Jasjit “Jesse” Bhattal has been named a senior adviser at Lazard in Singapore, a year after his sudden departure from Nomura, where he had served as head of its Asian wholesale unit and was the bank’s most senior non-Japanese executive.

Bhattal is a veteran dealmaker in Asia, having served as a chief executive of Lehman Brothers in Asia-Pacific. He was instrumental in negotiating the sale of Lehman's Asian and European operations to Nomura in 2008.

The appointment of Bhattal is effective immediately, according to Lazard. His remit is to advise on clients and strategic initiatives, with a focus on Asia.  

After Bhattal’s exit from Nomura in January last year, which the bank categorised as a retirement, expectations had been voiced that Bhattal would join an Indonesia-focused private equity firm.  

As such, Bhattal's emergence at Lazard comes as a surprise, although his skills and knowledge are seen as a good fit for the investment bank, which focuses on advisory and asset management. The firm’s clientele includes sovereign funds such as China Investment Corporation and Qatar Holding.

Lazard has been gearing up its Singapore operations to deal with expected growth in M&A activity in Southeast Asia. It poached Glenn Porritt from ANZ to head Singapore investment banking in February last year.

Bhattal will find himself among familiar company at Lazard. Mark Renton, who worked in Hong Kong at the same time as Bhattal, as head of Citi’s Asia-Pacific investment banking business from 2005-09, joined Lazard in New York last year as managing director, financial advisory, focusing on international oil and gas.