By Lauren Keyson and Sarah Grieco
Lauren Keyson: This is Jack Noble, the youngest partner at DeSilva Phillips. How did you get to be the youngest person at this company?
Jack Noble: Well I started on the ground floor as an intern with Yale for undergrad. Then I spent a summer at a company in Alabama where I am from called EBSCO Industries. They are a 2.5 billion privately held business that owns 40 different companies. I worked in the acquisitions group for a summer, and they had bought companies from DeSilva Philips. That is how the connection came in. So, I moved up to New York during college.
LK: Do you live in the City now?
JN: Yes, I live here with my wife, and we have a son on the way.
LK: How different is it from living in Alabama?
JN: It is very different. Going to college in Connecticut I was used to the New England mindset. Moreover, I love New York; I love the energy, the drive that every body has. Everyone pushes you to be better around here.
LK: Why did you want to do this? When you were younger, did you think to yourself, I want to be an investment banker?
JN: Well, in Birmingham where I grew up, my father and grandfather were lawyers. I had seen the job growing up and knew I did not want to be a lawyer. I wanted to go into “business” whatever that means. Moreover, so I wanted to learn about how companies are run, transacted here in the M&A market.
LK: Was money the reason why you wanted to do it?
JN: No, it is just such an amazing profession because the people you are dealing with are the people who built these businesses. Most of our clients are entrepreneurs and many times it is their life’s work; their selling their baby, so there are many trusts that they put in their bankers. I think that is a really important part of it.
LK: Do you like the entrepreneurial part of it?
JN: Very much so. We are a small firm regarding people. We have a pretty big footprint; it is a bunch of former operators. We have got that mindset of getting it done, making the connections where you can.
LK: Roland DaSilva said all of his employees came from the C-suite level…
JN: Except me. Although I worked in the C-suite for a while, I am probably the only person in the bank that isn’t an operator myself. So, I have been focusing on the banking side of it. At this point, I am in charge of all of our documentation, logistics, and processes that we run in selling these companies. So, there are different roles. These guys have the industry relationships, and the contacts, and I handle the actual logistics of selling the companies in conjunction with those guys.
LK: Is it making you want to be an entrepreneur yourself or are you happy staying behind the scenes?
JN: You know it is interesting — I like seeing all of the different business models. You may think that we are narrow because we are media marketing technology bank. However, there are so many business models wrapped up in that. There’s everything from magazines to ad tech companies to information subscription products. So, I get to see at any given week I get to see different types of business models, leadership styles, and philosophies about running organizations.