DALLAS - Jonathan E. Baum, the grandson of the co-founder of George K. Baum & Co., has been named chairman and chief executive officer of the Kansas City, Mo.-based investment banking and securities firm.
The 33-year-old executive succeeds his father, G. Kenneth Baum, who will continue at the firm as chairman emeritus and an advisory member of the management committee. Kenneth Baum, 63, headed the firm for more than 40 years.
This is to provide a normal, sensible transition. We have been working on it for a long time," Jonathan Baum said. "My father is very healthy, and I hope to keep him involved as long as possible."
Jonathan Baum, who worked for Salomon Brothers as an associate and vice president in the 1980s, joined the Baum organization as vice president in 1991. In 1992, he was named executive vice president and head of the investor services division, positions he held before the transition this week.
Under the new chief executive, William H. Coughlin will continue to serve as president and head the firm's taxable fixed-income division.
In addition, several executives were promoted. Samuel M. Davidson was named executive vice president and will continue to head the firm's equity trading division, and Samuel C. Freitag was named executive vice president and head of the firm's growing corporate finance practice.
Craig L. Beach continues as executive vice president and will head a corporate sales group within the investor service division.
As an incentive to senior executives, Jonathan Baum said he plans to distribute some stock ownership in the privately held company to top managers by Oct. 31, the end of Baum's fiscal year. G. Kenneth Baum owns about 85% of the firm's stock now.
"It's my desire to have a much broader ownership," Jonathan Baum said. "It is a key to have people focused on profitable growth."
He said the stock distribution will help the firm remain a strong, locally owned brokerage.
The new chief also said he plans to continue growth in the firm's largest business, municipal bonds, which account for about 50% of Baum's $70 million in annual revenues.
The municipal operation is based in Denver following Baum's acquisition of Kirchner-Moore Co. in 1990, a move that approximately doubled the size of the company. The firm now does a high volume of bond underwriting in states ranging from Colorado and Missouri to Alaska and Illinois, and it specializes in areas from housing to health care.
Overall, in public finance as well as retail brokerages, the firm has offices in 16 cities and employs about 300 people, a big jump from the late 1980s when it had only six locations.
Most of the growth occurred under G. Kenneth Baum, who took over as chief executive officer when he graduated from college in 1952 and after his father, George K. Baum, had become seriously ill. The firm had 17 employees then.
Jonathan Baum went to work at Salomon Brothers as a financial analyst in the corporate finance department after graduating from Kansas State University in 1983. After two years, he took a leave of absence to obtain his master's degree in business from the University of Chicago, and returned to Salomon until 1991 when he joined Baum.