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William M. Lewis Jr.

The HistoryMakers

In honor of BusinessMakers: Breakout Leaders, we salute Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard LtdWilliam M. Lewis, Jr., who speaks about his passion for investment banking, the beginning of his career at Morgan Stanley in New York City, and his commitment to philanthropy.

William M. Lewis Jr.
William M. Lewis, Jr. and Lazard Director Osifo Akhuemonkhan

Ranked the thirteenth most powerful African American executive in the country by Fortune Magazine, Bill Lewis has served as Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard Ltd., an asset and advisory firm, since 2004. At Lazard, Lewis oversaw the sale of Maytag to Whirlpool, a $1.79 billion transaction in 2005. Prior to working at Lazard, Lewis was named Global Banking Co-Managing Director of Morgan Stanley in 2001. Lewis was also active as a community and civic leader; he chaired the A Better Chance Inc. Foundation, and served as the co-chair of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Foundation.

William M. Lewis Jr.
Earl G. Graves, Sr., William M. Lewis, and Vernon Jordan

Upon graduation from Harvard University in 1978, Lewis joined Morgan Stanley’s Mergers and Acquisitions Department as a financial analyst. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1982 before returning to Morgan Stanley’s Mergers and Acquisitions Department as an associate, where he spent the next six years working on buyouts of AMF, Hammermill and Children’s World. After a short stint as the department head for Morgan Stanley Midwest Mergers and Acquisitions, Lewis was made Managing Director for Morgan Stanley, becoming the first African American and the youngest individual to hold that title. Soon thereafter, Lewis was promoted to co-head of the Worldwide Real Estate Department as well as president and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds. Lewis also served as co-head of the company’s Worldwide Mergers, Acquisitions, and Restructuring Department and was soon promoted to lead the Corporate Finance Department.

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