CHICAGO – Milwaukee-based Baird has tapped the branch manager at its headquarters – Brian Brewer – to take the helm of its public finance efforts following the retirement of the division’s longtime manager, Keith Kolb.

Brewer, who is a managing director, will be director of public finance, the firm announced this week. The position was vacated by Kolb who retired at the end of last year after 33 years with the employee-owned financial services firm.

“Brian Brewer is highly regarded for his client focus, deep expertise and vision for the future. We are thrilled to have him lead our public finance business,” Pat Lawton, the firm’s director of fixed income capital markets, said in a statement.

Brian Brewer
Brian Brewer is Baird's new director of public finance.

The public finance group has 75 professionals including about 25 banking and advisory specialists in 13 offices in Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Brewer is charged with leading initiatives to “enhance and grow” the public finance platform.

Brewer, 43, began his career at Baird in 1996 as an intern working his way through several departments before settling in as a quantitative analyst in public finance. He then moved into banking in 2000 where he’s worked on general government, school, county, and technical college issuance -- mostly in Wisconsin.

Brewer said he’s worked closely with Kolb over the last seven or so years on various initiatives and expansions – including the recent hiring of two education banking specialists in Texas -- as well as other firm leaders in fixed income so he expects a seamless transfer.

No big change in direction or management of the group is planned, Brewer said.

“I am looking to complement our existing areas of expertise and will look to add new talent and resources” strategically, Brewer said in an interview. “Our main focus is on finding the right people” that fit with the firm’s banking/advisory model.

He envisions building on existing teams, in areas where the firm may have just one banker, or establishing offices in markets where the firm’s other business lines are already in place.

The firm’s broker-dealer arm Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. ranked 13th nationally in 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data, credited with 808 deals valued at $9.5 billion. It ranked 26th as an advisor, credited with 168 deals valued at $2.3 billion. It ranked 6th last year among senior managers in the Midwest, leading 477 deals valued at $4 billion, and ranked 9th among financial advisors on 89 deals valued at $1.7 billion.

Kolb had led the public finance group since 1990, overseeing an expansion that raised its numbers to 75 from five associates, driving revenue growth of 22 times.

“We are also tremendously grateful for Keith Kolb’s dedicated years of service and leadership at Baird,” Lawton said. “He has been a loyal partner and built a tremendous platform for Brian to continue to grow. We wish him nothing but the best in retirement.”

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