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Activist Investing Today: Activism’s Power Couple Discuss Marriage, ESG, M&A

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Published: January 12th, 2024
Perella Weinberg activism banker Jillian Alsheimer and her husband, Sebastian, an activism partner at Wilson Sonsini, discuss marriage, white squires, M&A and prospects for Bernie Sanders as a labor-backed director nominee.

Jillian Colbert Alsheimer and her husband, Sebastian, have the unusual distinction of being a couple who both work as high-profile advisers in the activist investing space.

Sebastian quit activist fund advisory firm Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP in February to co-lead the shareholder engagement and activism practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, and Jillian recently left Goldman, Sachs & Co. to help launch Perella Weinberg Partners LP’s activism defense engagement team.

Together, the duo spoke on The Deal’s Activist Investing Today podcast about how they met, why they endeavor to not work on opposing sides of particular situations, and what kind of things they talk about at the dinner table (hint: not activism).

“We certainly try not to be across from each other or really even on the same side [of an activist situation],” Jillian said. “It would be fun for us to talk shop at dinner, but the reality is we have three small children, and we work super-demanding jobs, and our dinner table discussion is about who is dropping our son off at 7:45 a.m. or who is picking up our daughter from ballet.”

But make no mistake: The Alsheimers are well-versed in the world of activism. On AIT, they discussed governance, white squire defensive infusions, activism’s M&A, auctions and the first universal proxy card season, which was “a little wacky.”

On ESG topics, Sebastian explained why he worries single-issue activists focused on animal rights, environment or labor issues or could start hiring celebrities as board candidates.

“Think Billie Eilish nominated to the board of McDonald’s as an animal rights representative, or Leonardo DiCaprio at Chevron, Susan Sarandon at Smith & Wesson, how about Bernie Sanders as a pro-labor nominee at Starbucks,” he said. “Then I’m afraid we’ve taken ESG deep into meme stock territory.”

Here’s the podcast with Jillian and Sebastian Alsheimer:

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunesSpotify and on TheDeal.com

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