Former Wachovia CEO Bob Steel to lead NY investment bank

Former Wachovia chief executive Bob Steel is back in banking, landing the CEO post at New York investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners.

Steel, who will take charge July 7, most recently had been New York City’s deputy mayor for economic development under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Perella Weinberg advises clients on mergers and acquisitions and manages $11.5 billion in assets for clients. Joseph Perella, who had been CEO, will remain chairman of the 400-employee firm.

Steel, a Duke University graduate, replaced Ken Thompson as Wachovia’s CEO in July 2008, as the Charlotte-based bank struggled with losses from its Golden West Financial acquisition and investment banking business.

The former Goldman Sachs partner and U.S. Treasury undersecretary initially pledged to keep the bank independent, but he ultimately agreed to sell to Wells Fargo at the peak of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008.

During its scramble for a merger partner, Wachovia hired Perella Weinberg, along with Goldman Sachs, to advise it on potential deals. Each firm received a fee of $25 million for its services, according to a securities filing.

During his time at Goldman Sachs, Steel also worked with Perella Weinberg co-founder Peter Weinberg.

“All of us at Perella Weinberg Partners will benefit from (Steel’s) skills, energy and counsel in the years ahead,” Perella said in a statement.