Alvarez & Marsal launches Aussie transactions advisory practice

12 August 2023 4 min. read
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Global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal has announced the local launch of its transactions advisory practice, to be headed by former KPMG private equity leader David Willis alongside four KPMG colleagues.

First reported in March, professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal has officially announced the recruitment of five former KPMG leaders as managing directors to drive the expansion of its transaction services practice in Australia.

The team will be led by former KPMG private equity head David Willis, with support from experienced deal-making colleagues Steven Shirtliff, Mark Schiavello. Doug Houston, and David Savage.

Alvarez & Marsal launches Aussie transactions advisory practice

“In one dramatic move, we have expanded our geographic footprint and augmented our network of boots-on-the-ground transaction professionals to help our clients be successful investors,” commented Paul Aversano, head of Alvarez & Marsal’s Global Transactions Advisory Group. “Our integrated platform positions us to assist our clients in maximising value as they seek to deploy the record levels of dry powder available in the Australian and New Zealand markets.”

Based out of Sydney, David Willis has been a partner with KPMG for the past sixteen years, including more than ten of those as national private equity leader, prior to which he spent a decade with Deloitte. Likewise a former KPMG partner in Sydney, Steve Shirtliff prior to his five years at the firm spent over two decades in corporate finance and transaction services at Deloitte, and is credited with having grown and led KPMG’s deal analytics business.

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based Alvarez & Marsal managing director Mark Schiavello has spent the past six years as a partner between KPMG and BDO, following an earlier decade-long stint at KPMG and a period as head of strategy and transformation at Tabcorp. Former KPMG directors Doug Houston and David Savage also bring significant local and overseas experience; Houston at Deloitte and EY, and Savage with over two decades spent between KPMG and FTI Consulting.

Alvarez & Marsal noted the quintet’s extensive financial due diligence and capital markets expertise with a focus on private equity and large corporate transactions, having collectively worked on both buy and sell-side transactions covering platform acquisitions, carve-outs and mergers, IPOs and capital raisings across numerous sectors, including healthcare, telecoms, media and technology, consumer and retail, and financial services among many more.

Willis said: “As an experienced team of transaction leaders who look to bring value to each deal, we’ve had a long-held respect for Alvarez & Marsal and its reputation for operational excellence. We know that clients in Australia and around the world require advisors with a broad range of transaction and sector experience. We look forward to harnessing the power of Alvarez & Marsal’s deep functional expertise and sector knowledge to ensure clients maximise value from their transactions.”

Expansion agenda

Alvarez & Marsal has been making a significant push into the transactions market over the past two years, building up a global team of more than 900 practitioners via fresh expansions into Europe, Canada, and most recently China among other locales.

Under Southeast Asia and Australia regional head and former Kearney executive Utsav Garg, the firm has more broadly set its sights on Australia, last year launching new and larger offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Alvarez & Marsal co-founder and CEO Bryan Marsal pointed to an alignment of the firm’s growth objectives: “Our mission is to maximise long-term client value while driving innovative change that addresses the market’s needs. The Global TAG Australia team complements our integrated suite of services, extends the benefits of our freedom from audit conflicts and furthers our ability to meet PE and corporate clients’ evolving regional and international needs.”

And the firm isn’t done yet, with former Ernst & Young transaction tax partners Adam Woodward, Andrew Sharp, Edward Consett and Sean Keegan all set to join Alvarez & Marsal later in the year alongside ex-Deloitte M&A tax partner James Head after spending between seven and twelve years at their previous firms.

The latest recruitment drive follows the addition of former BCG partner Timo Schmid to kickstart its local private equity performance practice.