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UPDATE 1-JP Morgan loses activism defense bankers in U.S., Europe

(Adds details on moves, background)

BOSTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Two senior JP Morgan Chase & Co executives responsible for defending corporate clients against activist investors who push for companies to perform better have left the bank, three sources said.

Benjamin Wilson, head of shareholder activism defense for North America resigned this month to take another job in the banking industry while Kirshlen Moodley, who was head of the practice in Europe, Middle East and Africa, left late in 2020, the sources said.

Wilson who has worked at JP Morgan since 2008 and rose through the ranks in the bank’s Mergers & Acquisitions department is moving to position at Guggenheim Partners, two sources said.

Moodley, who worked at the bank for nine years, now works at BNP Paribas CIB in London, according to his LinkedIn profile.

JP Morgan declined to comment.

The moves come only a few months after the bank revamped its shareholder defense practice in August when it promoted David Freedman to oversee the business globally after David Hunker left the bank.

Activism defense has become a major franchise for investment banks, as hedge funds such as Elliott Management, Starboard Value and Third Point push for changes at companies.

There has been movement among banks in the last months. In January, UBS hired Aneliya Crawford from law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP to co-head its activism defense group. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss with additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast)

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