Chase Manhattan Corp. has hired away senior telecommunications banker Julie Richardson from Merrill Lynch & Co.
Ms. Richardson, who seven years ago helped found Merrill's media and telecom group, joined Chase's global media and telecommunications group as a managing director this week.
She will be working with start-up phone companies, both wireless and traditional, as well as large, established phone companies. She will work on arranging financing and on mergers and acquisitions advisory.
Thomas V. Reifenheiser, the managing director who heads Chase's media and telecom group, said M&A still accounts for a small part of the bank's revenues from this sector. But he said he hopes to expand that part of the business "substantially."
Ms. Richardson said she sees a strong demand for financing and advisory services on the part of emerging phone companies. "I expect the rapid level of consolidation to continue throughout all telecommunications segments, from wireless to long distance to local exchange carriers."
Chase's media and telecom group has hired six or seven professionals in the last year, but Ms. Richardson is the first hired from a bulge-bracket investment bank.
"This is a very important step for us," Mr. Reifenheiser said. "It's part of the accelerated growth of our group that we are able to attract someone of her stature."
Chase is already a player in media and telecom finance, according to Catherine Murray, a bank equity analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities.
"Both the old Chase and the old Chemical Bank had strong practices in this industry," Ms. Murray said. "It doesn't surprise me that they would bring in someone with this background."