Trading Places: Pimco nabs ex-White House adviser, Goldman exits, Simpson Thacher hires Blackstone GC

Pimco, the US bond giant, has appointed a former White House staffer to its advisory board — the second high profile name to be added in the past six months.

Michèle Flournoy, an expert in US defence policy and national security issues, will join the line-up of former central bankers and economists who advise the California-based asset manager.

Flournoy served as undersecretary of defence for policy in the Barack Obama administration, and as deputy assistant secretary of defence for strategy under president Bill Clinton.

READ Pimco adds former White House defence expert to advisory board

Pimco announced in September that former Bank of England governor Mark Carney would join the panel, which provides the asset management with insights on global economic, political and strategic developments and their relevance to financial markets.

Eric Lane, the co-head of Goldman Sachs global asset management business, is stepping down six months after being appointed to the role.

Lane, a partner who has worked at Goldman Sachs for 25 years, was appointed co-head of the division in September 2020 to oversee it with Julian Salisbury.

In a note to staff on 1 March, Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon said Lane is retiring from GSAM, but will work with Salisbury over the coming weeks to “effect a smooth transition”.

Salisbury is expected to take over sole leadership of the asset management arm, which oversees close to $1.9tn of assets.

READ Goldman Sachs creates new London team to capitalise on Spac boom

Separately, Goldman has shifted two of its most senior equity bankers in London into a new team that will look to capitalise on the expected boom in blank cheque companies in Europe.

Celine Assouline, who has been co-head of structured equity for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the last seven years, will co-head a new unit alongside Lyle Schwartz, who previously led a division at the US bank raising capital for private companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

The newly-formed unit, called alternative equity products group, will look to capitalise on the expected boom in special purpose acquisition companies in Europe, as well as bring together other parts of its equity capital markets functions including private placements, pre-initial public offering convertibles and equity-linked products.

READ Deutsche Bank shakes up junior recruitment to diversify from MBA hires

US law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has hired Geoffrey Bailhache from private equity firm Blackstone where he was managing director and general counsel. He will join the firm’s London office as a partner.

“Geoff is a talented advisor and he has an excellent reputation in the market for working on the types of complex, high-stakes transactions for which Simpson Thacher is renowned,” said London M&A head, Ben Spiers. “He will be a wonderful asset to our European M&A practice.”

The firm has also added investment funds lawyer James Board from Kirkland & Ellis. Board also joins as a partner in the firm’s London office.

“James has established himself as a go-to advisor on complex fundraises, especially in the credit funds space, and he will be an excellent addition to our stellar London team,” said Jason Glover, managing partner of the firm’s London office and head of the firm’s London funds practice.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank is overhauling the way it hires junior bankers, expanding jobs typically reserved for elite MBAs to professionals with experience in a range of other industries.

The German lender is expanding its associate recruitment programme for investment banking roles to so-called lateral hires, taking on junior bankers from competitors and new recruits from other industries instead of just MBA graduates, according to people familiar with the matter.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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