French rainmaker Maris breaks up with boutique partner Messier

LONDON – Star banker Erik Maris is in the process of leaving investment banking boutique Messier Maris & Associés after a power struggle with partner Jean-Marie Messier, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The 56-year Frenchman has decided to quit the firm which he co-founded in 2010 with Messier, a former chairman and CEO of Vivendi, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is confidential.

Maris did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His departure comes after Italian bank Mediobanca MDBI.MI bought a 66% stake in Messier Maris & Associés in 2019 to boost its presence overseas.

Maris has yet to hand in his resignation to Mediobanca and formalise his decision, they said.

Mediobanca declined to comment.

The sources said Maris intends to move on after disagreements with Messier over strategy and management, as he no longer sees a future for himself at the firm.

The pair built Messier Maris & Associés into France’s most successful M&A boutique, advising on more than 200 transactions including Veolia’s VIE.PA recent takeover bid for French utility Suez SEVI.PA.

A former Lazard banker, Maris is a popular rainmaker in France where he recently represented carmaker Peugeot PEUP.PA on its merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCHA.MI.

He started his career at Morgan Stanley and spent almost two decades at Lazard where he rose to become co-head of the bank’s French franchise.