Lazard Hires Ex-Brazil Central Bank President Meirelles

Lazard Ltd., the world’s biggest independent merger adviser, named former Brazil central bank President Henrique Meirelles chairman of the Americas.

Meirelles, 66, will be based in Sao Paulo and “advise senior management regarding important initiatives internationally,” Hamilton, Bermuda-based Lazard said today in a statement.

Lazard has integrated its Brazil operations, previously run as a joint venture known as Signatura Lazard, the company said. Signatura founders Marcelo Lyrio and Jean Pierre Zarouk will keep their titles and responsibilities as managing directors and co-heads of Lazard’s Brazilian investment-banking operations.

“These announcements underscore our belief in the current and future opportunities in Brazil, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies,” Antonio Weiss, Lazard’s global head of investment banking, said in the statement.

Lazard, led by Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Jacobs, ranks ninth year-to-date on the advisory league tables for deals involving companies in Brazil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The value of mergers and acquisitions announced this year in the nation is about $33.8 billion, the data show.

Inflation Fighter

Meirelles led the Latin American business at FleetBoston Financial Corp. before becoming president of Brazil’s central bank in 2003. He was the longest-serving Brazilian central banker, staying in the post until 2010, and cut the annual inflation rate by more than 50 percent.

“He has both central bank and private sector background,” Weiss said today in a phone interview. “He’s been a force, not just in the Brazilian markets, but internationally for his entire career.”

Meirelles became chairman of J&F Participacoes SA in March. He’s also a board member of Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras SA, the Brazilian airline founded by David Neeleman, and was named head of Brazil’s Olympic Games authority last year. Rio de Janeiro is the host of the 2016 Summer Games.

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