SAN FRANCISCO: The Blueshirt Group has launched a corporate governance advisory and activism defense practice, the firm said on Monday.
Newly hired MD Waheed Hassan is leading the group. Hassan was previously senior MD and co-head of the corporate governance and activism defense practice at Alliance Advisors.
Based in San Francisco, Hassan is reporting to Lisa Laukkanen, managing partner. He started in the role on September 4.
"This allows me to give clients a better sense of how and when an activist will come after them," Hassan said.
Hassan added that he’s been involved in more than 200 contest situations, including Xerox’s acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services and proxy contests at Target and Office Depot. Before joining Alliance Advisors, he worked at Indosuez W.I. Carr Securities, UBS Warburg, and Merrill Lynch affiliate Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari.
The group will allow Blueshirt to expand its shareholder activism and crisis services, enabling clients to deal with proxy advisers, said cofounder and managing partner Alex Wellins. Blueshirt launched the corporate governance and activism defense practice in response to client needs and to diversify its business, he added.
Institutional investors have increasingly outsourced research and voting decisions to proxy advisers, which include firms such as Institutional Shareholder Services, where Hassan managed the M&A and proxy contest research team.
Hassan noted that Blueshirt monitors investor chatter to assess if an activist is interested in a company, allowing clients to understand what case the investor will make and how to prepare.
"[We] can basically help the client identify the activist way ahead, before the bankers and crisis comms firms come in," he said.