Baird Names Booth CEO

Purcell Continues as Chairman

MILWAUKEE, January 4, 2016 Baird announced today that Steve Booth has been named CEO effective January 1, 2016. Booth adds the CEO title in addition to his role as President, which he was named in 2014 as part of a multiple-year transition plan. He succeeds Paul Purcell, who will continue as Chairman of the employee-owned international financial services firm. Booth is only the eighth person to lead the firm since its founding in 1919, a testament to the strong leadership, consistent values and long-term partnerships that have differentiated Baird for more than 95 years.

Purcell and Booth both joined Baird in 1994.  Booth previously led Baird’s Investment Banking team and served as co-head of the firm’s Equity Capital Markets business since 2006.  Purcell was named President of Baird in 1998, added the title of CEO in 2000 and also became Chairman in 2006. Under Purcell’s leadership, Baird once again became an employee-owned, independent firm following the firm’s buyback from Northwestern Mutual in 2004. The firm also embarked on a global expansion by adding talent and capabilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia

“I’ve had the pleasure of being a mentor, friend and business partner with Steve for more than 25 years,” said Purcell.   “For the last several years, we’ve worked side-by-side to pursue Baird’s most important opportunities and to transition responsibilities.  Baird is tremendously well positioned for the future with a fantastic team of leaders and associates. We are in great hands with Steve at the helm.”

Purcell will be an active Chairman, working closely with Booth and other Baird leaders to pursue the firm’s top growth opportunities and to recruit new talent.  He will also continue his deep involvement in Baird’s private equity business as well as his long-tradition of serving the community. Among other things, he will continue to chair the Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business Advisory Council, serve as Co-Chair of Teach For America in Milwaukee, and sit on the boards of Alverno College, the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, The Cristo Rey Network and Junior Achievement in Chicago. He will also co-chair UPAF’s 2016 Campaign.

“Under Paul’s leadership, we’ve focused on best serving our clients in an ever-changing, very competitive landscape,” said Booth.  “A key part of Paul’s legacy is regaining our independence and again becoming an employee owned firm.  Being privately held and associate-owned is our single most important competitive advantage because it enables us to make long-term decisions and investments to serve our clients and to create a great workplace.” 

Baird’s strategy emphasizes sustainable, profitable growth and often includes investing in additional resources while other firms are cutting back or even exiting particular businesses.  Over the past 20-plus years, each of Baird’s businesses has dramatically expanded its capabilities and geographic reach to provide deeper expertise and service to clients.  Following are several examples:

  • 1999 acquisition of London-based Granville, formally establishing Baird’s presence in Europe and expanding its global banking, institutional equity sales and private equity capabilities.
  • 2000 addition of Baird Advisors, a highly regarded team of fixed income money managers.
  • 2000 and continued expansion of Baird’s fixed income sales and trading and public finance businesses.
  • Ongoing growth and transformation of Baird’s Private Wealth Management business to emphasize holistic wealth management across generations.
  • 2003 addition of a team in Shanghai to support U.S. and U.K. private equity portfolios, followed by the addition of a growth-equity investment team in 2008.
  • Ongoing growth of Global Investment Banking and Institutional Equities & Research capabilities.
  • 2014 acquisition of Seattle-based investment firm McAdams Wright Ragen, the single largest investment in Baird’s history.
  • 2015 definitive agreement to acquire Chautauqua Capital Management, enabling Baird’s equity asset management business to go global for the first time.

Baird’s employee-owned model and client-focused culture have enabled the firm to excel even in challenging environments. For example, although employment in the U.S. securities industry is still nearly 3% lower than its peak in mid-2008, Baird’s employment has climbed 43% during the same period. Additionally, Baird:

  • Has posted an operating profit for 144 consecutive quarters (36 years)
  • Has more than $150 billion in client assets
  • Has been recognized as one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® 12 consecutive years, ranking No. 5 in 2015.
  • Is anticipating a sixth consecutive year of record revenues in 2015.  In 2014, Baird had  revenues of $1.2 billion, up 12 percent over 2013.

“Baird has been able to achieve sustained success because of our steadfast focus on clients, our employee-owned model, unique culture, tremendous associates and our tradition of strong leadership,” Booth said.  “I’m both humbled and honored to follow in the footsteps of Baird’s iconic leaders, in particular Paul Purcell and Fred Kasten, whom I consider my most important role models.”

Steve Booth Biography
Steve Booth joined Baird in 1994 and first led the firm’s Investment Banking Industrials Group, then Baird’s Global M&A business before also becoming Director of Investment Banking and co-managing Equity Capital Markets. He was instrumental in helping define and drive strategies that have resulted in Baird’s Investment Banking business becoming a leader in middle market M&A and equity underwriting with more than 250 investment banking professionals around the world.  He was named Chief Operating Officer in 2013 and Baird President in 2014.

Prior to joining Baird, Booth was at Kidder, Peabody & Co. in its Chicago Corporate Finance Office.  He received his Master of Management degree, with distinction, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and holds a BBA in Finance and a BA in Economics, magna cum laude, from Southern Methodist University.

About Baird
Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has more than 3,200 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has $150 billion in client assets. Committed to being a great place to work, Baird ranked No. 5 on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015 – its 12th consecutive year on the list. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at www.rwbaird.com.

For additional information contact:
Marianne Foster
414-298-1906

John Rumpf
414-298-6104