Gary Coull, CLSA co-founder & chairman: 1954-2006

Gary Coull, a former journalist who co-founded and chaired CLSA, Asia’s most prominent brokerage firm, died on 26 October after a long illness with cancer.

Gary Coull, co-founder of CLSA and head of the brokerage firm’s private equity arm, died on 26 October in the US where he had been receiving treatment for cancer.

Gary Coull 1954-2006

The 52-year Canadian was also chairman of CLSA, and chairman and chief executive officer of CLSA Capital Partners, the private equity arm.

Rob Morrison, chief executive officer of CLSA said: “Gary’s vision, drive and creativity helped build one of Asia’s leading brokerage, investment banking and private equity groups. He led and inspired a team that has created a great company and his important role in the development of the financial services industry in Asia will long be remembered. Gary has been a friend and mentor to many and he will be sorely missed.”

Richard Pyvis, deputy chief executive of CLSA Capital Partners, said: “He provided inspiration and drive to prevent the business from becoming complacent. Gary had the unique ability to rifle-shot his energy and drive to make it really effective.”

Pyvis has been working with Coull for the past 12 years, and was involved in building CLSA’s alternative asset business from the start.

Coull made a career change from journalism to broking in 1983 in Hong Kong, where he started off as a reporter with South China Morning Post. He later joined Far Eastern Economic Review, a regional magazine published by Dow Jones.

In an interview with PEI Asia, a sister publication to PEO, Coull drove home the importance of information, and how CLSA Capital Partners’ access to an extensive in-house research team differentiated it from other private equity groups.

Marc Litzler, deputy chief executive of Calyon and member of the executive committee of CLSA’s parent company said: “Gary was a true visionary who two decades ago understood the vital role that a research focused agency broker could play as a bridge between global investors and entrepreneurs in the dynamic Asia Pacific region. He persuaded Credit Lyonnais, the forerunner of Credit Agricole, to back this venture in the late nineties and it has been a highly successful partnership ever since.”

In 1987, Jim Walker, a close friend persuaded Coull to go into the broking business. The duo negotiated a deal to secure 35 percent equity for themselves and the senior staff in Winfull Laing and Cruickshank, the broking business Credit Lyonnais acquired, forming the basis of CLSA in 1995.
Morrison, chief executive of CLSA, will take on Coull’s responsibilities as chairman. Pyvis, formerly the chief executive officer of CLSA, will assume the role of chief executive at CLSA Capital Partners.

Coull is survived by his wife, Vicky.