Lorna Tilbian to chair City broker Dowgate with focus on media

Corporate brokerage is advisor to Sorrell's S4 Capital.

Lorna Tilbian has been named chairman of Dowgate Capital Stockbrokers, the corporate brokerage that counts Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital, Huntsworth and Be Heard Group as clients.

Tilbian, who helped Aegis sell to Dentsu for £3.2bn in 2012, was widely regarded as one of London’s top media bankers for three decades before she retired from Numis Securities in 2017.

She insisted that she is not returning to the fray as a deal-maker but was looking forward to rejoining the banking sector on a non-executive basis. 

"There’s no question of a return to mainstream investment banking," Tilbian said. "I’m an ambassador and figurehead for Dowgate because it’s a fun industry and I want to be part of it."

Tilbian will be reunited with three past colleagues, including her former lieutenant, Paul Richards, who has joined Dowgate as an executive director.

Dowgate said the appointment of Richards, who was previously a top-rated media analyst at Numis, shows its "ambition to be a leading player in corporate broking in the media sector".

David Poutney, Dowgate’s chief executive, and James Serjeant, another executive director, also used to work with Tilbian and Richards at Numis and previoulsy at another broker, WestLB Panmure.

"It’s like the old band getting back together," Tilbian said. "But I’ll be the conductor. I won’t be playing the instruments." 

Dowgate traces its history back to 1990 but has new investors and leadership with Poutney and Tilbian in charge. 

Tilbian said the current time of financial uncertainty is "a good time to start a business", recalling how she started at Numis a week before the 11 September terror attacks in 2001.

"We’re at the tail end of a bull market, before it becomes an evident bear market," Tilbian said. "Everyone else will be cutting costs for 18 months and we’re starting with a blank sheet of paper and will keep costs at a minimum."

She sold her £17m worth of Numis stock when she left her old job and, in an interview with Campaign in March 2018, she correctly forecast that the stock market was heading for a fall.

Dowgate has 12 clients, chiefly in the technology, media and telecoms sector, for which it carries out corporate broking services.

S4 Capital is its best-known client. Dowgate helped Sorrell launch the company in a reverse takeover and to buy MediaMonks and MightyHive.

Tiliban spent the early part of her career as a media analyst, covering the rise of Sorrell at WPP and the decline of Saatchi & Saatchi.

When she moved to the deal-making side in 2012, she championed media companies such as Ascential, Centaur Media, Chime Communications, Daily Mail and General Trust, Ebiquity and M&C Saatchi.

Poutney said Dowgate can fill a gap in the market because new banking regulation, known as MiFid II, has made it "increasingly difficult for smaller growing companies to attract the attention of investors" on the stock market.

He said: "Our aim is to give these companies a louder voice and to help them raise the capital they need to grow."

Tilbian has a number of other non-executive directorships, including at M&C Saatchi, Rightmove and Euromoney Institutional Investor.

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