NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–John Mack, whose cost cutting and streamlining skills earned him the Wall Street nickname “Mack the Knife,” has joined Pequot Capital Management Inc. as the hedge fund firm’s chairman. Arthur J. Samberg will remain as chief executive and continue to oversee management of the firm and its investment portfolios.

Mr. Mack is a longtime Wall Street executive who spent 30 years at Morgan Stanley and led that firm into and through its 1997 merger with Dean Witter & Co. He left Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2001 after losing a battle for the top spot to Dean Witter alum Philip Purcell.

It was during his time at Morgan that Mr. Mack earned his nickname as he cut the firm’s headcount. Most recently, Mr. Mack spent three years as co-chief executive of Credit Suisse Group and chief executive at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he helped the firm return to profitability by reducing what was considered a bloated payroll of over-compensated investment bankers. He oversaw the slashing of 9,000 jobs following Credit Suisse’s merger with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.

At Pequot, it appears Mr. Mack’s mission will be addition, rather than subtraction. In a statement, Mr. Samberg used words like “expand” and “broaden” to describe Mr. Mack’s new full-time role.

“John has vast experience in markets around the world, a powerful global network of relationships and enormous energy that will help us pursue new opportunities and keep generating returns for our clients,” Mr. Samberg said. “He has been a close friend for many years and I look forward to collaborating with him to broaden Pequot’s footprint and expand our platform of alternative investments.”

Mr. Samberg also noted that Mr. Mack’s services have been in demand from other leading financial service firms. There were even rumors he might return to Morgan Stanley if the ouster of Mr. Purcell proved successful, but that talk ultimately proved false, and Mr. Mack told associates he had any interest in returning to Morgan.

In a statement, Mr. Mack spoke in glowing terms of his new place of employment. “[Mr. Samberg] has built a leading-edge firm of great integrity that I believe is unmatched in the industry,” Mr. Mack said. “Alternative investments are the most dynamic sector of the capital markets today, and Pequot has the talent, entrepreneurial culture, product platform and strong track record that make it ideally suited to leverage the substantial growth potential in this area. I can’t imagine a more exciting place to apply my experience, and I look forward to working with Art to build on Pequot’s business.”

In his new job, Mr. Mack will help identify and develop new business opportunities in Pequot’s hedge fund and private equity businesses. He will also help lead an effort to push Pequot’s business overseas, and recruit new talent. He will work out of the firm’s New York office, according to a news release.

Pequot, with nearly US$7 billion in assets, recently teamed with Merrill Lynch & Co. to develop a US$300 million emerging manager fund. Merrill will supply the capital while Pequot will find, incubate and house between 15 and 30 emerging long/short equity managers.

CClair@HedgeWorld.com

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: bkeane@investmentadvisor.com.