eFC Briefing: Outplacing Bear Stearns

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JPMorgan's chief takes a prominent role in a major campaign aimed at persuading other institutions to hire displaced Bear Stearns staffers. Pyramis, Fidelity's institutional division, is aggressively hiring investment managers. KKR is seeking infrastructure investing and operating managers to join its new team headed by Lazard's former global infrastructure chief.

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JPMorgan Chase is conducting an outplacement effort on an unprecedented scale, as its chief executive and an in-house team reportedly approach hundreds of companies about hiring some 5,000 soon-to-be-displaced Bear Stearns workers. The campaign could become a template for how both JPMorgan and the rest of Wall Street will manage the impact of future major mergers and layoffs, the Financial Times reports. "By asking more than 1,800 companies and scores of headhunters to provide them with the list of vacancies, JPMorgan executives hope to be able to find jobs for at least 2,500 of the 5,000 redundant Bear employees," the FT says. The paper says the bank is spending millions on the effort, which is called, "the Talent Network." Chief Executive Jamie Dimon reportedly is personally reaching out to as many as 100 clients, rivals and vendors to consider hiring departing Bear Stearns employees.

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Bear Stearns staffers won't be the only job casulaties of the JPMorgan acquisition. According to Reuters, about 2,000 current JPMorgan employees will be replaced by individuals who worked in similar capacities at Bear. In addition, market-driven cutbacks could claim an a further 1,000 to 2,000 JPMorgan jobs in coming weeks. Both the merger-related and market-related cuts are expected to be finalized by early June, Reuters said.

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Fidelity Investments said it continues to "aggressively" recruit investment professionals for Pyramis Global Advisors, its institutional asset management division. The three-year-old Boston-based Pyramis is building a new headquarters in Smithfield, R.I., and a new trading desk, as well as its systems, marketing and investment operations, are already located at a nearby facility, a Fidelity spokesman told eFinancialCareers News. The spokesman said Pyramis "has been able to recruit top people from both inside and outside of Fidelity."

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Buyout kingpin Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. is on the prowl for people to select and manage infrastructure investments. KKR hired Lazard's global infrastructure chief George Bilicic to lead the new business. In addition, KKR said it aims to identify "highly experienced investment and operating executives in support of the initiative." New positions are expected to be created in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

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Some of the biggest banks are melding their equity and debt origination teams. The moves have shifted responsibilities but don't seem to be altering headcounts thus far, according to press reports. In the latest such step, Citigroup named co-heads of capital markets origination for a number of geographic regions. According to Financial News, Citi in an internal memo named John Chirico and Richard Zogheb co-heads of Americas capital markets origination. Michael Lavelle and Atiq Rehman will co-lead capital markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ken Poon and Aamir Rahim were named Asia-Pacific capital markets co-heads. For Japan, Taro Hayashi became Citi's sole head of capital markets origination.

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As Wall Street firms downsize in a series of waves, the New York Times reported that managements are concealing key details from both the public and their own employees - including, in many cases, the very ones being let go. "People refer to these cuts as stealth layoffs," the Times says. Anxiety in the trenches is building, due to growing realization that further layoffs are in store, with little indication when or where the ax will fall next. For instance, within weeks after axing its bottom 5 percent of performers in what's described as a regular annual process, Goldman Sachs "quietly began letting more people go," the Times says.

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UBS realigned its risk control function, hired an investment bank chief risk officer from Morgan Stanley, moved its global fixed-income chief out of the role he occupied for less than a year and created a new post to oversee proprietary trading. The bank also combined market risk and credit risk into a single unit called group portfolio and concentration risk control.

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Natsource, an investment firm focused on renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions, named three senior managers from Bear Stearns Asset Management to head its efforts in risk management, marketing and compliance. John Geissinger became chief risk officer, according to Pensions & Investments. Evan Kerr joined Natsource as head of marketing and product development. The new chief compliance officer is Frederick Shaw. Natsource also hired former congressional aide Thomas Lawler as director of public policy and hired Kevin Brennan from ABN Amro as manager of commercial paper operations.

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