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Former Houston Mayor Joins Lazard to Seek Energy Deals

Lazard Ltd., the largest independent merger adviser, hired former Houston mayor Bill White as chairman of its business in the city to help the firm win energy deals.

White, 58, was elected mayor of the fourth-biggest U.S. city in 2003. He ran for governor of Texas as a Democrat in 2010 and was defeated by Republican Rick Perry. Before his three terms as mayor, White worked for the U.S. Department of Energy as deputy secretary and chief operating officer, according to a statement from Lazard.

He started his career as a lawyer working for Susman Godfrey LLP in Houston and was the chief executive officer of Wedge Group Inc., an energy investment company, until beginning his six-year stint as mayor.

“The energy industry is a pretty pragmatic industry and some of the most important relationships are developed through having some insight from doing different things in business over 37 years,” White said in a telephone interview. “The North American energy business is going to have tremendous opportunity during this next decade with the ability to grow faster than the U.S. and world economies.”

This year Lazard has added David Cecil, a former Houston-based banker at Bank of Nova Scotia, and Mark Renton, a former vice chairman at Citigroup Inc. to its global energy advisory group.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based advisory firm ranked 17th among financial advisers on global energy deals last year, trailing Rothschild and Evercore Partners Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Lazard’s global energy practice will benefit from White’s “insight, experience and relationships,” Antonio Weiss, the firm’s global head of investment banking, said in the statement.

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