Canaccord hires former Lazard man to head Europe

David Hellier
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ALEXIS de Rosnay, the investment banker named yesterday as the new European head of Canaccord Genuity, has charged himself with raising the firm’s morale as it struggles to come to terms in difficult markets with the £253m merger of Collins Stewart Hawkpoint at the end of last year.

De Rosnay, who has had a career based on working at some of the larger investment banks, including JP Morgan, Lehman and latterly at Lazard, said he hoped to cultivate a winning culture at Canaccord.

“We need to have a winning culture and an intensity and we need to put the client first,” he said. “Sometimes when an integration happens you can become a bit inward focused.”

De Rosnay was speaking hours after being appointed to head the firm’s European operations from London in place of Mark Brown, the former Collins Stewart chief executive, who will remain with the group as a consultant.

Canaccord’s global chief executive office Paul Reynolds said he had first met de Rosnay around two years ago at a dinner and the two had begun chatting about how Canaccord wished to expand its UK business.

His eventual path to Canaccord, however, might be described as a little unorthodox. He moved to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in May after becoming “unhappy” at Lazard but then got caught up in a contract dispute with his former employers. “There was an issue about when I could join,” he said.

De Rosnay says he hopes to grow the firm’s three main business units – wealth management, corporate finance and securities – with a growing emphasis on synergies between the divisions. “The business is crying out for a very strong cross-selling effort,” he said.

It looks as if the blood-letting that happened immediately after the merger, when around 100 of the combined London staff of 750 were laid off, is enough for the moment.

“Our view is that we are around the bottom of the market. We’re not out of the storm completely. There’s probably a couple of difficult years to go,” de Rosnay said.

Reynolds said de Rosnay is a “team player” and he wants to instill a team-building attitude similar to the one he was part of at Lehman ahead of its collapse. His father is a French science expert and his sister, Tatiana, is a best-selling novelist.