June 21, 2021

DealBook: Miller Buckfire Is Naming Harvey Golub Its Chairman

Harvey Golub in 2007.Chip East/Bloomberg NewsHarvey Golub in 2007.

One of stalwarts of the restructuring world, the boutique investment bank Miller Buckfire, plans to name Harvey Golub its chairman on Tuesday, bringing in a financial services veteran to help oversee a revamping of its operations.

The appointment of Mr. Golub, the former chief executive of American Express and a former chairman of the American International Group, comes amid major changes for the nine-year-old firm. Earlier this year, Miller Buckfire struck a partnership with Stifel Financial in a bid to gain access to the bigger firm’s financing capabilities, which could help it win new business. (Stifel has also indicated that it is interested in eventually buying Miller Buckfire outright.)

But the alliance also coincided with the retirement of Miller Buckfire’s co-founder, Henry Miller, and the departure of several senior bankers.

By naming Mr. Golub, a member of the firm’s advisory board since 2004, Miller Buckfire is hoping to install a mentor to junior bankers and bring in an experienced hand to advise on client matters. It isn’t clear yet how much time that will involve, however.

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“I had developed a great affection for both Henry and Ken and a respect for the work they do,” Mr. Golub said in an interview, referring to the firm’s co-founder and chief executive, Kenneth Buckfire. “I thought it would be interesting to work with people I admire and like.”

His appointment also coincides with an expected rise in assignments for firms like Miller Buckfire, as well as rivals like Lazard, the Blackstone Group and Moelis Company. As the credit markets again begin to tighten for riskier borrowers, companies suffering from operational issues or a slowing economy will likely again need financial advice.

“I think this cycle will be characterized by an overall rise in stress, but will not result in a giant peak in defaults unless the markets close again,” Mr. Buckfire said in an interview.

Mr. Golub added that such corporate reorganizations may not involve a trip to bankruptcy court, but will still likely involve fixing a company’s capital structure.

Many executives involved in restructurings have questioned about the firm’s fate, especially after the departures of top bankers like Mr. Miller; Durc A. Savini, who went to the Peter J. Solomon Company; and Marc Puntus and Sam Greene, who joined Centerview Partners.

But Mr. Buckfire maintained that the firm had had little trouble hiring new partners.

“What you’ve seen in the cases of the people who’d left, they’d been with us their entire careers,” he said. “When you make a strategic shift, professionals can become uncomfortable.”

Beyond the appointment of Mr. Golub as chairman, Miller Buckfire is also naming William E. Mayer, a former chief executive of First Boston, to its advisory board.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=fc3e7dffb3219abd99e14f94393e11c8

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