By Finbarr Flynn, Bloomberg
Tokyo: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth-largest US securities firm, said it appointed Kunho Cho as the firm’s first Asia-based vice chairman.
Cho, who has been with Lehman Brothers since 1989, previously led the company’s investment-banking division in the Asia-Pacific region and has been involved in major financing transactions in South Korea, China and Japan.
“Kunho will focus on finding the appropriate partners for Lehman Brothers as he leads the firm’s regional efforts in strategic acquisitions,” Jasjit Bhattal, Asia chief executive officer at Lehman Brothers, said in a statement on 18 April. The appointment is recognition of “the growing importance of Asian business in the firm,” according to Bhattal.
Glenn H. Shiffman, currently the co-head of Lehman Brothers’ global media investment banking, will move to Hong Kong from New York to take charge of the firm’s investment-banking division in Asia outside Japan, the statement said. Akio Katsuragi will remain the head of investment banking in Japan.
Lehman is targeting Asia, the fastest growing market for investment banking, to boost income growth that trailed Wall Street rivals such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Lehman, the seventh-ranked arranger of bond sales globally last year, was placed 45th in Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Asia accounted for more than a third of the $555 billion global share sales in 2006, up from 20 % five years ago. The US contribution slipped to 26 % from 40 % in the same period.
Lehman Brothers has been expanding its Mumbai office to support worldwide operations and gain a bigger slice of India’s merger advisory, stock underwriting and brokerage market. In July 2006, Tarun Jotwani transferred to Mumbai to become chairman and chief executive officer of the firm’s India business from London.
Cho was involved in the purchase of non-performing loans worth more than $8 billion in partnership with Woori Finance Holdings Co. He also helped Lehman advise on the world’s largest IPO, last year’s $22 billion initial public offering by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.
Cho holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University, according to information provided by Lehman in an e-mail to Bloomberg News.