Okapi Partners hires Georgeson veteran Jason Alexander

September 20, 2016 8:25 AM EDT

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By Michael Flaherty

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Okapi Partners has hired Jason Alexander as a managing director to focus on its corporate clients, the proxy solicitation and advisory firm said on Monday.

Prior to joining, Alexander spent 18 years at proxy solicitor Georgeson, where he worked on transactions involving more than 400 companies across all business sectors, according to Okapi.

Proxy solicitors typically work with top executives at companies to gather support from shareholders and assess where they stand on certain issues - a merger agreement, director appointments - that require a vote at an annual or special meeting.

The work comes into the spotlight when such issues fail to get resolved between executives and shareholders and wind up being decided by a vote.

Alexander's hiring will allow Okapi to expand its existing business of advising companies, a spokesman said.

Since launching in 2008, Okapi has become known for its focus on advising activist investors.

The firm was No. 2 in the Thomson Reuters league table last year for global proxy solicitors with 34 disclosed advisory roles, and is in the top slot year to date.

Demand for proxy solicitation has increased in the past five years given the rise of activist shareholders, who launched a record amount of campaigns in 2015 against U.S. companies, according to Thomson Reuters data. Last year's activist campaign total rose 76 percent to 491, the data show.

(Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Bill Trott)

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