San Francisco | November 1, 2019
Prager & Co., a leading independent investment bank serving higher education and the not-for-profit sector, has announced that E. David Hetz has been named Chief Executive Officer and that Nim Chinniah has been named Head of Banking and Advisory Services, effective immediately. These management changes will provide leadership for the significant growth the Firm is experiencing in its traditional financial advisory and underwriting businesses as well as in its recently launched strategic advisory practice.
Hetz, an investment banking industry veteran with almost four decades of merger & acquisition and public and private equity leadership experience, joined Prager in 2018 as Vice Chair of its Executive Committee. As CEO, Hetz will assume overall responsibility for management of the Firm. Previously, Hetz was Vice Chair of Cain Brothers & Co., co-founder and managing partner of Cutlass Capital, and Co-Head of Investment Banking and member of the Management Committee of Robertson Stephens & Co. Hetz said, "I am honored to be asked by Fred to lead the firm he founded over 32 years ago. Although our clients in higher ed and the not-for-profit sector face unprecedented challenges, our commitment to each institution's mission and success is unwavering. I am proud to lead our exceptional team in delivering on this promise."
Chinniah joined Prager last year to head its burgeoning strategic advisory practice. As Head of Banking and Advisory Services, he will join the Executive Committee and have overall management responsibility for Prager's financial advisory, strategic advisory, underwriting, and data analytics activities. During Chinniah's over 25 years of senior strategic, financial, and operational experience in higher education, he served as the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Northwestern University and the Executive Vice President for Administration & Chief Financial Officer of the University of Chicago. Chinniah said "I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this leadership role alongside Fred and David. Our Firm is represented by a talented team of professionals. Together, we will continue to serve the needs of our clients and support their work."
Working closely with Hetz and Chinniah will be Rhett D. Thurman. Thurman joined Prager & Co. this past summer as Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer and member of the Executive Committee. Before joining Prager & Co., Thurman was Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer and member of the Board of Cain Brothers & Co for 16 years. Prior to joining Cain Brothers, Thurman was CFO of MacNeal Health Network, a flagship hospital system for Vanguard Health Systems. He has been a founder and general partner of two private equity firms providing growth equity for healthcare companies. Thurman said, "I'm excited to join David, Nim, and the talented team assembled at Prager in the shared objective of making a meaningful contribution to an essential industry increasingly in need of solutions".
Fred Prager, Founder and Chair, who will continue to lead the strategic direction of the Firm along with Hetz, said, "Because of the momentum we are experiencing in the level of our business, the nature and complexity of our services and the associated changes necessary to support such growth, we must organizationally evolve as well." He added, "With their deep, broad, and complementary backgrounds, we are exceptionally fortunate to have David, Nim, and Rhett assume these critical responsibilities."
Prager & Co., LLC, founded in 1987 with offices in San Francisco and New York, provides investment banking, underwriting, financial advisory, and strategic advisory services to higher education institutions, not-for-profit organizations, foundations, social services agencies, municipalities, and government agencies. In just the last month, the Firm has completed historic financings of over $2.5 billion for Rutgers University and the University of Virginia, including over $600 million of century bonds. Prager also recently completed a critically important $49 million financing for Holy Names University, a $75 million capital raise for Gonzaga University, and a $160 million bank placement to finance the new and iconic Perelman Performing Arts Center in New York.