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Barclays' ex-Credit Suisse banker is leaving Lehman behind

Cathal Deasy is a popular man right now. The 48 year-old who was (very) briefly head of investment banking and capital markets at Credit Suisse, became head of global banking and king/queen maker at Barclays in New York in January. He's already flexing his position.

Given that  Deasy's predecessors went on an ill-timed banker hiring spree in 2021 and 2022 after avowing their belief that M&A activity was "going to remain very high and very intense … all around the world,” shortly before it fell off a cliff, it's not clear that Deasy has budget to spend on new headcount. 

He does, however, have an ability to shuffle the existing pack and early indicators are that his shuffling is changing a few things at Barclays. The ex-Lehman Brothers bankers who dominated for the past 14 years are being replaced. 

Deasy has never worked for Lehman. Until this year, he was also not based in New York. Most of his career has been spent working in Europe for Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. Taylor Wright, his counterpart, who is co-head of capital markets at Barclays, hasn't worked for Lehman either - pre-Barclays he spent the previous 23 years at Morgan Stanley.

This marks a break from the norm. Barclays was the only European bank in the top 10 for US investment banking revenues in the first quarter, according to Dealogic, and it owes much of this to the ex-Lehman bankers it acquired in 2008. Deasy's predecessors, JF Astier and John Miller both came from Lehman.  So did Laurence Braham, it's former head of technology investment banking. So did Chris Sullivan, a former global head of financial sponsors. 

FINRA says Astier, Miller, Braham are still at Barclays, although it's not clear what they're up to there. Astier and Miller were displaced by Deasy and Wright in January, and Braham's job appears to have been passed on to Kristin Roth DeClark in a shakeup yesterday. Like Deasy, Roth DeClark previously worked for Deutsche Bank and for Credit Suisse, not for Lehman. 

Chris Sullivan, meanwhile, left Barclays in 2021. His role as head of financial sponsors initially passed to career Barclays banker Travis Barnes, but was yesterday transferred to Marco Valla. Valla did work for Lehman, but only for two years; he previously spent eight years at Credit Suisse. By comparison, Sullivan was at Lehman for 10 years, and in promoting Valla Deasy passed over people like Evan Rothenberg, the co-head of US financial sponsors at Barclays, who has 11 years at Lehman under his belt.

Given that Barclays acquired Lehman Brothers 15 years ago this September, it's perhaps inevitable that middle-aged ex-Lehman bankers should slip into voluntary or involuntary retirement. But it represents a change to the status quo at Barclays in America. The British bank is now increasingly run by people who cut their teeth at European banks - not at an aggressive US upstart. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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