NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Theodore J. Gillman joined First Albany Corp. as the chief executive and a member of the firm’s operating committee.

Hired to head the growth plans for First Albany Asset Management, Mr. Gillman will be in the firm’s New York office. First Albany Corp. acquired Noddings Investments, a convertible bond arbitrage asset management group, late last year. The acquisition jump-started the firm’s expansion effort adding US$300 million in assets and bringing First Albany Asset’s assets under management to US$1 billion.

Mr. Gillman was a veteran at Lazard Asset Management where he was in charge of the private client group. That group sold hedge funds as a significant part of its business, according to a source. For two years before moving to New York, he was the head of Lazard’s London office.

Mr. Gillman is part of a long list of departures at Lazard, which followed the departure of William von Mueffling. Mr. von Mueffling had been in charge of global opportunities and led the hedge fund management team from Lazard’s New York office. Those who have left the firm include: Jay Genzer and Brent Tran of the firm’s U.S. market neutral team; Robert Cope, New York-based fund manager; Ben Guest, head of technology opportunities; Tom Ellis, who was in charge of the global opportunities team; and Rupert Tyer, in charge of the hedge fund marketing in the United Kingdom.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Mr. Gillman left Lazard two weeks ago and was replaced by Robert Hougie, who was a media investment banker at the firm. Lazard officials declined to comment.

Meanwhile at First Albany, Mr. Gillman is expected to help execute the firm’s strategic plan for growth. The firm now provides expertise in corporate and public finance, sales and trading and asset management for high-net-worth clients in convertible bond arbitrage, institutional equity, taxable fixed-income and tax-exempt bonds.

SBarreto@HedgeWorld.com