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Money Management

Perella Weinberg is said to plan naming Peter Weinberg as CEO

Peter Weinberg

Peter Weinberg is set to become chief executive officer of the firm he helped found as Perella Weinberg Partners shuffles its leadership — and potentially the stakes of its partners — in planning for an initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Bob Steel, the former Treasury Department official who joined the investment bank as CEO in 2014, will become chairman, the people who asked not to be identified said, because the decision hasn't been announced. Chairman Joe Perella, who founded the firm in 2006 with Mr. Weinberg, will become chairman emeritus, the people said.

Perella Weinberg has filed confidentially for an IPO and the investment bank's leaders are discussing ways to redistribute equity among its partners before an offering, the people said. The firm has been on a hiring spree the last few years, and in question is what share would be held by new partners and how much would be owned by longer-tenured ones, the people said.

Kara Findlay, a Perella Weinberg spokeswoman, declined to comment.

All companies currently looking to go public face the hurdles of a turbulent stock market, dropping valuations and regulators grappling with a government shutdown. Perella Weinberg is also contending with a partnership that's been complicated by its own rapid growth.

Mr. Weinberg, 61, is leading a task force of executives working on the question of how to divvy up the firm's equity as part of a broader strategic review, including a potential separation of the company's asset-management arm, the people said. The bank has looked to the expansion of Goldman Sachs Group (GS), which was run by Mr. Weinberg's family for much of its existence, from a partnership to public company as one model.

Mr. Weinberg worked at Morgan Stanley (MS) and ran Goldman Sachs' international business before joining with rival Mr. Perella to start an independent investment bank. He has led the firm's advisory business.

Perella Weinberg hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to work on the IPO, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in September. At the time, they were working toward a valuation of $1.5 billion. The IPO plans could still be delayed or canceled, the people said.

Mr. Perella oversaw investment banking at Morgan Stanley before striking out on his own, taking rainmakers including Terry Meguid and William Kourakos with him. Now 77, Mr. Perella has largely stepped back from dealmaking and therefore no longer generates the revenue he once did.

In the past year, the firm has added senior bankers including Marcus Schenck, the former deals chief at Deutsche Bank, and Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, once Bank of America's president in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The firm catapulted its expansion through a 2016 acquisition of oil and gas investment banking firm Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., which was formed by a number of Mr. Weinberg's former Goldman Sachs colleagues.

The recent additions prompt the difficult task of assigning value to partners who haven't yet brought in deals. Still, newer members have already secured some of the firm's biggest mandates. Woody Young, who joined from Lazard in 2016, shepherded AT&T's more than $100 billion purchase of Time Warner.

Valuations for publicly traded rivals such as Evercore Inc. and Lazard tumbled more than 20% in the last three months of 2018. Deal advisers have been hit by fears that a boom in mergers is ending as interest rates rise and trade tensions make cross-border transactions more difficult. Perella Weinberg also faces questions about its Tudor Pickering unit if deal activity in the energy sector suffers from a plunge in oil prices.