Evercore Names John Weinberg Sole CEO

Evercore Inc. EVR -0.64% is naming John Weinberg as its sole chief executive, five years after recruiting the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker—and scion of a Wall Street dynasty—to the investment bank.

Ralph Schlosstein, who has held the job since 2009 and shared it for the past year with Mr. Weinberg, will step down in February. The handoff is the last step in a yearslong leadership transition in which the firm’s founder, Roger Altman, a fixture on Wall Street and Washington for four decades, gradually stepped back.

Mr. Schlosstein said in a joint interview that he identified Mr. Weinberg as his ideal successor more than six years ago while wooing the banker from Goldman. Mr. Schlosstein offered him the co-CEO job when he joined in 2016, but Mr. Weinberg demurred. “He said, ‘Let’s see how it works,’” Mr. Schlosstein said. Now, he said, “John is more than ready.”

Mr. Altman brought in Mr. Schlosstein, now 70 years old, in 2009 as CEO and last year promoted Mr. Weinberg to share the role with the understanding that the job would eventually be his alone.

Mr. Altman, who started Evercore in 1995 after leaving the Treasury Department, remains Evercore’s senior chairman. “Nobody looks at my business card,” Mr. Altman said in the interview.

John Weinberg will become CEO of Evercore.

Photo: Evercore

Now 75 years old, Mr. Altman continues to advise clients and worked on deals including Qualcomm Inc.’s $4.5 billion deal for auto-technology company Veoneer Inc. earlier this month. Mr. Schlosstein said that Mr. Altman stepped out of Evercore’s board meeting Tuesday, as the transition was being formally approved, to take a client call.

Mr. Weinberg, 64, is Wall Street royalty. His grandfather and father ran Goldman Sachs for the better part of six decades. His cousin, Peter Weinberg, is a former senior executive at Goldman and now runs investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners.

John Weinberg spent 32 years at Goldman as an adviser to big companies, including Ford Motor Co. , on whose board he sits. To woo Mr. Weinberg, Evercore gave him $94 million in cash and stock that will pay out in chunks through 2022.

Evercore has successfully answered the Wall Street question: How will the rainmakers of Mr. Altman’s generation, who struck out in large numbers from big investment banks in the 1990s and 2000s, hand off their businesses?

Boutiques—named because they offer only advice, rather than the full menu of lending and underwriting services—rely on the star power and Rolodexes of their founders, at least in the formative years. Some boutiques don’t last. Morgan Stanley banker Eric Gleacher’s eponymous firm folded in 2014. Greenhill & Co., started in 1996 by merger banker Robert Greenhill, slipped so far down the rankings of Wall Street advisers that it required a financial lifeline in 2017 from Mr. Greenhill, then in his 80s.

A younger crop of boutiques have yet to face that test, among them Paul Taubman’s PJT Partners Inc. and Centerview Partners, which is still run by co-founders Blair Effron and Robert Pruzan.

“This industry isn’t exactly a paragon of excellence for smooth management transitions,” Mr.  Altman said. Evercore has now done it twice.

Under Mr. Schlosstein, a co-founder of investment giant BlackRock Inc., Evercore has grown from about $300 million in revenue to $2.2 billion last year. With more than 1,800 employees, the boutique label no longer comfortably fits. Evercore earns about as much in corporate advisory fees as Morgan Stanley.

It also ranked fifth on Dealogic’s U.S. M&A league table last year, ahead of several big banks and every other independent advisory firm—a label Mr. Altman prefers. Evercore advised on banner deals including Whole Foods Market Inc.’s $14 billion sale to Amazon.com Inc., United Technologies Corp.’s megamerger with Raytheon Co. and Nuance Communications Inc.’s sale to Microsoft Corp. earlier this year.

Under Ralph Schlosstein, a co-founder of investment giant BlackRock, Evercore has grown from about $300 million in revenue to $2.2 billion last year.

Photo: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg News

Write to Liz Hoffman at liz.hoffman@wsj.com and Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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