(Adds Miller confirmation, attorney's quote, byline)
By Caroline Humer and Ilaina Jonas
NEW YORK, June 15 The chairman of Miller
Buckfire, the restructuring advisory bank that sold a minority
stake to Stifel Financial Corp (SF.N) last week for $40
million, is stepping down, the company confirmed on Wednesday.
Henry Miller, who helped found the company with Ken
Buckfire, had stepped down from the chief executive role at the
company at the end of 2009. Buckfire is chief executive.
"Having helped us agree to a strategic alliance with Stifel
Financial that enhances our capital base and enables us to
attract and retain the best restructuring bankers, Henry Miller
has decided to step down from his role as chairman of Miller
Buckfire and serve as an advisor to the firm, effective July 1,
2011," a Miller Buckfire spokesman said via e-mail.
Miller was not available for comment.
The move comes amid other departures at the company and at
a time when the restructuring business has slowed, according to
a source familiar with the situation.
Managing Director Ronen Bojmel, who was General Growth
Properties Inc's (GGP.N) restructuring advisor, also plans to
leave, the source said. General Growth, the second-largest U.S.
mall owners, filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2009.
The judge who oversaw the case, Allan Gropper, attributed
General Growth's successful restructuring and exit from
bankruptcy protection to the cooperation between the debtors
and creditors. That cooperation began with the mortgage
lenders, represented by the special servicers, and gained
momentum from there.
"He was instrumental in initiating conversation with the
special servicers and structuring the deal between them and
GGP," said Greg Cross, partner with Venable LLP, the law firm
that represented the special servicers. "He's a guy whose word
you can trust and who's creative. He excels at very complicated
structures and ideas."
Bojmel plans to take his family on a world tour during the
summer, the source said. He did not immediately return an email
Bojmel was instrumental in many of the company's biggest
bankruptcies and restructurings including Charter
Communications, Neff Corp and Delta Air Lines.
Sam Greene, previously a managing director, is moving to
boutique investment bank Centerview Partners to start a
restructuring business, the source said. Centerview was
co-founded by Robert Pruzan, formerly president of Wasserstein
Perella & Co, where Greene and Bojmel worked.
A spokeswoman for Centerview declined to comment.
Buckfire said in an interview that Miller's departure was
related to a succession strategy.
"We will be using the $40 million in capital to
aggressively recruit very senior people to strengthen the
franchise. It will also allow us to execute our strategy of
using the capital markets to drive restructurings," Buckfire
The spokesman declined to comment on other personnel
The changes at Miller Buckfire were first reported by
Representatives for Stifel were not available for comment.
(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas, Joseph Giannone and Caroline
Humer; Editing by Gary Hill, Bernard Orr)