Lazard appoints Peter Orszaj to succeed Ken Jacobs as CEO

Lazard announced Friday that Peter Orsage, who leads the core financial advisory business, will succeed Ken Jacobs as the company’s CEO on Oct. 1. Mr. Jacobs will remain CEO and continue to advise clients.

Mr. Orszag, a former Obama administration official, will oversee a 175-year-old financial institution with a long history of advising on major corporate deals at a time when its core business is facing huge challenges.

“Throughout a career that includes banking and government, Peter has demonstrated that he is a strategic, visionary and decisive leader, with deep relationships across the industry and the ability to effectively lead Lazard through evolving global markets and complex geopolitical dynamics,” Richard Parsons, the company’s chief independent director, said in a statement. statement.

Lazard did not say when succession planning began, but Mr. Orszagh, 54, wrote in a note to staff on Friday that the move followed “a selection process that has been in the works for some time.”

An economist by training, Mr. Orszag appears regularly on CNBC and Bloomberg Television. He’s risen through the ranks on Washington and Wall Street – working for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as at Citigroup – giving him a useful background to run one of the world’s most prominent independent banks.

But he will have a hard time for the investment banks. As of Thursday, deal-making this year is down 40 percent from last year, according to Refinitiv. And rising interest rates, increasingly strict antitrust enforcement, and a slowing economy make a resurgence of big-ticket mergers and acquisitions unlikely anytime soon.

The tough environment has hit Lazard, which said last month it would lay off 10 percent of its workforce; Shares of the bank have fallen 11 percent since then. Competitors such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have also cut staff.

In a memo to colleagues on Friday morning, Mr. Orszak said the company’s ambition “should be the preeminent independent, world-class destination in all aspects of complex corporate finance, investment and strategic decision-making.”

A top priority for Mr. Orszag is expanding Lazard’s asset management business, which oversees more than $200 billion in assets and represents 40% of its business. Asset management has become popular among Wall Street banks as a stable source of revenue that can offset fluctuations in investment banking; Mr. Orszag told employees that growth could come from acquisitions.

Mr. Orszag also said that Lazard’s investment banking business will look for growth opportunities in the private capital markets and by operating in the Middle East.

Among his other priorities are “attracting and retaining the best talent through a modern workplace including our technology platform, diversity and the flexibility of working from home,” said Mr. Orszag.

The company will announce further management changes before October.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top