Lazard’s Fassbender to Retire After 30 Year Career

Lazard Ltd., the world’s largest independent merger adviser, said Germany Chairman Ernst Fassbender will retire at the end of this year, ending a 30-year career in investment banking.

Fassbender, 54, based in Frankfurt, is leaving to pursue personal interests, spokesman Richard Creswell confirmed by telephone today. He has been chairman for Germany, Austria, as well as central and eastern Europe since 2011.

Fassbender’s career spans three decades at firms including Lazard, which he joined in 2002, helping to expand the bank’s position in Germany as co-head and then sole head of investment banking. He previously worked at Merrill Lynch & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG. He managed landmark deals including Siemens AG’s planned spinoff of the Osram lighting unit this year and the 1998 merger that created steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG.

Fassbender was made chairman in 2011 and replaced as the head of investment banking in Germany by Eric Fellhauer and Alexander Doll. Doll was hired by Barclays Plc in August. Fellhauer, who joined in 2006 and has worked on deals including the purchase by BASF SE of Cognis Holding GmbH in 2010 and Audi AG’s acquisition of motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding SpA last year, will continue to run investment banking at Lazard.

There are no immediate plans to replace Fassbender, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Lazard spokesman Creswell declined to comment.

Lazard shares earlier this month climbed to the highest price in about 18 months after reporting profit that beat analysts’ estimates and the most annual merger-advisory revenue in four years.

Revenue from advising on mergers and acquisitions rose 13 percent to $792.9 million in 2012 as global deal volume in the last three months of 2012 reached the highest level since the third quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.