Mercury Capital adds four senior distribution professionals

The firm has added three partners and a principal across its London, New York and Dubai offices.

Mercury Capital Advisors announced today it has hired three partners and one principal this spring between its London, New York and Dubai offices in order to amplify its distribution efforts, Private Equity International has learned.

These are replacement hires for regional coverage, according to a spokesman for the firm, and they will report to managing partners John Franklin and Enrique Cuan. The firm has also seen an increase in secondaries and directs, a spokesman added.

Matthew Haimes joined as a partner in London; he was previously global head of investor partners at Safanad, a $2 billion AUM private equity and real estate investment firm. Before that, he held senior roles at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and Credit Suisse.

Jill Cohen and Jennifer Tunney both joined as partners in the New York office. Cohen was a senior managing director at Avenue Capital Group, a $9 billion AUM investment management firm specializing in credit, special situations and distressed investments. Her previous positions also include head of capital introductions at Citigroup. Tunney came by way of emerging-markets focused, $5 billion AUM Rohatyn Group, where she was a managing director in private markets business development. She started her career with JPMorgan.

Sara Modalal joined as principal in the Dubai office, and was previously with the $550 billion AUM Principal Global Investors. Her hire gives Mercury a local presence in the region, which had previously been covered out of Europe, according to a spokesman for the firm.

With these new hires, roughly 40 percent of the firm’s current partners are now women, according to a spokesman for the firm.

In February, PEI reported that Alan Pardee, one of three founding members, is suing his former firm, claiming his ex-partner and fellow co-founder was bringing in white males like himself and sidelining minorities and women. Pardee departed in August 2019 to join Valor Equity Partners, according to PEI. Pardee founded the firm along with Michael Ricciardi, Mercury’s chief executive, and Enrique Cuan-Ruiz when they spun out of Merrill Lynch’s private funds group in 2009.

Pardee’s departure came shortly after Bahrain-headquartered, $35 billion AUM (as of March 2021) Investcorp acquired 100 percent of Mercury in May 2019. Four representatives from Investcorp were to join Mercury’s board of directors post-acquisition, with Mercury’s management team continuing to run the business. The acquisition brought more than 50 fundraisers across 14 offices into Investcorp, PEI reported.

Pardee singled out Ricciardi for allegedly eliminating women and racial minorities who had been with the firm for many years from positions of authority. Pardee claimed Ricciardi was replacing them with “white men in his own image”, the lawsuit said.

Mercury denied what it called the “meritless claims” in a statement to affiliate publication Buyouts: “Not only do we categorically deny these allegations as false, but we are confident that the facts demonstrate how committed we are to diversity and equal opportunity for all. This is reflected throughout Mercury, including amongst its senior leadership team, which reports directly to co-managing partners, Michael Ricciardi and Enrique Cuan-Ruiz, and is comprised equally of five women and five men.”

“We believe the claims are baseless and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves,” according to the statement.

Since its spin-out from Merrill, Mercury has advised on more than 100 fundraisings, closing over $100 billion in commitments. Mercury has closed on more than half a dozen funds so far this year, including those of Ocean Link, MML, Valor, Gaw and Investcorp, according to a spokesman for the firm.

-Chris Witkowsky contributed to this report