CHICAGO — Longtime Mesirow Financial Inc. municipal professional Lawrence Morris, its former public finance banking manager, retired from the firm last month.
Morris, a senior managing director and former member of the Chicago-based firm’s executive committee, spent 17 years at Mesirow working on deals for most major Illinois-based government issuers in either an underwriting or financial advisory capacity.
“We greatly appreciate the contributions that Larry Morris has made to our organization, and we wish him the best,” a Mesirow spokeswoman said.
Mesirow hired Morris in 1994 from the former First Chicago Capital Markets to head its public finance banking department around the same time it acquired Young Capital Group, which significantly expanded the firm’s fixed-income sales and trading operations.
Morris’ retirement follows management changes at the firm after the death earlier this year of Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc.’s longtime chief executive officer, James Tyree, who had hired Morris and overseen a massive company-wide expansion. The firm’s reins went to president and close Tyree friend Richard Price.
Price in June made several additions to the board that governs the financial services company, including Dominick Mondi, a senior managing director and head of municipal bond sales and trading. He established a new 10-member management committee and replaced the executive committee with a business managers’ forum.
Morris declined to comment on the reasons behind the timing of his retirement and said that after taking some time to relax, he would consider future business opportunities. During his tenure, Morris often turned to colleagues he had mentored at First National Bank of Chicago and First Chicago — which was later acquired by Bank One Corp. and then merged with JPMorgan Chase — to bolster Mesirow’s banking team. They included Barclays Capital banker Carole Brown and Mesirow’s current public finance manager, Steve Hoopes.
Morris recruited Hoopes, now a senior managing director, after Brown’s first left the firm in 1999. Brown returned in 2008 briefly and served as head of the public finance group until her departure in 2009, when Hoopes took over the title.
The 74-year-old, employee-owned firm’s public finance group employs 13 professionals and a sales team of 15. The firm has additional public finance offices in New York City, Boston, Houston, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and Troy, Mich.
The firm ranked 47th last year among senior managers of negotiated bonds nationally and 35th in 2009, according to Thomson Reuters.
In the past decade, the firm said it has been senior managing underwriter on more than $7.8 billion of municipal bonds and co-manager on more than $26.7 billion, and has advised on more than $28.8 billion of deals.