Benoit Savoret is an investment banking rainmaker in the old school mould. As COO at Lehman Brothers in 2008, he famously negotiated a $16.2m guaranteed bonus three days before the bank’s collapse by threatening to move to a rival firm and then being bought back. The year before that, he’d earned $18m.
His 11 years at Lehman appear to have been something of a career arc. He was hired by Macquarie as their EMEA CEO after a two-year hiatus in 2010, but left after just a month, eventually turning up at Nomura co-heading its equities business – an area he’d led at Lehman previously – in mid-2011. By December 2012, he had been shunted into the innocuous role of ‘senior advisor’ to Steve Ashley and Naoki Matsuba’s markets business at the Japanese bank.
This appears to have been a method to manage Savoret out of the business (and no doubt significantly cut Nomura’s compensation bill) – six months later in June 2013, to little fanfare, he left the bank. This is something that to the best of our knowledge has yet to be reported elsewhere. According to the FCA register, he hasn’t taken a role at another firm.
So, what’s he doing with his time now? Savoret maintains his role as a consultant to at Ecole Centrale Paris (where he studied in the 1980s) and board member for tech firm Eptica. More interestingly, though, he’s also been utilising his business acumen to pursue one of his passions – lyrical art.
Savoret is a financial and economic consultant to an organisation called Arts Global. This, according to its founder, aims to “support, foster and develop emerging artists of exceptional talent, offering them performance opportunities, career connections, professional guidance, artistic mentoring and international exposure”. Current projects include “emerging jazz, music theater and world music artists, primarily in New York City”. From emerging markets to emerging jazz etc etc.
Savoret studied civil engineering at Ecole Centrale Paris after, according to his bio, “having excelled at math and physics in his youth”. He also spent a short stint in the French navy before starting a traineeship at Rothschild in Paris. His first full-time job was at SocGen, however, where he stayed for seven years, working in its derivatives business in Paris, Philadelphia, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
He started at Lehman Brothers in 1997, and by 1999 was heading the bank’s option trading business. In 2000, he moved to Tokyo to head up Lehman’s Asia equities business and was eventually leading its European equities division by 2006. Savoret became COO at Lehman in May 2007.