds and their portfolio companies.

Ulmer joins from Ropes & Gray LLP in New York, where she was a partner in the firm s private equity, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and compliance, and life sciences M&A practices. She was previously assistant head of the firm s corporate department.

Mayer Brown JSM said Pieter de Ridder joined the tax transactions and consulting practice as a partner in Singapore. De Ridder was a partner and the head of Loyens & Loeff s Singapore office, where he was a member of the firm s India and China committees.

Ropes & Gray LLP enlisted Ira Parghi for the firm s healthcare practice as counsel in San Francisco. Parghi was previously the corporate privacy officer at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Before that, she was a partner in the health law practice at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Canada s largest law firm, where she advised hospitals and professional organizations on regulatory and litigation matters.

Private equity firm Greenbriar Equity Group LLC, investing in the transportation industry, named Michael Weiss as a managing director. Weiss joined Greenbriar in 2004 and previously worked in the financial sponsors and leveraged finance group at Merrill Lynch & Co.
U.K. grocer Tesco plc just had its debt rating cut to junk status and is making changes. Following Richard Broadbent's decision to step down as chairman, Tesco will add John Allan to the board as chairman on March 1. Allan will step down from the boards of Dixons Carphone and Royal Mail. He also resigned as a senior adviser to Alixpartners and he will step down as chair of the DHL UK Foundation as soon as a successor is found, which is anticipated to be within three months. He is expected to continue in his other roles as chairman of Barratt Developments and WorldPay.

Allan's early career was with Lever Bros and Bristol-Myers in a variety of marketing roles. He then spent eight years at Fine Fare, a subsidiary of ABF, where he was the retail director for marketing, buying and retail operations. He was a divisional CEO at BET for nine years, became CEO of Ocean Group plc in 1994 and then of Exel when Ocean Group merged with NFC in 2000 to become Exel plc, a logistics company operating in 60 countries. Exel was acquired by Deutsche Post AG in 2005 for $6.7 billion, and Allan joined the board of Deutsche Post to manage the integration, and subsequently the new logistics division with 150,000 employees and a turnover of over €27 billion. In 2007, he became chief financial officer of Deutsche Post, a post he held until his retirement and return to the U.K. in 2009.

Allan became chairman of Dixons Retail plc in Sept 2009. Dixons conducted a turnaround program during which the share price more than quadrupled, culminating in a friendly merger of equals with Carphone Warehouse Group plc in August to form Dixons Carphone.

Also, independent nonexecutive directors Liv Garfield and Jacqueline Tammenoms will leave the board.

GNC Holdings Inc., the holding company for nutritional supplement retailer GNC Corp., hired Tricia Tolivar as executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective March 2. She worked with Ernst & Young, LLP from October 2007 until February, including most recently as Americas director of finance, advisory. Tolivar was previously CFO of the Greater Memphis Arts Council from January 2006 to December 2008 and worked at AutoZone Inc. from 1996 to 2005.

GNC will pay her an annual base salary of $425,000, in addition to a bonus and stock options. It should be noted that the vitamin space had some recent action with activist investor Consac LLC pressuring Inc. to pursue strategic alternatives. Vitacost hired Jefferies LLC for advice.

Clippings from the next column:

-- Gordon E. Dyal plans to leave Goldman, Sachs & Co.
-- Guggenheim Securities hires Jeff Hoffman and Joseph Kohls as senior managing directors.
-- Bank of America Merrill Lynch taps Lewis Steinberg for structured solutions, Americas M&A.
-- IEX Group Inc. enlists Claudia Crowley as chief regulatory officer.
-- Advent International retains Jeremy Rabe and Livia Masnaghetti.


Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of Asia Pacific global markets, Boon Chye Loh, is leaving the bank.