Weinberg Says Talent Hunt Is Top Priority in New Evercore Role

  • Market for mergers has positive backdrop, Weinberg says
  • Goldman Sachs veteran joined Evercore last year as a chairman

John S. Weinberg, who joined Evercore Partners Inc. as executive chairman in November after spending more than three decades at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said his priority in the new role is to add dealmakers.

“Managing, retaining and recruiting talent is foremost,” Weinberg said Wednesday on a call with analysts, discussing quarterly financial results. “We have a number of active discussions in the process currently,” he said, adding that while it’s too early to say how may senior-level hires the New York-based bank will make, “ We are optimistic that this could be a strong year.”

Evercore Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein and founder Roger Altman have long said their goal is to create the most elite independent investment banking firm in the world. They have been seeking growth by adding talent and through acquisitions, recently expanding in regions including London, Japan and Australia. The firm posted record 2016 profit Wednesday after accelerating hiring a year earlier.

Evercore jumped $2.40 to $79.85 at 9:42 a.m. in New York, extending its gain for the past 12 months to 78 percent. The bank advises on mergers and acquisitions, and has benefited as January marked the strongest start of a year for industrywide dealmaking since 2000.

‘Positive Backdrop’

“CEOs have confidence,” Weinberg said. “Financing and access to capital remain high, and I think people perceive that it will remain high. And so those things together really do provide a very positive backdrop” for deals.

Weinberg is now one of the top 15 shareholders of Evercore, data compiled by Bloomberg show. He was given a five-year compensation package in November that was valued at about $94 million in cash and stock.

Weinberg was one of three vice chairmen and among the largest individual shareholders of Goldman Sachs when he departed in late 2015, and his family had run the New York-based firm for much of its existence. He maintained relationships with companies including Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co. and Boeing Co.

Schlosstein said Weinberg will address analysts on conference calls while Altman will scale back from that duty in order to focus on working with clients. Weinberg said another one of his goals will be building client relationships.

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