* Ralph Schlosstein replaces Roger Altman as CEO
* Altman to continue as chairman
* Seeks to diversify from its core advisory business (Adds analyst comments, updates share movement)
By Supantha Mukherjee
BANGALORE, May 22 (Reuters) - Evercore Partners Inc (EVR.N) named BlackRock Inc’s (BLK.N) co-founder Ralph Schlosstein as its chief executive, replacing Roger Altman, as the boutique bank seeks to diversify from its core advisory business.
Altman, who founded Evercore in 1996, will remain as chairman, the top U.S. merger advisory boutique said.
Evercore’s strategic priorities are expanding the company globally and building up a diversified asset management business spanning from alternative to traditional spectrum, Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst David Trone wrote in a research note.
“Schlosstein brings with him the experience of expanding an organization globally and growing an asset management business,” Trone added.
The two seasoned Wall Street executives, who earlier worked together in Lehman Brothers and BlackRock, have known each other for 30 years.
Schlosstein co-founded BlackRock, now the biggest publicly traded U.S. asset manager, in 1988.
Last September, Evercore partnered with Schlosstein to launch HighView Investment Group, but the group stopped operations in April. Evercore said on its quarterly earnings conference call that it had “some other thoughts in regard to ways of working with Ralph Schlosstein.”
Schlosstein will get an annual base salary of $500,000, an annual bonus with a target amount equal to $1.3 million for the remainder of 2009 and a sign-on bonus of $6.1 million, according to a regulatory filing.
In 2008, Altman’s total compensation was $2.7 million.
Schlosstein has also become a partner in Evercore and bought $15 million of its equity, the company said.
The company, which is advising Wyeth WYE.N on its $68 billion deal with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), posted a 19 percent jump in advisory revenue for the first quarter in April, but said investment management revenue slumped 75 percent for the period.
Amid one of the worst financial meltdowns, boutique firms that focus mainly on providing merger advice — such as Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N) and Evercore Partners — are seen as well positioned to remain independent and profitable.
Shares of Evercore were trading up 10 cents at $16.95 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Additional reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan and Anne Pallivathuckal)