CHICAGO: M&A specialty shop Financial Dynamics announced plans to open its first Chicago outpost last week, and it's luring three top executives away from Hill & Knowlton to do it.
Harlan Teller, president of H&K's global corporate practice; Harlan Loeb, US director of the litigation services asset group; and James Sloan, head of the CSR practice, as well as the Chicago corporate practice, will lead the new office.
Teller will take over as GM, and Loeb will head the office's litigation communications practice. Sloan will join as an SVP.
FD's decision to open a Chicago office - its fifth in the US - will increase competition for Midwest M&A work just as the pace of such deals is heating up.
FD is the second firm known for M&A and financial communications to establish a Chicago beachhead in the past two years. Citigate Sard Verbinnen opened an office there in 2003.
"We have an overall strategy to be in large centers of influence. The obvious next expansion for us was in the Midwest," said Declan Kelly, FD's president and CEO.
The Chicago office will do more than just M&A work, Kelly stressed. "We intend to build a replica of our business as it exists in other markets" to include investor relations and corporate affairs practices, he said.
H&K intends to replace the lost executives and will use resources from other offices while it searches for new people, said Steve Singerman, GM with H&K Chicago.
Neither Singerman nor Kelly would comment on whether the three staffers left H&K with any type of non-compete or client-tampering contracts in place.