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February 1, 1998

The Changing of the Guard At Top Equity-Trading Firms: It's the Wall Street Shuffle for Executive

By Michael L. O'Reilly

In one of the most-high profile turnovers of its kind in recent memory, several well-known equity-trading executives, at firms that include Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Cantor Fitzgerald, are leaving the business.

At DLJ, a Dec. 12 internal memo to all employees of the New York-based firm announced the retirement of Robert Antolini, head of equity trading at DLJ. Antolini, topping a Wall Street career spanning four decades, has been with DLJ since 1985.

The memo said Antolini was leaving the firm by month's end. Antolini was succeeded by Robert Padala, previously head of over-the-counter trading at DLJ.

Peter DaPuzzo, president of equity sales and trading at New York-based Cantor, said he intends to retire by year's end, confirming widely-circulated rumors. "I still love the business," said DaPuzzo, who is 57 and a 40-year Wall Street veteran. "But I feel like it's time to move on."

"There have been many changes in this industry recently, and I think Cantor needs fresh blood to keep up with the new rules and maintain strong a business," he added.

DaPuzzo, whose duties became more administrative in recent years, said he plans to set a formal retirement date in the fall. But he doesn't intend to completely abandon the business.

After his retirement, he plans to enter modified service at Cantor, serving as a consultant several days a week. "I could never give it up cold turkey," he laughed.

At Hambrecht & Quist, William R. Hambrecht retired on Jan. 1 as chairman of the San Francisco-based investment bank he founded in 1968 with the late George Quist. Although not a trader himself, Hambrecht's general-brokerage and investment-banking firm is a leading broker dealer and co-manages more than $5 billion in equities. Hambrecht is 62.

Daniel H. Case III, the firm's president and chief executive, will succeed Hambrecht.

Making an unconventional career switch, Jim O'Donnell, president and chief executive of New York-based HSBC Markets and its equity-trading subsidiary, HSBC Securities, will resign in the summer to join the Roman Catholic priesthood. O'Donnell is 36.

An HSBC spokesman would only say that O'Donnell's decision was a "very personal one," and that Krishna Patel, deputy chief executive of HSBC's equities division, is slated to assume O'Donnell's position as head of worldwide business on an interim basis.

Two other top traders, Richard Bruno, the 51-year-old head of the Nasdaq trading desk at New York-based PaineWebber, and Bob Mattis, senior equity trader at Jersey City's Troster Singer, left their firms recently. Mattis has landed on the trading desk cross-town at Sherwood Securities. Bruno, who stepped down along with six other traders as part of a sweeping reorganization, remains a consultant to PaineWebber. He was succeeded by Patrick Davis and William Heenan.