CFO Heeds the Call of Private Equity

Thomas Weisel finance chief joins an exodus from the public arena.
Avital Louria HahnMarch 7, 2008

David Baylor, CFO of boutique investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners, has resigned in order to join a private-equity firm. The company’s former CFO, Shaugn Stanley, will fill in while a search for a replacement is conducted.

While Baylor’s resignation is effective immediately, he will stay through a transition period that will include the filing of the company’s fiscal-year 2007 financial statements and annual report.

Baylor did not return a phone call by press time, and it is unclear where he is headed. His private-equity plans were made public in a company press release on March 5 announcing the changes. Chairman and CEO Tom Weisel said Baylor had been instrumental in the company’s IPO well as its secondary offering. The company went public in May 2006 at $21.33 per share; on Thursday it traded at $8 per share.

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There is little to suggest that the reasons for Baylor’s departure are other than what the company is saying, according to Lauren Smith Keefe, an analyst with brokerage firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. “We don’t believe that this move should be perceived as anything more than David Baylor making a career shift to private equity,” Smith wrote in a research note. “The nature of his departure appears to be amicable as he agreed to stay on during the search for a permanent CFO and through the filing of the firm’s annual report.”

Michele Heid, co-managing partner of the finance practice at executive-recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles, told recently that the lure of private equity is an increasingly significant factor in the current high turnover rate of CFOs.

Stanley is a former CFO of Montgomery Securities, where he served from 1996 to 1998, and was CFO of Fidelity’s brokerage division for six years.