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Lehman Brothers Asia-Pacific CEO joins USIBC

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington : Jesse Bhattal, chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers Asia-Pacific, a leading investment bank has joined the board of a leading advocacy group seeking stronger US-India commercial ties.

Bhattal is the sixth high profile business executive to join the board of US-India Business Council (USIBC) representing 250 of the largest US companies investing in India and two-dozen largest Indian global companies in recent weeks.

Announcing his appointment here Tuesday, group chairman Charles “Chip” Kaye said: “Bhattal is one of the longest serving Asia CEOs for any global investment bank and has had a lifelong commitment to India’s progress.

“He has spearheaded the unprecedented growth of the Lehman Brothers businesses in Asia, and brings to the council an impeccable track record of global and Asia business experience.”

On his appointment, Bhattal said: “Lehman Brothers has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial association with India, both through our own presence in the country and through the many Indian nationals who work for the firm.

“The world class capabilities of India’s corporations and the country’s rapidly growing capital markets will help India become an even more important participant in the global markets in the next decade.

“Lehman Brothers’ commitment to India is for the future, and we want our offering in the country to be on par with any of our locations across the world.”

His appointment follows that of PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra K. Nooyi, Boeing India president Ian Thomas, Citi India CEO Sanjay Nayar, Merrill Lynch International chairman James Quigley and GE India President and CEO Tejpreet Singh Chopra.

Two other influential people, former US ambassador to India Richard F. Celeste and former director of the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency Lt. Gen. Jeffrey B. Kohler, have joined the business lobby as senior advisors.

The Lehman Brothers India franchise has recently expanded with a strategy to build a full-scale local franchise leveraging the firm’s strong global platform, infrastructure, and expertise.

Bhattal joined Lehman Brothers in 1993. He served as deputy head of Asia Investment Banking from 1995 to 1997 and head of Asia Investment Banking from 1998 to 2000. In 1999 he was made chairman of the Asia-Pacific region, and was appointed to his current position in July 2000.

Bhattal graduated with honours from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi. He also received an honour’s and master’s degree in economics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Lehman Brothers, an innovator in global finance, serves the financial needs of corporations, governments and municipalities, institutional clients, and high net worth individuals worldwide, the USIBC said.

Founded in 1850, Lehman Brothers has been a member of USIBC for more than a decade and currently is a chairman’s circle member, the highest level of membership. Its vice-chairman, Howard L. Clark Jr., was the chairman of the USIBC from 1996-1998.