Obituary: John Millar
Equity capital markets veteran John Millar has died at the age of 53 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Millar began his career in investment banking in 1985 and attempted retirement from the industry 20 years later, but it was only a matter of months before he was back and it was renamed a sabbatical. He had most recently been global head of primary markets at London Stock Exchange Group.
Millar joined Merrill Lynch in 1990. His career at Merrill took in M&A, corporate finance and ECM, including a decade as head of equity syndicate in Europe from 1995.
He retired in 2005 to spend more time with his family and perfect his woodworking skills but 15 months later he put down the carpentry tools and was back at Merrill in a hedge fund role.
He joined Execution Noble in May 2009 as co-head of ECM and corporate broking alongside ex-Merrill colleague Peter Tracey before moving to Citigroup in 2010 as a senior originator in the EMEA ECM group focusing on the Nordic region. He later returned to Noble – by then named Espirito Santo Investment Bank – and had been with LSEG since 2014.
A measure of Millar’s standing in the industry was shown by the number of former colleagues from across multiple institutions that attended his memorial service last week.
“John was an extremely popular colleague who commanded great respect among his team and partners across the group and in the market,” said a spokesperson for LSEG. “We all appreciated John’s professionalism, fairness, sense of humour and unrelenting positive outlook, as well as his extraordinary resilience right until the end of his long illness.”
A decade running the busy syndicate desk at Merrill in London meant he helped start many careers in banking that have since flourished.
“John was the reason I joined Merrill Lynch after university and he was my mentor for a large part of my career,” said Oliver Holbourn, chief executive of UK Financial Investments. “He was a wonderful man full of honesty and integrity.”
Luis Vaz Pinto, global head of ECM at Societe Generale, was another who worked under Millar on syndicate. “A vast number of juniors benefited from his sponsorship. Most of what I have learned was from sitting next to him,” he said.