Lazard puts an end to the concentration of powers in Paris

Lazard puts an end to the concentration of powers in Paris

After the departure of Matthieu Pigasse, the prestigious investment bank chose to appoint Jean-Louis Girodolle at the head of its Paris office and to add two non-executive co-presidents.

Jean-Louis Girodolle at the headquarters of the Lazard bank on October 27, 2019.

It took seven days of intense negotiations for the management of Lazard in New York to finally decide. It is therefore Jean-Louis Girodolle who was appointed to become CEO of Lazard in France after the abrupt departure of Matthieu Pigasse, the free electron of finance, who was boss of Lazard in France at the same time as deputy global director general. financial advice.

After seventeen years of meteoric rise and an almost undivided direction since 2009 from the owner of Inrockuptibles at the head of the investment bank in Paris, Kenneth Jacobs and Peter Orszag have imposed a less personal direction.

Jean-Louis Girodolle, close to Matthieu Pigasse and almost in charge of the daily running of the establishment for several months, will indeed take the reins under the non-executive co-chairmanship of François Khayat, a historic boulevard Haussmann (advising, among others, of the giant restructuring of CGG and Greece) and Charles-Henri Filippi, institutional figure of HSBC and the American Citi in France. Several partners, including quadra Guillaume Molinier (advising several mega deals for Accor, Airbus, Sanofi) are also joining the executive committee.

Awkward moment

A subtle balance, as Michel David-Weill forged the excellence of the prestigious institution on the confrontation of the best. A story of 170 years which has sometimes been written through sometimes brutal struggles. First between Michel David-Weill and his heir Bruce Wasserstein. In Paris too, Matthieu Pigasse managed to seize power by removing Erik Maris nine years ago, his exact opposite, anti “star system”. For two years, Matthieu Pigasse had also taken the presidency of Lazard.

This is undoubtedly why New York wants to avoid any concentration of roles, by separating the general management and the presidency. Lazard’s historical culture, being built on a Darwinian principle, some internally, nevertheless still wait for governance to be put to the test. A delicate moment when partners were approached by American investment banks, on the lookout and eager to invest in the French market. And some have already given in to the sirens.

A Florentine at the helm

Fine connoisseur of public mysteries, skillful negotiator and diplomat, and adviser on the most difficult cases – including the battle over CNP and the creation of a large financial center under the fold of Caisse des Dépôts, the sale of Zodiac to Safran , from Alstom to General Electric, the entry of Dongfeng into PSA, the sale of Morpho and many Thalès operations – Jean-Louis Girodolle has been working on Boulevard Haussmann for sixteen years and is fully aware of the intricacies of the institution.

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PORTRAIT – Kenneth Jacobs, patron of merit

A former student of the ENA, inspector of finances, he was successively assistant to the head of the office of public banks at the Treasury Department from 1998 to 2000, then technical advisor to the cabinet of Laurent Fabius at the Ministry of the Economy, from 2000 in 2002, then head of the financial markets office at Bercy and finally deputy director at the State participation agency in charge of the transport and infrastructure sector, before joining Lazard. For some observers, there is no doubt that he will know how to lead Lazard in Florentine, through ego battles.

This collegial management also has a more structural ambition, it is said internally: that of opening up the culture of investment banking by crossing horizons, bringing even more internal collaboration and global coordination. And ultimately, increase its market share.

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