Frank leads exodus of Abernathy execs

NEW YORK: Financial PR hot-shot Joele Frank has left Abernathy MacGregor Frank, taking most of the firm’s M&A team with her.

NEW YORK: Financial PR hot-shot Joele Frank has left Abernathy MacGregor Frank, taking most of the firm’s M&A team with her.

NEW YORK: Financial PR hot-shot Joele Frank has left Abernathy

MacGregor Frank, taking most of the firm’s M&A team with her.



Abernathy MacGregor, which has handled some of the world’s biggest

financial announcements (including the Viacom/CBS merger and the recent

UPS IPO), now finds itself hustling to replace the 10 to 14 employees

poached by Frank. The agency, established in 1984, employs around 70

people.



Frank, previously vice chairman and head of M&A, has moved quickly to

establish a financial PR partnership with colleagues Judy Wilkinson,

Andrew Brimmer and Dan Katcher, all former managing directors at

Abernathy MacGregor Frank. The new agency, Frank, Wilkinson, Brimmer,

Katcher, opened for business last week.



Frank’s departure was spurred by the end of a three-year contract, which

she was unable to renegotiate to her satisfaction. She had spent much of

1999 attempting to gain a greater ownership stake in Abernathy MacGregor

Frank, which has attracted much attention from potential buyers.



’If I am going to build something, I want a piece of it,’ she said.



’Essentially, I had no equity - 3% of the company. I’m looking forward

to starting an organization that will live for a long time.’



Abernathy MacGregor founding partner James Abernathy said he was aware

that Frank had wanted to run her own outfit. ’She was very productive,’

he said, but added, ’We did major deals before she came and will

continue to do major deals without her.’



Frank and her partners have already enlisted a dozen clients, including

Dayton Hudson (which owns the Target chain), Kansas City Power and Light

and Cummins Engine. A number of her former Abernathy MacGregor clients

have also reportedly expressed interest.



Should Abernathy Mac-Gregor begin serious sale talks, the loss of

several senior members of the M&A practice could affect the agency’s

valuation.



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