Baird names Steve Booth CEO

The appointment comes as the firm’s private equity arm prepares to come back to market with its latest European offering.

Wealth and asset management firm Robert W. Baird & Co has appointed Steve Booth as CEO effective 1 January, according to a statement from the firm.

Booth was named president of Baird in 2014 “as part of a multiple-year transition plan”, the firm said, and will continue to hold the role in addition to his new title. He succeeds Paul Purcell, who will continue at the firm as chairman.

The announcement comes as the firm’s private equity arm Baird Capital prepares to return to market with its latest European offering.

It is understood that its existing vehicle, Baird Capital Partners Europe II, a 2013-vintage, £60 million ($88 million; €82 million) vehicle, is set to close its sixth and final platform investment this month. Following the transaction the fund will have capital available for bolt-on acquisitions.

The size of the successor vehicle is unclear, although a source with knowledge of the firm’s private equity activities suggested it is likely to be larger than Fund II. The firm's 2005-vintage first Europe fund closed on £178 million according to PEI Research & Analytics. 

Baird declined to comment on fundraising plans.

Fund II targets profitable small and medium UK-based industrial solutions and business services companies with EBIT of between £2 million and £10 million looking for equity cheques of between £5 million and £15 million. It is understood that going forward this will rise to £20 million to allow access to a broader opportunity set. Traditionally majority investors, Baird will also be open to minority investments where appropriate.

With teams in China and the US, as well as Robert W. Baird’s wider capacities on the investment banking and equity research sides, Baird seeks platform companies that can benefit from the firm’s resources.

US-headquartered Robert W. Baird & Co manages around $145 billion in client assets. Baird is understood to be a significant investor in its own private equity funds.