Cowen to name new head for lending foray

Following the death of Craig Schiffer, Cowen Group’s elected leader for its new Cowen Finance business, the firm is planning to name a new head.

Craig Schiffer, the banking industry veteran who at one point led the Americas business for Dresdner Kleinwort, and held senior roles at Lehman Brothers and Nomura, died in December, while skiing in France. Cowen Group had picked him to lead its new lending venture, as PDI previously reported, but will now be looking to name a new leader. Sources tell PDI that the firm has already raised $125 million for the new venture, and it’s unlikely that Cowen would scrap its plans.

But the loss of Schiffer, who was very well-known and connected in the leveraged finance industry, is a significant set-back for the firm.

A spokeswoman for Cowen said the firm hasn’t yet picked a new leader and declined to comment further.

Schiffer was killed by an avalanche while skiing in Grenoble, France on 23 December. He was 58 and is survived by his wife Amy and five children. A funeral was held in New Jersey, where his family lives, in early January and was attended by many industry practitioners.

Cowen Group announced in September that it would be making an initial $125 million investment in the lending business. The New York-based firm runs an investment banking division under Cowen and Company and asset management under alternative investment firm Ramius, which it acquired in 2009. Cowen Finance plans to work alongside Cowen and Company’s investment banking and debt capital markets businesses to originate and syndicate loans and provide a range of credit capital to the firm's corporate clients, the firm said in its announcement at the time.  

Cowen Group was founded in 1918 and is headquartered in New York. It has six additional offices in major US cities, as well as in London, Hong Kong and Luxembourg.