Keith Harris steps back

David Hellier
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KEITH Harris is set to relinquish one of his leadership roles at Seymour Pierce in a shakeup of the broker, City A.M. learned yesterday.

Phillip Wale, its head of equities poached from rival Collins Stewart last year, is set to become chief executive, subject to regulatory approval, with Harris becoming chairman.

Harris said Wale’s appointment would free him up from the day-to-day running of the business and allow him to spend more time on revenue generation. “Having been chief executive of a business for years, I came here not to be chief executive but to be chairman,” he said.

He has been in talks in recent months to orchestrate a tripartite merger with Bermuda-based finance group Gerova and New York-based trader Ticonderoga Securities.

Seymour Pierce walked away from Gerova after a series of disclosures caused the suspension of its shares, but Harris was in New York last weekend working to progress a merger with Ticonderoga, which was founded by ex-Collins Stewart executives – a link he said was “not coincidental.”

Harris said such a deal would give him “more options” but would not affect his work at Seymour Pierce.