|Name: Craig Coben|
Institution: Merrill Lynch
Date joined: June 2005
Title: Senior European equity originator
Previous job before hire: Senior European equity originator at Deutsche Bank
Years in capital markets: Eight
First job in capital markets: Securities lawyer, Sullivan & Cromwell
Favourite deal worked on: Kühne & Nagel — marketed bookbuild, Sfr635m, October 2004
Family: Married with three children
Lives in: Fulham, west London
Hero: Benjamin Franklin
If two's company and three's a crowd, a team of 12 managing directors made Deutsche Bank's European equity capital markets business one of the most crowded in the market, and it is little wonder something had to give.
And give it did in April with the high profile defection of Craig Coben, one of Deutsche's most senior European equity originators to Merrill Lynch.
Coben, who starts at Merrill this month (June), has worked on some of Deutsche's most high profile ECM deals this year, running the Eu800m rights issue of Italian broadband internet provider FastWeb and a Eu430m rights offering for Dutch office products distributor Buhrmann.
Coben had worked for Deutsche for eight years, the last six of which were spent in London, after joining the bank in 1997 from US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell where he was a securities lawyer. He was made a managing director in 2002, after working on some of the largest European deals of recent years, including the Eu2.4bn privatisation of defence company EADS in 2000.
At Merrill, Coben will work closely with co-heads of European ECM Flavio Valeri and Rupert Hume-Kendall, though his precise coverage responsibilities have yet to be decided.
However, the Merrill set-up will prove very different from Deutsche, as the bank is ruthless in keeping its staff numbers to a minimum, and is strict about not bidding overly aggressively for block trades, making it almost alone among European ECM businesses in having avoided an expensive block trade blow up over the last year.
Coben's first months at Merrill are likely to be spent meeting with clients, which may be a relief after three months of gardening leave. Though his time away from the market may have given him a chance to read bestselling crime author Harlan Coben's, latest book The Innocent. Harlan is Craig's older brother.
Merrill will certainly be hoping that Coben doesn't turn out to be like the title of one of his brother's earlier books — Deal Breaker.