JPMorgan names UBS’s Novak as head of shareholder engagement in Europe

JPMorgan has hired a senior dealmaker to lead its activism defence team in Europe, poaching from UBS for the role.

Darren Novak has been named head of shareholder engagement and M&A capital markets for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to an internal memo seen by Financial News.

He joins as activist investors in Europe start agitating for change again after a pause during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Novak will join in August and report into Guillermo Baygual and Dwayne Lysaght, co-heads of Emea M&A at JPMorgan, the memo said.

READ UBS names Roberts as new head of European activist defence

“Given we expect activism to be a key M&A theme, we encourage all of you to actively seek opportunities to discuss the topic with, and introduce Darren to our clients,” it added.

Novak moved from New York to London at UBS in 2019 to kick-start a new activist defence team in the region, and was promoted to co-head of the unit during nearly five years at the Swiss bank. He previously worked at independent investment bank Houlihan Lokey.

Kirshlen Moodley, who previously lead JPMorgan’s activist defence unit in Europe, joined BNP Paribas as a managing director within its UK M&A team in February. Novak’s departure from UBS was earlier reported by Reuters – the Swiss bank replaced him with UK investment banker David Roberts in June.

READ UK boards braced for new ‘golden age of activism’ in wake of Brexit and pandemic

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Paul Clarke

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