Cazenove hunting for replacement CEO

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The Independent Online

The blue-blooded investment bank Cazenove has started the hunt for a new chief executive after Robert Pickering announced yesterday that he would be leaving the company after seven years in the job.

Cazenove's chairman David Mayhew, 67, will stand in as acting chief executive while the bank looks for a replacement. Mr Pickering, 48, will stay on until the firm's annual meeting in April to ensure an orderly handover. The announcement of Mr Pickering's departure came as the company posted a fall in profits and flat revenues for 2007.

Its pre-tax profits dipped by 11 per cent to £79.6m as the company accounted for bonus payments to staff made in 2006. The cost of its equity grants increased 43 per cent to £23m as revenue held steady at £231m.

Mr Pickering said he was leaving because he wanted a break from the business. "Twenty three years at the firm and seven years as chief executive felt like a good long stint," he added. "It is quite an intense businesss, investment banking." He intends to spend the summer fishing, reading and spending time with his wife, while considering his employment options.

Cazenove reported that it was busy in the first half of 2007 but, like most banks, was adversely affected by the credit crunch in the last six months of the year. This deterred companies from making acquisitions and embarking on initial public offerings. Mr Pickering said there was a "huge amount of pipeline" for deals that would get done once the money markets had settled. Cazenove's equities brokerage had also started the year strongly, he said.

Mr Pickering was chief executive when Cazenove formed its joint venture with its US rival JP Morgan nearly four years ago. The venture combined Cazenove's UK corporate broking relationships, which include about a third of the FTSE 100, with JP Morgan's international business and bigger range of services.