Lazard Promotes Peter Orszag to Lead Advisory as Alex Stern Named President

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(Bloomberg) -- Lazard Ltd. promoted Peter Orszag to chief executive officer of its financial-advisory business, succeeding Alex Stern, who was named president of the firm.

Stern, who’s also the current chief operating officer, shifts to a new role to support a companywide expansion, CEO Ken Jacobs said in an interview. Stern’s responsibilities include working to enhance technology efforts and helping Lazard Vice Chairman Ashish Bhutani boost the $234 billion asset-management unit -- a push that could include acquisitions.

Orszag was named to his second new role in eight months. In July, he was named head of mergers and acquisitions in North America. Orszag was a top dealmaker at Citigroup Inc. and a cabinet member in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration before joining Lazard in 2016.

“The landscape in asset management and financial advisory is rapidly changing,” Jacobs said. “Technology and people are going to be important competitive weapons in both of our businesses.”

Lazard also named Alexandra Soto, chief operating officer of financial advisory, to be the first female executive officer, as head of human capital and workplace innovation. Like Orszag, Soto is taking on her second new role since July.

Lazard generates about half its revenue from financial advisory, which includes M&A, and the remainder from asset management. While the firm has consistently been one of the top 10 advisers on deals globally, Jacobs is seeking to boost both of his major businesses, as the stock price has lagged peers such as Evercore Inc. in recent years.

Jacobs and Bhutani, CEO of the asset manager, are looking to capitalize on disruption amid a surge in passive investing. The firm has stuck to active management, adding funds in alternatives, fixed income and international equities in 2018 while launching a quantitative strategy this year. Lazard is betting on technology to give it an edge.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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