Jefferies CFO Peg Broadbent passes away from coronavirus

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Jefferies Financial Group Inc. said Peg Broadbent, the longtime chief financial officer of its main subsidiary, has died from complications tied to coronavirus, marking one of the first deaths among senior Wall Street executives from the pandemic. He was 56.

Broadbent had been CFO at the New York-based financial-services company since November 2007, following a 16-year career at Morgan Stanley, where he was head of institutional controllers.

“We already miss Peg and this is a very sad reminder about the fragility of life,” Jefferies Chief Executive Officer Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman said Sunday in an emailed statement. “We are heartbroken and will miss his decency, calmness and dry wit as he helped us navigate good times and bad.”

Broadbent was CFO of Jefferies Group, one of the largest independent investment banking firms headquartered in the U.S. and the company’s main subsidiary. His death struck a chord on Wall Street, where thousands of traders deemed essential are still heading into work every day as the pandemic ravages New York City.

“We know Peg would want his passing to serve as a reminder to all of us of how much he cared for all of his friends at Jefferies and that our priority must be the health and happiness of our loved ones,” Handler and Friedman said in a separate statement.

During Broadbent’s tenure, Jefferies more than doubled in size, the company said, adding 1,300 employees. More recently, he helped oversee a massive transformation. The firm’s former parent, Leucadia National Corp., opted to sell its stakes in other industries in 2018 to focus on investment banking and advisory, taking the name Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

“He was a good man, well-suited to the task,” said Richard Bove, an analyst at Odeon Capital. “He was very reserved, very careful and very knowledgeable about the company.”

The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 680,000 worldwide and killed 32,000. U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach 200,000, top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said, calling the estimate a moving target.

Most Jefferies employees are working from home, the firm said in a statement last week announcing its first-quarter results. Jefferies has pivoted its investment banking operations to focus on restructurings and rescue financings as it seeks to help clients that have been impacted by the deadly virus.

Peregrine C. Broadbent is survived by his wife, Hayley, and five children, Jefferies said. Teri Gendron, CFO of Jefferies Financial Group, was named interim CFO and chief accounting officer of the Jefferies Group subsidiary.

Bloomberg News