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Liz Nesvold

Sources: 'Frustration' Pushes Liz Nesvold to Leave Cresset

After becoming Cresset's first president in May, Nesvold is leaving the rapidly growing RIA on Feb. 11.

Nine months after stepping into the newly created role of president at the $40.7 billion registered investment advisory firm Cresset, Liz Nesvold has resigned.

According to sources with knowledge of the departure, Nesvold’s departure is anything but abrupt. One industry insider told they believe she felt limited and was frustrated by shifting mandates at the rapidly expanding RIA.

Chicago-based Cresset was founded in 2017 as a family office to serve the families of its founders, Eric Becker and Avy Stein. The duo soon began offering comprehensive wealth management for ultra-wealthy families nationwide and, by the summer of 2020, had completed three acquisitions and grown to $9.5 billion in assets and eight offices.

Today, Cresset comprises a family office and wealth management platform, including a sports and entertainment division, as well as a trust company and investment management unit focused on private market opportunities, supported by an in-house real estate arm. The firm has more than 380 employees, including 150 advisors, working out of 18 office locations in 13 states.

Nesvold, a well-known and regarded investment banker in the independent wealth management space, came to Cresset with a deep understanding of the firm. She had worked on more than half of their acquisitions and told at the time that she understood Stein and Becker well.

After Nesvold took the helm in May, Cresset attracted several advisors in the wake of regional bank failures and bought the $1.7 billion RIA that launched the sports and entertainment unit. The firm recently withdrew from the Broker Protocol and confirmed it is seeking a minority investor—in a reversal of previous claims—to support continued recruitment and acquisitions.

“The word is that [Nesvold] going to Cresset was always going to be a bit more short term,” commented one observer. “But it’s interesting that this happens as they're trying to raise capital, which is obviously her area of expertise given her background. I’ve heard that she may have gotten frustrated with the firm not doing what they need to do to raise that capital or that maybe Cresset got frustrated with her for not moving things along faster.”

Nesvold voluntarily tendered her resignation, according to someone with knowledge of the matter. She will officially leave Cresset on Feb. 11. News of her departure was first reported by CitywireRIA. 

In a statement released through her attorney, Nesvold said she “worked exhaustively with an amazing team to make significant contributions to center the company” before deciding “it was the ideal time to move on to the next chapter.”

Two different industry insiders told she already has something else lined up.

Cresset wasted no time replacing Nesvold. The firm has tapped Susie Cranston, the former chief operating officer at First Republic Bank and, subsequently, JP Morgan, to step into the role.

“[Cranston’s] extensive financial services leadership experience makes her the ideal candidate to fulfill these crucial roles,” a Cresset spokesperson said in a statement, noting shared values and compatible culture.

“I have spent weeks working to effect a smooth and orderly transition,” said Nesvold. "I am grateful for Cresset's confidence in my ability to lead the organization and work alongside an incredible group of industry practitioners."

The search for an investor is “going well,” according to one individual who declined to share details.

“I know Cresset wishes her well,” they said.


(Edit note: This story has been updated to reflect that CitywireRIA first reported the news item.)
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