New York investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners will open an office in Chicago in January, and has tapped Citigroup banker Brennan Smith to lead it.
Smith, 47, had worked for Citigroup more than 20 years, most recently as a managing director who co-headed Citigroup’s Midwest industrials group. Aside from Smith’s own connections in the city—his father-in-law is former McDonald’s Chairman Andy McKenna—one of the firm’s founding partners, Joe Perella, was Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s boss when they worked at financial advisory firm Wasserstein Perella nearly 20 years ago.
“Chicago is an important market and this decision will allow us to better serve our clients through an expanded coverage area in a critical geographic hub,” Perella said in a statement from the firm. “Brennan’s experience will allow us to expand our network and build a significant Chicago presence leveraging our core franchises.”
Those focus areas include energy, healthcare, financial institutions, industrial services, consumer and retail, and technology, media and telecom, said Kara Findlay, a spokeswoman for the firm.
Perella Weinberg is joining a clutch of investment banking boutiques that have been arriving in the city over the past decade to provide their merger-and-acquisition advisory services as Wall Street’s big banks cut professionals and lost their dominating grip on the industry. The large banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, collectively still have a bigger presence in the city, but boutiques like Moelis, Greenhill, and Lazard have made inroads.
In addition, long-time New York banker Paul Taubman’s PJT Partners set up shop in Chicago earlier this year with former Morgan Stanley banker Matt Parr, and the European firm Rothschild put down stakes in the city last year under the leadership of former Goldman Sachs banker Eric Hirschfield.
Perella Weinberg has been eyeing an outpost in Chicago for some time, according to others in the Chicago market. The firm, founded in 2006, has opened offices in ten other cities globally, including Houston, London and Dubai.