Gellatly has spent the last 13 years in senior roles at the New South Wales PremierÆs Department, first as director-general and most recently as chief executive officer. He retired from public service in May this year but will continue to serve on a number of government boards.
The Premier of NSW is the most senior elected politician at the state level.
Head of Australian origination for Merrill Lynch, Geoff Brunsdon, says Gellatly will fill a gap in the bankÆs sector expertise. ôWe have a lot of experience and relationships in the private sector but we donÆt know a great deal about how government works,ö Brunsdon told FinanceAsia. ôThere is a lot of work coming up as the state governments move to privatise certain assets, so Col will help us to formulate our strategy around these transactions.ö
Brunsdon says Merrill Lynch hopes to play an advisory and investment role in these transactions bringing to bear its expertise in debt structuring and the high-yield bond markets. A lot of the deals will focus on the infrastructure sector, including utilities and airports.
As a senior bureaucrat, Gellatly worked under both major political parties, which Merrill Lynch is hoping will help to deflect the criticism that usually comes when former politicians move into the private sector. ôCol knows people in government but he doesnÆt have a political relationship with them. This gives him a certain level of impartiality,ö says Brunsdon.
Another investment bank to hire a former bureaucrat is Goldman Sachs JBWere, which appointed Arthur Sinodinos, the Prime MinisterÆs former chief of staff, as a senior director in December last year.
MerrillÆs advisory board in Australia is headed by John Curtis, the current chairman of Allianz Australia and a board director of several large companies including St George Bank.