First Avenue hires former Park Hill exec

The firm has hired Chris Leach as a partner one week after adding former Willis Stein partner Philip Pool as co-chairman.

Advisory firm and placement agent First Avenue has hired Chris Leach as a partner and co-head of international sales, based in London. Leach will be responsible for coverage of Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East alongside principal and co-head of international sales David Hunter.

A former managing principal and head of the London office at Park Hill Group, Leach has more than 20 years of advisory and sales experience in alternative assets and capital markets, having worked on mandates for firms including The Blackstone Group, Centerbridge Partners, Energy Capital Partners, Platinum Equity, and Lexington Partners. Prior to joining Park Hill, which he left in 2012, Leach was an executive director at UBS in its private funds group.

“The private equity fundraising market has undergone an extended cyclical dip but remains critical to our business,” Jim McCarvill, co-managing partner of First Avenue, said in a statement. “Hires of Chris’ calibre remain key to the further development of our already strong GP and LP relationships.”

First Avenue has a team of 45 professionals in London, New York, San Francisco and Cleveland. Founded in 2006, the firm is led by chief executive officer Paul Buckley, a former executive at Credit Suisse First Boston in London.

First Avenue manages two business lines: private funds and direct private placement transactions, according to its website. The firm places funds focused on private equity, real assets, real estate and credit.