ROBERT Leitão, Rothschild’s head of UK global financial advisory, has led the team advising Cairn during its tortuous deal with Vedanta.

He joined the company in 1998 after nine years at Morgan Grenfell & Co, where he was appointed a director in 1995.

Leitão has been involved in over 150 high profile M&A deals, such as investment fund Melrose’s £525m disposal of McKechnie Aerospace in 2007 and Thales’ £51m takeover of data security firm nCipher in 2008.

He was involved in Rolls-Royce Group’s €3.6bn public tender offer for Tognum, and Laird’s successful defence of Cooper Industries’ bid earlier in the year.

A chartered accountant, he qualified at Peat Marwick Mitchell (now KPMG) in 1987 and holds an engineering degree from Imperial College London.

Rothschild has a longstanding relationship with Cairn, having advised the company on its $1.9bn IPO of Cairn India in 2007 and the $1.6bn refinancing of its Rajasthan project in 2009.

The firm claims to have advised on more M&A deals than anyone else in the European oil and gas market during 2011.