NEW YORK: Edelman has named Andrew Merrill, a former managing director at Abernathy MacGregor Group, as global MD of its financial practice. He fills the role vacated in November by Hollis Rafkin-Sax, who is now vice chairman at Financial Dynamics.
Merrill will report to Matthew Harrington, president of the Eastern region, and will lead the global finance practice.
"I think Andrew's hire is further affirmation toward the type of practice that we want," said Harrington. "From classic IR to transactions and senior counsel, it's building a practice that's strategic, and [Merrill's] strength is in that capacity."
Prior to joining Abernathy, Merrill was a VP at Sard Verbinnen & Co., as well as a director in the corporate-finance division of investment bank UBS and VP and director of IR for Bank of New York.
"The most obvious change [from my previous position] is that I'll be running the practice, where before I was one of several MDs," Merrill said. "One of the immediate goals is to raise awareness of the practice with key referral sources, and the other is to get my hands around the international capabilities of the practice."
For Edelman, Merrill's experience could help create a foothold in the lucrative but clubby financial-transaction space traditionally dominated by firms like Abernathy, Kekst & Co., Sard, and Joele Frank. "Andrew's background is also bolstered by his position leading IR for a Fortune 500 company," Harrington said.
Merrill was hesitant to emphasize his transaction experience. "The impression [of some] is that transaction is the primary function, but the others [such as IR and strategic counsel] are more important," he said.