Greenhill Mines Lehman For Placement Team

Boutique investment bank Greenhill & Co. took a bite out of Lehman Brothers this month by poaching its private equity fund placement team. Lehman Brothers responded by shrugging its shoulders.

In some ways, Lehman Brothers telegraphed this turn of events in March when it hired former UBS placement chief Mark Bourgeois to serve as co-head of Global Institutional Distribution with a focus on alternative investments. The move essentially meant that Lehman Brothers’s Chris Kirsten got to keep his title as global head of private fund marketing but lost much of his actual influence.

“Bourgeois will do whatever he feels is best, and not everyone saw things the same way,” a source familiar with the situation told Buyouts. “The [Lehman Brothers] group is now integrated to include marketing for hedge funds of funds, real estate funds and other things that aren’t traditional private equity.”

The result is Kirsten’s departure to New York-based Greenhill & Co., which plans to compete against the likes of Lazard and Park Hill Group, a division of The Blackstone Group that’s been gaining significant market share. Joining Kirsten are two ex-Lehman Brothers managing directors, Patrick Dunleavy and Neil Banta, a principal (and former NFL quarterback), Dave Brown; and a vice president, Meghan Kelly. The moves become effective in the coming weeks.

“We originally went out looking for someone to help us market our own funds,” said Greenhill & Co. co-CEO Scott Bok, whose firm has raised two mid-market buyout funds in the United States and one in Europe, as well as a U.S. venture fund. “But what we found was that there were a lot of individuals looking to move, and eventually realized that a fund placement business was kind of a natural for a boutique firm like Greenhill.”

Bok added that the group will target mid-market buyout opportunities (fund sizes up to $1.5 billion), plus some venture fundraising opportunities. It also will look to hire some staff in Europe, and perhaps even a bit more in the U.S.

It’s unclear what happens to the Lehman Brothers team’s existing engagements, although it was reportedly only working on a small handful of third-party funds at the time of the deapartures. The rest were Lehman Brothers-branded efforts, including a new infrastructure vehicle and a fund of funds managed by Lehman Brothers affiliate Crossroads Group.—D.P.