If you’re working for an investment bank and are unhappy with the pace at which you’re being promoted, be thankful you don’t work for Lazard in London. The UK-based business of the independent investment bank hasn’t made any promotions for three years. There is, however, a reason for this.
“We haven’t made any internal promotions in London to Managing Director since 2012,” says William Rucker, chief executive of Lazard UK. “That’s partly the result of the state of the market and partly the result of the existing strength at the top. We also have a good generation of second, third and fourth year directors who are coming through.”
Making MD before you’re ready can be a toxic career move, says Rucker: “There’s nothing worse than being promoted to managing director too soon – if you’re unprepared, it can be a very challenging position to be in. Once people become MDs, there’s an expectation that they will produce their own revenues and be additive to our clients and the firm as whole.”
Nonetheless, we understand that the lack of promotions is causing upset in the Lazard ranks. “Directors at Lazard are very unhappy,” says one London-based finance recruiter, speaking off the record. “No one’s getting promoted and a lot of MDs are just sitting in their jobs. A lot of the directors would move if they could.”
Matters might be made worse by the fact that Lazard has hired in managing directors externally. In September 2014, Richard Hoyle joined the bank’s financial advisory team as an MD from Greenhill. In 2011, Ranjit Munro joined from Rothschild.
Rucker says Lazard has 17 MDs in London and will create more as appropriate: “That number is not fixed. If we think we have room to promote people and that doing so will be non-dilutive and add to our pool of senior talent, we will do so.”
Making MD at Lazard is more significant than at some other banks, suggests Rucker. “We keep our managing director cadre pretty tight,” he says. “You could say that it means more to be an MD at Lazard than it does at other banks. If you’re an MD at Lazard there is a strong sense of partnership and of responsibility.”