Greenhill Hires Goldman Sachs’s Mello for New Brazil Unit

Greenhill & Co. hired Rodrigo Mello, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment-banking executive, as a managing director to help build its new business in Brazil.

Mello, 39, will work in the Sao Paulo office for the New York-based merger-and-acquisition advisory firm, according to Daniel Wainstein, a former partner and chairman of Goldman Sachs’s Brazil investment-banking business who joined Greenhill in October. Mello left Goldman Sachs’s investment-banking division in November after two stints totaling 14 years.

“Rodrigo Mello is one of the most experienced M&A executives in Brazil and a banker trusted by our clients,” Wainstein said in an interview. “We are very happy he decided to join us.”

Greenhill, founded by former Morgan Stanley President Robert F. Greenhill, hired Wainstein, 43, to be the country head for its first South American branch. The firm is growing in Brazil as some international banks pull back. Goldman Sachs halted an expansion there last year, and London-based Barclays Plc has been reducing staff in Brazil as competition with local lenders intensifies.

“If a region is going through some cyclical economic challenges, it can be an even more opportune time for us to recruit,” Greenhill Chief Executive Officer Scott Bok said in a statement in October. “Brazil will certainly have its ups and downs, just like the U.S. market does, but Brazil is clearly a large market that will see significant economic growth over the long term.”

Hiring Plans

Wainstein is building a team to advise Brazilian companies on global transactions. The short-term plan is to hire a senior vice president, a vice president and three bankers at the associate analyst level, he said in the interview. The office already employs five executives, including Wainstein.

“Our goal is to build one of the most important M&A advisory platforms in Brazil using Greenhill’s international relationship network,” Wainstein said.

Announced mergers and acquisitions involving companies in Brazil increased more than 18 percent to $78.8 billion last year from 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Before Goldman Sachs, Mello was a private-equity executive at Banco Santander SA. He also worked from 2005 to 2007 as chief financial officer at Monte Cristalina SA, a holding company owned by Joao Alves de Queiroz Filho, founder and the biggest shareholder of Hypermarcas SA, the Sao Paulo-based consumer-goods maker.

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